2011 Nonwovens Sales: $670 million
Key Personnel: Mike Lawrence, vice president and general manager, Engineered Products North America (EPNA); Enno Henze, vice president and general manager, Engineered Products Europe/Asia (EPEA); Ken Forden, director of sales and marketing, EPNA; Stefan Mohr, commercial leader nonwovens, EPEA; Martin Kleinebrecht, marketing leader nonwovens, EPEA
Plants: Waterville, OH; Richland, MS; Spartanburg, SC; Etowah, TN; Bobingen, Berlin, Wertheim, Karlstein, Steinach (Germany); Shanghai, Louyang (China); Trnava (Slovakia)
Brands: Dura-Glass, DuraBase, Delta-Aire, DynaWick, DynaWeb, DynaTech, Micro-Aire, MicroLith (U.S. brands); Evalith (EU nonwoven brand); ThermoFlow, DuraCore, KY-Tex (EU fibers brands)
Building and specialty products manufacturer Johns Manville (JM), a Berkshire Hathaway company and maker of a number of nonwovens technologies, continues to expand its scope into new markets, including filtration, automotive, batteries and flooring, to help protect itself against softness in construction.
Based in Denver, CO, the company operates through four regional segments—Insulation Systems, Roofing Systems, Engineered Products North America (EPNA) and Engineered Products Europe/Asia (EPEA). The company created the engineered products geographic-based business structure in 2010 to increase its decision-making speed.
“Overall, the building and construction market in Europe remains a concern to the industry as it has not yet recovered from the financial crisis, and we expect it to remain flat over the next few years,” says Enno Henze, vice president and general manager of JM’s EPEA business. “Renovation activities are doing relatively well but new construction continues at low levels.”
However, JM has been able to defend itself against these challenges thanks to its complete portfolio of products with excellent technical properties, long-standing close relationships with its customers and diversification into market segments outside the construction industry.
Engineered Products has seen continued growth in several markets. However, certain segments are out-pacing economic growth due to the increased performance needs in segments such as energy storage and flooring. The business continues to focus on innovation and driving system costs lower for its customers, Henze says.
The filtration segment remains one of the key focus areas in both Europe and North America and JM is growing this business in various applications, including automotive cabin air filtration, industrial air filtration and HVAC via innovative spunbond and glass nonwoven solutions.
In effort to stay ahead of the market in terms of synthetic and micro glass fiber filtration media, JM is continuously investing in its facilities and technology upgrades.
According to Fred Stephan, vice president and general manager of Insulation Systems, JM’s insulation business has started to see an uptick in the U.S. residential market, which is recovering after three years of historically low housing starts. “Although this recovery is coming from a very low base, it is encouraging to see growth, primarily in multi-family but also in single-family dwellings,” he says.
JM has spent the downturn investing in broadening its product portfolio in response to acceleration in U.S. code changes. The company has developed product solutions that deliver value in a difficult economy. “As the markets recover, JM will bring to market the broadest offering of systems to meet its customers’ needs,” Stephan explains.
JM’s commercial Roofing Systems business was flat in 2011 as a result of continued economic uncertainty and significant pressure to reduce spending on public buildings. Executives expect this trend to continue the remainder of the year.
In June, JM dedicated a plant in Milan, OH, to making ethylene propylene diene monomer, a thermoset synthetic rubber, single ply roofing membrane known for its durability, ease of installation and superior weathering characteristics. This roofing plant completes JM’s portfolio of major waterproofing membranes and the company claims it now has the widest breadth of membranes in the industry. The company also announced in August that it has acquired Industrial Insulation Group, LLC, a manufacturer of insulation for industrial, commercial and fireproofing applications
In the glass mat segment, JM has made several investments to its lines in Ohio and Tennessee to improve product capability and ensure product quality. “These improvements have allowed JM to deliver the broadest product portfolio with the increasing quality standards demanded by its customers,” Lawrence says. “This has also enabled JM to develop new products that historically have not been served by a glass nonwoven.”
JM also operates two plants in China—one in Shanghai and one in Louyang—where it continues to serve roofing specialty and geotextiles markets. This business is small compared to the company’s overall scope but it remains a strategic element in its supply network.
“The Asian markets show very interesting growth rates and are rapidly achieving the necessary quality requirements,” Henze says. “Managing manufacturing operations and doing business in Asia is a challenging but rewarding exercise.”