Contract service manufacturers are leading the way in every nonwovens market and nonwovens technology. From state-of-the-art automated lines to precision slitting to producing high quality spools to computerized traverse winding systems to pressure sensitive adhesives, contract service manufacturers are bending over backwards to exceed nonwovens companies’ needs.
What follows is an indepth examination of the extraordinary capabilities of many of the leading contract service manufacturers. There’s no question that longstanding players as well as newcomers are serving the growing needs of the nonwovens industry.
Adherent Laboratories provides expertise and contract services in the areas of adhesive formulation, testing, as well as application processing. Adherent Laboratories leverages this expertise by providing contract narrow web coating as well as custom adhesive formulation for specialized nonwovens applications.
Adherent Laboratories offers its clients assistance at every stage of product development from substrate and adhesive selection, product design, prototyping and manufacturing feasibility. Clients utilize Adherent’s set of skills and narrow web coating services for short run coating during product start-up, side-by-side adhesive comparison and process condition optimization.
Adherent’s capabilities for narrow web coating includes slot-die coating up to 12-inch web, multi-bead and spray applications and elastic attachment.
American Flexpack, a contract pouch manufacturer in Green Bay, WI, specializes in single-use pouch form fill and seal. The company has over 24 state-of-the-art automated lines capable of output of over two million pouches per day. With this capacity American Flexpack is able to trim lead times to as short as two weeks from the time an order is placed. A major portion of its business is in the pouching of nonwovens of various sizes and basis weight for the automotive, household, cosmetic and personal care markets. Single-use towels can range in size from two by three inch pads to 12 by 16 inch towels.
“We celebrated our tenth anniversary in August and will continue to supply current and new customers with timely, affordable packaging solutions for the growing needs of the current market,” said Michael Mackey, American Flexpack’s president.
Beckmann Converting, Inc., formerly Gem Urethane, is a contract laminator/converter with an emphasis on laminating. The company specializes in full web, ultrasonic laminating and gravure, hot melt adhesive laminating.
Current owner Klaus Beckmann was the CEO of Gem from 1975 until he bought the business from Fab Industries in 2006. The only important change was the name. All of the expertise remained.
“We combine layers (webs) of a number of materials ranging from: nonwovens to films to meshes to knitted and woven raw materials,” he said. “We do this for raw material producers who need their products combined with other layers for optimum performance and for their downstream customers. We have gained expertise in ultrasonically laminating materials of different polymers and different construction. These composites are used in filtration, environmental, protective apparel, protective covers, medical, personal care, cleanroom and other markets.”
Ultrasonic laminating is a very “green” way of laminating as nothing besides the materials being laminated are introduced. The sonic energy bonds the layers at specific points across the web, leaving all of the materials between the bond points with their original properties.
Beijing Dongfang Dayuan Nonwovens Fabric Co., Ltd.
Founded in 1991, Beijing Dayuan and Dong Fang Dayuan Nonwovens Fabric Co., known as Beijing Dongfang Dayuan Nonwovens Fabric Co. was the first Chinese nonwoven manufacturer certified with ISO9001 in 1997.
The company owns a complete spunlace production line imported from Europe with a production capacity reaching 4500 tons per year, of which 70% of the products are exported. Currently, the company is expanding its annual spunlace capacity to 10,000 tons.
One of the largest Chinese thermal bond and air through nonwoven manufacturers with four air through lines and one European thermal bond line, reaching a total annual capacity of 12,000 tons, DDN is adding a new air through line adding 3000 tons per year to bring its total annual capacity to 15,000 tons by 2010.
An overseas sales office in Houston, TX helps DDN serve international customers. Its high quality spunlace fabric is well entangled and lint free with strong dust-absorbing capacity, suitable to make industrial, household and medical wipers. Features include uniformity, soft feeling, strength, absorbency and assured safety. It does not scratch the surface while used in wipers. A high sanitary standard eliminates irritation to skin and is also suitable for medical bandage, gauze and other disposables.
