Key PersonnelKen Hardin, president and CEO; Mike Wood, CFO; Dan Dobbins, vice president and general manager-industrial nonwovens business division; Matt Schrantz, vice president and general manager-performance insulation business division; Jim Walker, vice president and general manager-Cerex Advanced Fabrics business division
PlantsCarson, CA; Los Angeles, CA; City of Commerce, CA; St. Louis, MO; Oakland, CA; Sauget, IL; Orlando, FL; Pensacola, FL; Clearfield, UT; Clinton, TN
ISO StatusCerex Pensacola site
ProcessesCarded, drylaid, airlaid, thermal bonded, needlepunched, chemical bonded, foam bonded, densification, calendered, spunbond, continuous filament batting
Brand NamesBouncebackability; Cerex; PBN-II; Orion; Vibratex; Spectralon; Esyntial Safe; ClimaShield; SandMat; SpectraMax
Major MarketsFurniture, consumer insulation, bedding, filtration, medical, craft, aerospace, automotive, rug components, carpet cushion, home furnishings, mattress barriers, turf products, printing press media
West Coast-based Western Nonwovens (WNI) continues to concentrate on the North American market, with more than 90% of total revenues targeting U.S. customers. This focus is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, although the company is planning new initiatives for its branded products in the Asian market.
With sales reaching $150 million in 2005, WNI is continuing to enjoy steady sales growth despite rising raw material prices and manufacturing costs associated with energy-related areas such as freight and utilities. “In addition, medical benefits and worker’s compensation costs continue to increase,” explained Ken Hardin, WNI’s president and CEO. The company has been successful in offsetting these costs but has been required to pass through some of these increases to the marketplace.
So f ar in 2006, WNI reports that sales revenues are being led by its Industrial Nonwovens Division (INW), particularly from demand for its Esyntial Safe flame retardant (FR) barrier products—offering 50 different solutions for the mattress industry—as well as other value-added product areas. FR barriers are leading the company’s growth due to the size of the industry segment and WNI’s success in commercializing its barrier solutions. “We see the U.S. nonwovens market as very robust with strong demand across most market segments being led by FR barriers and densified products for foam replacement,” said Mr. Hardin.
WNI has kept busy this year executing the final stages of its three-year capital investment plan, which involves expansions in all three divisions—industrial nonwovens, performance insulation and Cerex Advanced Fabrics. The company’s newest site expansion targets its insulation business in Clinton, TN. And, Cerex Advanced Fabrics’ new state-of-the-art nylon spunbond line is on-stream and selling commercial products. According to James Walker, vice president, Cerex, the expansion demonstrates Cerex’s commitment to exceed customer expectations for higher quality nylon fabrics and support significant growth through a pipeline of new products.
Housed in the company’s Pensacola, FL facility, the new line produces high quality, nylon-based spunbond materials. The new fabrics will be sold under the SpectraMax brand name to the automotive trim, specialty wipe, shoe component, medical fabric, home furnishing, protective apparel and aerospace media markets.
SpectraMax is a low denier, extremely uniform nylon 6,6 fabric with benefits of superior strength, filtration efficiency, opacity, softness and drapeability. It will be available in weights ranging from 0.3 to 4 ospy and widths up to 122 inches. The new Spectramax products offer even greater spunbond uniformity combined with the high strength and thermal resistance of nylon
“Capital investment is one of the major strategic initiatives for WNI to support its overall top line growth,” said Mr. Hardin. “The INW division is rapidly occupying its new capacity across the country and will expand again in 2007, targeting the northeast region of the U.S.”
Other new products include Climashield, the company’s new continuous filament consumer insulation brand. The Climashield brand represents the newest technology for extreme outdoor thermal insulation with superior value in thermal efficiency, compressibility and durability. Now available is a lighter and mixed denier continuous filament structure for extreme thermal applications beyond sleeping bags, such as outerwear, apparel, gloves and boots.
As these new products continue to gain ground, WNI’s long-term strategy is to continue its top line growth primarily in the durable nonwovens industry segment with a strict focus on value-added products. For the short term, the company is focused on managing its capacity needs across the country, according to Mr. Hardin.