A company of Hoftex Group AG
2012 Nonwoven Sales: $152 million
Tenowo Mittweida GmbH
Tenowo Reichenbach GmbH
Lincolnton, NC, USA
Key Personnel: Harald Stini, managing director; Detlev Käppel, global sales director technical nonwovens; Lothar Hackler, president—Tenowo Inc. NC/USA
Plants: Hof/Saale, Germany; Reichenbach, Germany, Mittweida, Germany; Lincolnton, NC
Processes: Drylaid, thermal bonded, needlepunched, saturate bonded, stitchbonded, spunlace
Brands: Variopoint, Unipoint, Unisoft, Zetafelt, Zetastitch, Zetafil, Zetawatt, Zetaloft, Florbond, Zetabond, Zetajet, Zetatherm, Zetamold, Maliwatt, Malivlies, Kunit, Multiknit eswegee 2000 series, Bassopoint
Major Markets: Acoustics, automotive, filtration, roofing, industrial, composites, interlinings
The big news from the world’s 31st largest nonwovens producer is its new name. Effective January 1, 2013 the “Eswegee” division of Textilgruppe Hof was renamed Tenowo GmbH while Textilgruppe Hof AG was renamed “Hoftex Group AG. “The name change, which was not precipitated by any change in ownership, was intended to simplify the different names of its manufacturing locations and to follow the company’s global approach and growth targets for the entire group, says managing director Harald Stini.
Speaking of a global approach, in 2012, Tenowo made a strategic decision to follow its customers in Asia. After serving the Asian market remotely for many years, Tenowo will establish a new plant in the Zhejian province of China beginning in 2014.
Technologies planned for the new site will largely target industrial markets, namely the automotives market, which has been a strong one for the company in recent years. This growth has been the result of a combination of economic recovery as well as successful new product introductions and increased market share.
“On the one hand, the economic environment, especially in the automotive area, provided room for further growth,” says Stini. “On the other hand our corporate strategy in terms of investments, capacity expansions and global presence has paved the way in order gain more market share.”
Other reasons for the company’s success in 2012 were a strong customer commitment and close relationships across all markets.
But, amidst this success, challenges existed. These include the high demand from customers in the automotives arena as well as price pressure both at the OEM and Tier 1 level. However, the company managed together with its customers to achieve a win-win-situation by internal savings through higher productivity and alternative material solutions, according to global sales director of technical nonwovens, Detlev Kaeppel.
In fact, new products offered by Tenowo included lightweight needlepunched nonwovens for automotive applications and other industry markets such as filtration and construction. Additionally, Tenowo launched a new product group named “Zetaloft,” which are highloft nonwovens targeting automotive and other industrial applications.
Within its spunlace operation, located in Reichenbach, Germany, Tenowo’s specifically designed products for industrial applications continue to be well accepted by the market and this line continues to run at full capacity.
“Due to our own tailor made machinery set-up, we are able to run a wide proliferation of products. The specifi c fiber orientation contributes to good coverage at low weights and enhanced acoustic properties, which is requested for the final automotive parts,” Kaeppel says.
While firm plans have yet to be made, a decision regarding expanding the company’s spunlace operation, which it started in 2009, will likely be made by the end of the year. Additionally, the company continues to look at expansion possibilities across all of its businesses as all of its lines have been running at full capacity.
The other side of Tenowo’s business, interlinings, has stabilized after facing years of competition from Asia and continues to be a strategic market segment for Tenowo. “Although market conditions for Europe are not very rosy, we are convinced it will play an important role in the future as not all demand can be covered by Asia,” Stini says.
Tenowo has an operation in India through a joint venture with Supreme Nonwovens.
The company’s stitchbond specialist Tenowo Mittweida GmbH has also been able to further develop its business across all market segments by wisely making investments and capacity expansions across all of its businesses—Malivlies, Maliwatt, Kunit and Multiknit—all at the right point in time. Some investments will overlap into 2013 and seem to fi t perfect with new programs coming on-stream. The group’s unique Multiknit technology is favored by many German automotives companies including BMW, Audi and Mercedes because they provide good air permeability, less fogging, a comfortable seating climate, recyclability and cost savings compared to other sandwich constructions.
To help further broaden its materials within automotives, Tenowo has developed a new product group that can be laminated under genuine leather and PUR artificial leather seats. Additionally, stitchbonded nonwovens for cable harnessing in automotive is another strategic market segment, where Tenowo products provide good abrasion resistance, acoustical and insulation features.
Back in the U.S., the group’s North American division, now known as Tenowo Inc., based in Lincolnton, NC supplies thermal and acoustic componentry for the North American automotive industry. Automotive thermal and acoustic parts using Tenowo nonwovens provide effective noise reduction for a wide frequency range, superior appearance and excellent process capability when used in a wide array of different molding processes and when combined with various other materials.
New investment has led to better than 45% growth within the North American automotive business and demand for advanced thermal and acoustic componentry nonwovens continues to be strong in North America. Tenowo will continue to respond with major investments in additional capacity and new innovative products including a doubling of current production capacity within the next 18 months.