The materials used for spunlace fabric include viscose, polyester, composite and split fiber as well as bamboo fiber and corn fiber for higher grade, environment friendly fabrics that are dissoluble in water. The unit weight of the company’s fabric ranges from 30-100 gsm, with a roll width of 10-225 cm.
The company’s thermal bond and air through fabric is in high demand for baby diaper, sanitary napkin and pantyliners. The unit weight of its thermal bond and air through fabric ranges from 18-50 gsm, of general, functional and acquisition distribution layer types.
Felix is a manufacturer of textile-like back sheet and other composite laminate structures for personal care, healthcare and industrial applications.
The company provides different choices and a wide range of products for the personal care
industry. These raw materials are widely used in hygienic applications. Felix's main core competence is the production of breathable textile like back sheet production. Textile back sheets are used as a raw material in the hygiene industry as the outer layer of the diaper. Other applications such as breathable, non-breathable film back sheeting are also common in the industry.
All of Felix’s products are developed, researched and produced in order to meet the industry quality standards.
End uses of the company’s products include the following: disposable baby diapers; disposable sanitary napkins; and disposable incontinency adult diapers.
Felix produces composite structures and laminates that are more than stagnant for medical applications. Felix’s products are functional on the job. Most of the products are used in disposable medical articles such as gowns, table covers and absorbent materials. Since the medical fabrics are very complex and require lots of expertise, Felix works with best sub suppliers in order to deliver customers’ expectations.
The composite structures that Felix produces are also utilized in the construction industry as house wraps and roofing covers. House wraps and roofing covers are liquid barriers. On the other hand, since the composite is breathable, the water vapor in the structure is controlled.
Such composites can be developed and produced UV stable and flame retardant according to the specific needs of the customer. Felix works as a research and development team with its customers in order to specify the exact needs and deliver it to the market in the shortest lead time possible.
Felix’s operations for contract manufacturing are the following: porous substrates and micro porous films; nonwovens
coating, lamination and converting; lightweight tissue coating and lamination; micro porous substrates production, coating and lamination.
Fisher Textiles, a family owned and operated business, has been at the forefront of converting wovens, knits and nonwovens for more than 20 years. Equipment consists of machinery with slitting, rewinding, sheeting, laminating and paperbacking capabilities. Fisher can slit and rewind textiles up to 200” wide. Fisher offers precision slitting with accuracy of +/- 0.025” for textiles up to 72” wide. The company has the ability to ultra sonic slit and heat seal edges. This is especially important for textiles that are susceptible to fraying, which includes most woven fabrics. The company offers high speed sheeting with a maximum input width of 60 inches. Fisher has laminating capabilities for up to five layers with maximum input width of 72 inches. The company also has the ability to paperback wovens and knits up to 60 inches wide.
James Gay, director of marketing at Fisher Textiles said, “In recent years Fisher Textiles has shifted our focus toward a different market in offering fabrics for digital printing. In doing so we’ve forgotten the wide capabilities we have in converting. We’ve tried to refocus and get the word out to the nonwovens market of the wide range of ability we do have.”
Gessner & Associates Inc.
Gessner & Associates, Inc., specializes in providing technical consulting to the nonwoven industry. Scott Gessner offers a hands-on, data-based, yet practical approach to problem solving. His understanding of the relationship between polymer structure and dynamic behavior coupled with his extensive knowledge of air-attenuation processes, uniquely qualifies Mr. Gessner to tackle the most demanding spunbond and meltblown development projects.
G&A has continuously provided consulting services to dozens of clients on projects ranging from new polymer development for spunbond and meltblown processes to spunbond plant specification, purchase, installation and start-up. Recently G&A provided the technical guidance for development of fiber and nonwoven grades of PLA.
Mr. Gessner's innovative approach has resulted in the issuance of over 25 U.S. patents and roughly a half dozen patent-supported, trademarked commercial products.
Areas of competency include the following: development of new polymer systems for fiber and nonwoven products; process and material optimization for pilot and manufacturing systems; IP technical strategy; GAP analysis for targeted technology development; and technical project management.
G&A has assisted clients with the successful development and commercialization of patent-supported, commercial products.
