2012 Nonwovens Sales: $140 million
Key Personnel: Michael Gorey, president and CEO, Ralph Bruno, executive vice president, sales and marketing; Martin deVries, executive vice president and CFO
Plants: Ringgold, GA
Major Markets: Geosynthetics, flooring, furniture and bedding, automotive, agriculture, laminates, vinyl substrates, sorbents
A maker of needlepunch nonwovens at a large site in Ringgold, GA, Propex continues to have its hand in a variety of industries. In addition to more traditional needlepunch markets such as geosynthetics, flooring, furniture and automotives, Propex has recently expanded into the sportswear space through an agreement with Bauer Hockey, the world’s leading manufacturer of ice hockey equipment.
This multi-year partnership grants Bauer exclusive rights to Propex’s Curv Composite Technology for use in its elite level skates.
“Utilizing state-of-the-art materials for our equipment is a priority because players are always looking for maximum performance and protection, and they know our brands meet these demands,” says Kevin Davis, president and CEO of Bauer Performance Sports. “Our partnership with Propex is a continuation of this commitment, and we’re pleased this exclusive relationship has been extended.”
CURV Composite Technology captures exceptional mechanical properties by incorporating a process for weaving different composite materials that does not require additional reinforcement, such as with an additional structure, to maintain stiffness. As a result, the product also yields high tensile strength and outstanding impact resistance at a significantly lower weight than many other composite materials.
“Propex is thrilled to be exclusively partnered with the leading hockey skate manufacturer in the industry and believes Bauer has used CURV Composite Technology in a way that showcases the technology’s key properties and benefits,” says Dave Gartshore, business vice president for CURV Composite Technology at Propex. “We anticipate many examples of ground-breaking, innovative product developments happening throughout
In more traditional spaces, Propex announced last fall it had been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent Office for the yarn manufacturing technology it developed and currently uses in its proprietary EX3 line of lightweight carpet backings.
The patented technology allows Propex to efficiently produce uniquely textured tape yarns for use in applications such as carpet backing, geotextiles and packaging. For example, in carpet applications, EX3 backings made with this technology enable carpet manufacturers to produce patterned carpets with higher resolution using lightweight backings. Carpet manufacturers also benefit from 20% larger rolls, meaning fewer backing changes are needed on tufting machines. EX3 also translates to a reduced carbon footprint including as much as 12% less energy consumed during manufacturing.
“As an established leader in the industries we serve, Propex is thrilled to have yet another example of a protected technology patent offering our customers a differentiated technological advantage,” says Dave Gartshore, business vice president for Furnishings at Propex. “We are also continually looking at ways to leverage this technology in other Propex products and solutions in the future.”
Amidst these accomplishments, Propex, which is owned by a private investment fund managed by Wayzata Investment Partners, a Minneapolis, MN-based private equity firm, has continued its strategy of aggressively pursuing business opportunities in existing markets. Recent developments include the launch of Gridpro Biaxial and Uniaxial geogrids for the geosynthetics market. These geogrids are manufactured to meet all industry specifications and help build on Propex’s promise to deliver the most complete portfolio of products to the industry.
Also included in Propex’s geosynethics range, which is manufactured in Ringgold, GA, are woven and nonwoven erosion control products. In June 2012, the company announced it was adjusting its production schedule in response to weakness in the geotextile market, caused by lower precipitation levels, a few abnormal weather events and reductions in military and government spending.
“As part of our strategic growth initiative, balancing production levels with marketplace demand will help to establish discipline in the geotextile and infrastructure markets that we serve,” says Mike Gorey, president and CEO.
Beyond geotextiles, Propex serves the flooring, furniture, bedding, automotive, agriculture, laminates, vinyl substrates and sorbents markets.