2012 Nonwovens Sales: $250 million
Plants: Hazleton, PA; McElhattan, PA; Wuxi, China
Processes: Spunmelt, spunlace
Applications: Hygiene, medical
First Quality Nonwovens started off 2013 with a new production site in Wuxi, China. The U.S.-based maker of spunmelt nonwovens announced in 2010 it would establish a Chinese nonwovens operation in Wuxi to better serve customers in the Asian hygiene market. The new line, described as a multibean Reifenhauser machine incorporating the latest technology available, will allow First Quality to provide premium nonwoven material to hygiene and medical markets in China and throughout the Asia-Pacific.
In announcing the new site, First Quality reported it would eventually house two lines but so far details on the second line have not been announced.
According to executives at the tight-lipped nonwovens producer, which also makes diapers, feminine hygiene items and other consumer goods for the private label market, the company’s investment in China is a clear demonstration of its commitment to the global nonwovens industry and its dedication to satisfying the needs of the domestic Chinese market by providing innovative and high quality products.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Great Neck, NY-based company is said to make about 100,000 tons of spunmelt nonwovens at two plants in Pennsylvania. Much of this output supplies First Quality’s massive private label business, which includes the former Covidien/Tyco diaper business purchased by the company in 2008, as well as its own interests in the private label feminine hygiene and adult incontinence market. As First Quality continues to vie for a top spot in the disposable diaper market, it is unclear how much of its new Chinese investment will feed an expansion of its consumer products into Asia.
In other news, First Quality began making spunlaced nonwovens last year on a 3.6-meter-wide Rieter hydroentanglement line, which will reportedly feed its private label baby wipes business. The company is said to be adding a second line to this operation already. First Quality had previously concentrated its nonwovens business only on spunmelt technology. The company’s eighth spunmelt line was added in late 2008.
Beyond nonwovens, in August 2010, the company’s baby care arm, First Quality Baby Products, LLC, said it would modernize its absorbent hygiene manufacturing facilities in Macon, GA, which was acquired with the Covidien deal.
Within the company’s adult care business, First Quality has teamed up with Healthcare Academy to introduce a quality management initiative for long-term care facilities. The concept behind this initiative is to deliver an integrated approach with a low fee that is cost effective and results in management efficiency and consistency.