Graniteville Specialty Fabrics
Graniteville Specialty Fabrics has been producing coated fabrics since 1947. Located in Graniteville, SC the company was part of a large textile company, Graniteville Company, which was founded in 1845. Graniteville applies pigmented and clear coatings to nonwoven and woven fabrics for commercial, industrial and military end uses. Coatings can be solvent or water based chemistries which include vinyl, acrylic, urethane and silicone. Coatings can be made fire retardant to meet a wide range of commercial and military specifications. All fire retardant coatings are durable. Other technical coatings include antimicrobial finishes, adsorptive carbon and blackout coatings, adhesive and styrene coatings. Graniteville has a development lab and a complete in process testing lab. The plant has four coating lines with up to 85” feed in capability. Coating applications use various knife or blade coatings as well as fountain, impregnation, spray and kiss coatings.
Independent Converting Equipment
Independent Converting Equipment [ICE] has steadily been building a following in the converting industry for producing high quality spools for leaders in many industries including nonwovens. ICE was founded seven years ago as a complementary service to machinery builder Independent Machine Company. [IMC]
For more than 43 years IMC has been a leader in the design and manufacture of a wide range of web processing systems with special emphasis on the development of slitting and computerized traverse winding systems. ICE was created to assist the converting needs of IMC machinery customers while systems were being built and has grown into a significant contract supplier to the nonwovens industry offering contract slitting and computerized traverse winding.
The most advanced traverse winding technologies developed by IMC enables ICE to meet the unique and complex needs of the converting customer. The computerized equipment and proprietary software provides an unlimited choice of spool shape, size and winding patterns as well as precise tension control. ICE offers a comprehensive range of spooling services for nonwoven materials.
ICE’s careful attention to winding patterns, tension and overall spool geometry is key to the quality of finished spools. Selection of the proper traverse pattern is critical to the spooling process for converted nonwoven materials. Four basic traverse adjustments (stroke length, pitch, end dwell and winding pattern) are set through computerized traverse programming. Precise tension is controlled by the exclusive IMC dancer/tension controller capable of maintaining tension within grams throughout the speed range. Very often miles of material is traverse wound onto a single spool to feed the next operation without the need for splices and costly downtime.
The integrity of the spool created by proper control of tension and selection of spool settings will ensure the success of the converted material in the unwinding application.
ICE also offers Spool-Mate, a driven spool unwind with the same precise tension control used in our spooling systems.
ICE is a global leader in traverse winding technology. Whether your job is small and highly specialized, commercial production or a research and development project ICE can produce “Your Perfect Spool.”
Kleen Test Products
Kleen Test Products is one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers of wet wipes, dryer sheets, liquid products and die-cut nonwovens. For more than 65 years, Kleen Test has been helping companies of all sizes save time and money by discreetly manufacturing their consumer products. The company provides seamless outsourcing with the highest regard for the confidentiality of customers.
Kleen Test’s state-of-the-art FDA- and EPA-registered manufacturing plants have the ability to efficiently handle many diverse manufacturing and packaging needs. With five plants in southeastern Wisconsin and two more in Ohio, they are able to segregate confidential products and flexibly staff peaks in demand. Kleen Test has the resources and the technical expertise to take ideas from conception to completion, shortening lead time to market. The company will work with you to execute innovative ideas that set your brand apart from the rest.
Many of the die-cut nonwoven, dryer sheet and wet wipe products launched in the last 30 years were manufactured by Kleen Test. In addition to a number of nonwoven facilities, Kleen Test also has a 210,000-square-foot facility dedicated to liquid filling of household, personal care, oral care and OTC products. They fill bottles with capacities ranging from one ounce to five gallons. Additional capabilities are secondary packaging, jar filling and tube filling.
With a broad range of capabilities and years of experience, Kleen Test stands out in the industry for its dedication to providing high quality support to customers in many diverse business sectors.
MACtac is a leading global supplier of pressure sensitive adhesives. Founded on personal service, technical support, quality assurance and custom capabilities, MACtac is dedicated to providing superior quality to its customers. MACtac serves a number of market segments, including graphics, roll labels, sheets, medical and technical. MACtac offers a variety of adhesive-coated foams, films and nonwoven solutions for a variety of markets within the medical and technical industries.
