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Colbond Springs Into 2008



nonwovens specialist launches sporty new product and two updated varieties of lightweight backings



By Ellen Wuagneux



Published February 5, 2008
Related Searches: Automotive Vision nonwoven Colbond
New from Colbond bv, Arnhem, The Netherlands, is an innovative artificial turf backing product. Known as Colturf,  the product is the newest addition to Colbond's range of high-performance backings. The multi-layer construction is designed to fulfill the exacting demands of backing materials in the premium segment of the artificial turf market.

Each layer in Colturf brings specific properties to the product. The backing can include wovens to provide superior stitch holding, various Colback types for outstanding dimensional stability in all directions, needlepunched nonwovens that assure optimal tuft lock, or be enhanced with additional layers such as glass scrim reinforcement.

According to Harry Verbakel, sales and marketing director, "Colbond anticipates a great response from the artificial turf market. Customers will benefit from the flexibility and performance offered by the new primary backing, which can be tailored to suit all grass yarn types and any artificial turf application."

In other recent news, with the success of Colback SMR in 2007, Colbond is launching two new variants of lighter weight primary backings, Colback UMR and TMR, in 2008. All the polyester content in Colback SMR is derived from bottle scrap, making the product the only one in the market that replaces virgin polyester with post-consumer recycled content. The launch of Colback SMR in January 2007 was the beginning of a success story. "We're noticing an increasing awareness of environmental issues in the carpet industry", said Mr. Verbakel. "Throughout 2007, the demand for this new backing was more than satisfactory. We have high expectations for this product in 2008."

The company aims to extend the product range further and offer a version using post-consumer recycled polyester for most Colback types including high elongation primary backings for molded automotive carpet.

During 2007, Colbond developed another specialty product tailored to suit the demands of the North American flooring industry. Colback F2F stands for "Face-to-Face" and features a gray and a black side. These characteristics make the product very flexible to use; both light and dark colored carpet can be tufted on this innovative backing. The new backing helps carpet manufacturers realize further efficiency improvements and resulting cost savings.

Looking ahead, Colbond sees potential for a successful 2008 and beyond. The company will focus on the further exploitation of synergies within the technical textiles division of the Low & Bonar group. Distribution channels will be optimized further during 2008, with Asia being a prominent example. Beginning this year, Chinese sister company Bonar Yihua will represent Colbond with Colback backing for carpet tiles and broadloom carpet. The Companies now offer a full range of both woven and nonwoven backings.

Worldwide, the company expects increasing sales in the tile market. "Some regions will, of course, be stronger than others, but on an average we foresee further growth in 2008 in this particular segment," said Mr. Verbakel.

In the automotive area, market challenges are turning the features of Colback into a strategic advantage. With ever-increasing cost pressures throughout the value chain, production efficiency will be essential. To further minimize the amount of reject parts, OEMs will raise specifications for components to a higher level and demand high quality backings. As a result of this evolution, Colback has been approved for the platform of another major German brand in the premium car segment recently and the company is expecting to further strengthen its position during 2008.

Overall, Colbond is optimistic about the development of its Colback business in the mid and long term. The company is investigating the possibility of increasing its nonwoven production capacity in 2009. "After all, this would be in line with and support the vision of the technical textiles division of the Low & Bonar group—to become the leader in the global advanced materials business," Mr. Verbakel commented.  

The company's production facilities are based in Emmen and Arnhem, The Netherlands; Obernburg, Germany; and Asheville, NC. Regional sales offices are located all over the world. For product and application development, the company maintains a development and application center at the Arnhem head office and a development laboratory in Asheville. Colbond is part of the Technical Textiles Division of Low & Bonar. Listed on the London Stock Exchange, Low & Bonar employs more than 2000 people worldwide.