2012 Nonwovens Sales: $670 million
Key Personnel: Mike Lawrence, senior vice president and general manager, Engineered Products Americas (EP Americas); Enno Henze, senior vice president and general manager, Engineered Products Europe/ Asia (EPEA); Patti Rizzo, director of sales and marketing, EP Americas; 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)
Berkshire Hathaway-owned Johns Manville continues to report challenges within its core market of construction, particularly in Europe, even as it continues to expand its scope in other technical markets like filtration and battery separators, and new geographies. The Denver, CO-based company operates through four regional segments—Insulation Systems, Roofing Systems, Engineered Products Americas and Engineered Products Europe/Asia.
In July, JM said it would invest in a new spunbond production line at its Berlin, Germany facility. Representing an investment of €32 million, the new line will support the growing demand for high-end polyester filtration media. It will use newly developed spinning technology and increase lightweight spunbond capacity in Berlin by more than 40%.
“This new investment clearly underscores Johns Manville’s commitment as a market leader to responsibly satisfy the long-term demand of our valued filtration customers,” says Enno Henze, senior vice president and general manager, Engineered Products, Europe/Asia. “This new line will have a capacity in excess of 4000 tons per year and will be built with JM’s advanced bicomponent spinning technology, which will enable step-change improvements in product properties and cost performance.”
The line will start production in 2015, creating a new generation of polyester spunbond filter media for cabin air, air pollution control and liquid filtration applications.
In other investment news, in June 2012, JM dedicated a plant in Milan, OH, to make 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.
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 have allowed JM to deliver the broadest product portfolio with the increasing quality standards demanded by its customers and enabled it to develop new products that historically have not been served by a glass nonwoven.
The company also announced in August 2012 that it had acquired Industrial Insulation Group, LLC, a manufacturer of insulation for industrial, commercial and fi reproofing applications.
Within its core business of construction, JM is reporting signs of slow recovery in the North America commercial exterior and interior applications market while the residential market is strengthening. In Europe, the economy continues to be a highwatch area for the company. Construction markets remain challenging with some markets eroding as much as 30% during the last couple of years.
“We expect a very limited recovery from low levels for the years to come for European construction markets in general,” says Martin Kleinebrecht, marketing leader for Johns Manville’s Engineered Products Europe/Asia Nonwovens business. “However, this does not mean that JM’s construction-related nonwovens business will stay flat. We participate in markets that show interesting growth potential, such as building insulation in general, fi re retardant façade panels—a patented solution we developed together with one of our customers—as well as resilient flooring in Eastern Europe.”
In North America, the roofing business has launched a full portfolio of tapes, adhesives and accessories to support its new EPDM membrane being manufactured in Milan, OH. Also, Invinsa FR coverboard can obtain a Class A fi re rating for combustible decks and along with the standard grade Invinsa, are the only high density polyiso coverboards to meet ASTM type three designation for compressive strength.
“As a major player in technical nonwovens, we are continuously looking for opportunities to grow in adjacent spaces with disruptive innovation,” Kleinebrecht says. “That means entering new business areas where nonwovens were not used before.” In Asia, where JM operates two sites, in Louyang and Shanghai, the company continues to see interesting growth rates despite the challenges associated with manufacturing and doing business in Asia.
In fact, the company continues to expand its regional coverage on a global basis, which is evident in sales activities in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
“We continue to explore activities outside our current locations,” Kleinebrecht says. “While JM is committed to its traditional home markets, we will certainly not miss opportunities elsewhere.”