MACtac Medical Products has been a trusted source of medical adhesive systems for more than 25 years. Its skin friendly medical adhesives are a key component that drives the design, production, and performance of a wide variety of medical devices, including disposable electrodes, surgical drapes, wound dressings and ostomy devices. MACtac Technical Products has been providing technical industries with pressure-sensitive adhesive materials for more than 50 years. The company’s engineered adhesive solutions are a key component in mounting, laminating, bonding and fastening for converters and OEMs in a wide-range of markets, including transportation, industrial equipment, electronic, appliance and nameplate and applications.
MACtac’s expertise in adhesive coating and its state-of-the-art technology expands functionality, inspires new product designs, and delivers speed to solutions cost effectively.
“MACtac places great emphasis on continuously developing new products to meet our customers’ most challenging application needs, investing in essential resources, from personnel to assets to technology, allowing us to bring those solutions to fruition,” said Steve Sargeant, general manager.
Headquartered in Stow, OH, MACtac serves North America, Europe, South America and Asia and has manufacturing and distribution facilities in 14 countries worldwide. MACtac's international presence reflects the global strength and innovation of its parent, the Bemis Company, which is the largest flexible packaging supplier in North America.
MACtac offers hot melt adhesives, waterborne adhesives, antimicrobials, co-extruded films, foams, laminates and nonwoven tapes.
Monadnock Non-Wovens LLC
Monadnock Non-Wovens LLC is a customer-driven manufacturer of high quality meltblown nonwoven materials for OEM clients. The company manufactures roll or flat media including calendered composites of spunbond and meltblown.
Monadnock serves the following industries: appliance, apparel, automotive, battery separators, consumer, air and liquid filtration, homeland security, health, pharmaceutical, facemask, vacuum bag and nuclear.
Capabilities include the following: materials: Polypropylene and Halar. Other polymers by request; thickness 1/8th-2 inch (1mm-55mm); roll width 6”-72” (150-1850 mm) in rolls max o.d. 45” (1150mm); electrostatically enhanced media; calendering of various plastic nonwovens, width 6”-61” (150-1500 mm); single or multilayer MS, SMS, SMMS and SMMMS composites up to 7 layers; Unique halar/polypropylene laminates; meltblown weight range 0.05-24oz/yd2 (2.5-800g/m2); options: colored, multi-component, wettable; high loft up to 2 inch (50mm); meets UL 94 standard, GMP, USP VI, FDA, NSF 51 as applicable; colored media such as yellow, gray, black and green; process development services of customer materials; contract manufacturing or Toll converting of customer materials; special applications with additives; cost effective commercialization of pilot programs to industrial scale. Global supply capability: contract or special runs; standard delivery four weeks; export or domestic packaging; and ISO 9001-2008,
SGS certificate #US07/1134.
National Wiper Alliance
The on-going economic downturn continues to raise the demand for cost effective options for distributors to offer its customers. National Wiper Alliance has positioned itself to meet the needs of this market by adding additional production lines, flexible packaging equipment and the addition of 100,000 square feet of warehouse space.
National Wiper Alliance offers converting capabilities for every put-up required in dry wipes for all segments including industrial, medical and retail. The flexibility of the new equipment allows for smaller runs, the ability to offer custom converting specific to individual’s requirements and the ability to offer private labeling on inner and outer product packaging. The company’s converting services are geared to the individual client’s requirements, allowing the company to work with customers to design and build brand recognition with their own private labeled brands versus strengthening national brands while offering a competitively priced and value product offering. The outside warehouse gives National Wiper Alliance the ability to keep on hand both raw material and converted items, and increases the outsourcing services the company offers to customers. Many customers now have National Wiper Alliance handle the turnkey converting of products from the ordering of raw materials and ancillary items to logistics and distribution of converted products directly to their customers.
