2012 Nonwovens Sales: $326 million
Key Personnel: Christian Heinrich Sandler, CEO; Dipl. Ingenieur (FH) Wolfgang Höflich and Ulrich Hornfeck, members of the management board
Plants: Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany
Processes: Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, thermally bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, thermofused, needlepunched, air-through bonded, spunlaced, hotmelt and thermal lamination, coating and flexoprinting, embossing and aperturing, composites
Brands: sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawacomp, sawafl ock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sawatec, sandler fibercomfort, sandler fiberskin, sandler Unico, sawadur, sawadry, sawabond White Lace, sawabond Silver Lace, sawatex mariquita, sawatex orsettino, sawatex sea dwellers, bio textile by sandler, sawatex wipinator
Major Markets: Nonwovens for hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, cleaning), automotive, filtration, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, technical insulation, environmental nonwovens) and home textiles
Continuing a growth trajectory begun six years ago, Sandler Nonwovens reported growth across all of its market segments in 2012 from hygiene and wipes applications to technical applications in the automobile, filtration, construction and technical insulation to nonwovens for home office and automotive acoustics. All told, sales reached €247 million ($326 million).
A good deal of this growth can be attributed to growth in the spunlace, and by extension, wipes market. Sandler’s third spunlace line came onstream in mid-2011 as part of a €40 million investment that also included building a new plant to house the line. In addition to adding capacity, the new line has allowed Sandler to diversify its spunlace output.
Currently, the majority of Sandler’s spunlace output is going into wipes, a market being described as stable, but new business opportunities are coming from areas like hygiene and technical applications.
Ulrich Hornfeck, member of the management board, says that wipes continue to be an important market for spunlace but new product development, both within and outside of the wipes market, is a strong focus for Sandler. “The new line allowed us to add a lot of new technologies and to really make our production process more flexible with more processes and more raw materials and more finishing techniques,” he says.
As it diversifies its business to grow outside of wipes, Sandler continues to prove is expertise in wipes. In April 2013, the company was honored at the International IDEA 2013 show for its bio textile by Sandler. Developed in partnership with its raw material providers, bio textile by Sandler is a nonwoven substrate for baby care, cosmetics and cleaning wipes. Proving Sandler’s commitment to sustainability, the nonwoven is made from 100% viscose fibers and is completely biodegradable.
This substrate was launched through Sandler’s Less is Best to Nature motto, first introduced in 2008. This initiative focuses on lower basis weights in wipes applications while maintaining the same level of quality. The bio wipes substrate is equipped with a unique hydro-embossing design with elements illustrating the manufacturer’s commitment to sustainability. Naturally, Sandler also offers established qualities for numerous applications including industry, household and all-purpose wipes for the varying demands of the wipes market. Various printing and embossing designs for wipes substrates and hygiene materials open up a range of possibilities for product differentiation.
Beyond spunlace, Sandler offers a broad spectrum of technologies, including carded, drylaid, thermal bonded, meltblown and needlepunch with which it targets a broad range of disposable and technical markets.
“We try to find the right balance between hygiene and technical,” Hornfeck says.
This will in part be achieved through the addition of a new meltblown production line in Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany. After an assembly time of only four months, Sandler launched the start-up phase of a new production line in November. The new investment was reported at €6.5 million.
Currently, the line known as “VS 61“ is already producing materials for commercial sales and enhances the nonwovens manufacturer’s capacities for the production of meltblown media, which Sandler sells in highly efficient synthetic filter media applications. The new production line can process diverse thermoplastic raw materials and is equipped with different nozzle systems allowing it to create new and unique nonwoven structures for pleatable filter media for air conditioning systems and other applications. The latest Sandler materials set standards, particularly regarding processability and performance, according to the company. These nonwovens combine higher efficiency, accurate pleat geometry and pleatability that previously could not be achieved in synthetic pleatable filter media.