NonWoven Solutions, LLC
Launched in May of 2007, NWS was built as a state-of-the-art manufacturer of carded and needlepunched nonwovens. As a contract manufacturer, NWS’ primary business is in the manufacture of needlefelts sold to convertors and packaging companies who provide products for medical, personal care and consumer products. Additional applications include technical felts, filtration media and automotive applications.
“Generally speaking, our customers provide us with a specification and we build a product accordingly. We supply that product in master rolls, or we precision slit, die cut or sheet goods according to the end user’s requirements,” said Steve Brown, general manager of NWS.
What distinguishes NWS from many other nonwoven producers is the development of the company and manufacturing capability with medical grade quality as the standard. “Every product out the door has the lowest level of contamination possible, short of being made in a cleanroom environment,” said Mr. Brown.
Since only A grade fibers that are safe for skin contact are used, NWS can further satisfy the demands and quality expectations of all the contract packagers and convertors.
Nowotec is a partner of Fiberweb, one of the world leading suppliers of nonwoven materials. Its main market is filtration (liquid and air filtration). The company’s precision cutting line for pleatable cartridges performs extremely precise cutting operations and works on rolls with very small widths.
Nowotec offers industrial filtering solutions for liquids and air in the international market. The experience acquired and the particular features of nonwovens have enabled Nowotec to become a leader in Italy and to successfully expand in foreign markets.
Nowotec offers the following: a wide range of materials ready from stock, cutting widths from 10mm to 3.200 mm, precision cutting (+/- 0,1 mm toleranc), safety stock service, product certification, technical data sheets, safety data sheets and product traceability.
PDI Contract Manufacturing
For more than 50 years Nice-Pak Products has been the global leader in wet wipe manufacturing. A product of its success, Professional Disposables International (PDI), emerged as a major player in wet wipe contract manufacturing.
Nice-Pak/PDI operates seven manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Europe. The manufacturing and corporate headquarters are located in Orangeburg, NY. Other manufacturing locations are Mooresville, IN; Green Bay, WI; Jonesboro, AR; Flint and Wigan, U.K.; and Magdeburg, Germany.
“Through PDI’s innovation and technology, we are able to successfully provide customers with the highest quality of all wet wipe contract manufacturing services. Whether it is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug, cosmetic, or other specialty wipe, we have experts in formulation, packaging, regulatory standards and manufacturing ready to make it happen. From concept to ready-to-ship, PDI’s contract manufacturing expertise is put to work in order to make the development process as easy as possible for our customers,” said Michael Sherman, PDI’s contract manufacturing sales manager.
Beyond the largest available capacity, PDI has U.S. facilities that are ISO 9001 certified, FDA inspected, EPA registered and follow the strict guidelines of current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP). Each facility has a microbiological laboratory, an analytical laboratory, and qualified technicians to assure the highest standards are met.
Nice-Pak/PDI has a state-of-the-art research and development center which continues to lead the charge in innovative wet wipe ideas and technology.
“Customers work with us because of our quality standards and our ability to bring innovation to the marketplace,” said Mr. Sherman.
PDI Contract Manufacturing is unique in the sense that it offers all package formats “under one roof.” PDI has the ability to manufacture wet wipe products in individual packets, pop-up canisters, soft packs and travel packs (with hard snap closure or peel and reseal label) and tubs in a variety of different fold options.
Richer Investment aims to maximize its customer’s opportunities by removing obstacles during the developing of your projects. “We help diaper factories succeed faster and with fewer errors. With a client base in more than 26 countries and four continents, few people have better access to all the different manufacturing processes and product design options, with as much detail,” said president Carlos Richer. “We have first hand knowledge of the industry. We can explain not only what is happening in the diaper industry in every region of the world, but we can predict product trends for the future.”
As a consulting company in new product development, specializing in baby diapers, adult incontinence and nonwoven and personal care products, Richer Investment has helped many clients achieve success with their new diaper factory projects. The company starts from the strategic definition of the project all the way to its execution. “Our diaper plant audits help our clients identify opportunity areas, reduce costs and improve their product design. Our training seminars have helped diaper producers and raw material suppliers to have a better understanding of this industry, helping them to be in a better position to maximize profits. We are also an effective channel when in need to communicate new raw material developments that may be too technical to explain and find ways to justify them face-to-face with the diaper manufacturers located all over the world. Our credibility is the key to open the doors when in need to contact major diaper producers in every region of the world,” said Mr. Richer.
Mr. Richer added, “We have a professional laboratory fully dedicated to test baby and adult diapers. Our lab analysis and test results will allow you to have an objective evaluation of the quality and performance of your diapers and/or your competitors.”
Rockline Contract Manufacturing Services
Rockline Contract Manufacturing Services’ mission is to deliver customer specific solutions that leverage its global expertise in materials, manufacturing and innovation.
Rockline Contract Manufacturing Services has a global network of manufacturing platforms and logistical capabilities in place to support its branded partners. The company has built a solid reputation in the wipe industry through the manufacturing of quality products that meet or exceed its customer’s expectations while maintaining strict confidentiality to protect ideas and intellectual property.
Rockline produces both EPA and FDA products. Rockline also has qualified its European and Chinese facilities to even more stringent British Regulatory Commission standards, and its Chinese facility is ISO 13485 certified which allows the company to manufacture wet wipes used as a medical device.
The Rockline Contract Manufacturing Services group has the capabilities to bring innovative materials and manufacturing processes to help develop products. Rockline continues to build on past innovations with substrates, packaging and lotions to deliver new products to the market for its customers at an ever faster pace.
Rockline has diversified converting machine capabilities and a myriad of packaging options from the standard canisters or resealable film packs to packaging that has the smallest environmental footprint in the industry and beyond. The company also offers packaging options across the spectrum from rigid to flexible.
Rockline offers folded wipes including Z fold, pop-up and other custom folds. The company also offers rolled wipes for canister and refill applications. Rockline offers research and development support ranging from in house formulation development and product design to lab testing.
Founded in 1953, Saueressig produces designs, reproductions, printing cylinders and embossing rollers, as well as machines and facilities for refinement processes. For several decades, the printing and refining industry has been depending on Saueressig as a reliable supplier of rollers, templates and facilities meeting the highest quality standards.
With headquarters in Vreden, Germany, Saueressig Group employs almost 1000 staff members and has other branches in Germany, Poland, Russia, the U.K. and Jordan as well as other representations and joint ventures worldwide.
The company produces more than 150,000 embossing and refining tools for its customers every year, with an upward tendency.
With its range of design developments, embossing and bonding rollers, MPS (micro-porous shells), base drums, structured drums and shells, the company offers all-in-one solutions from one source. Saueressig is a pioneer in laser technology and engraving.
Superior Felt & Filtration
Superior Felt & Filtration has multiple facilities to take a customer’s concept and bring it to completion. “On a regular basis, we have Fortune 500 companies and engineers approaching us with their concepts. Our job is to bring these ideas to fruition. Superior has the ability to manufacture a specific nonwoven textile and through value added services, present our customers the final packaged concept or at least a converted material that is machine ready for their manufacturing purposes,” said Frank Porto, sales director.
“Superior Felt & Filtration and its family of companies can manufacture, convert and private label all your felt and filtration needs. Our market segments include medical, automotive, appliance, aerospace and light and heavy industry. We also carry a great line of decorative felts and plenty of innovative contract service opportunities,” said Tom Leineberg Jr., CFO.
These contract services include: adhesive coating, laminating, slitting, sewing, ultra sonic welding, heat sealing, full service die cutting, rotary controlled environment converting, printing, private packaging and labeling, stocking and distribution programs.
“Quality is paramount. We are ISO 9001 and operate several controlled room environments as well as a NIOSH approved facility. Though we service many industries, medical is a large focus and we are confident that manufacturing and offering contract services for life saving devices helps our quality controls. We are always striving for excellence and it shows with our quality assurance guarantee,” said Joe Leineberg, director of product development.
Superior Felt & Filtration can handle your basic slitting and die cutting needs to contract services for life saving nonwoven technology like respirators or other converted medical textiles.
For over 50 years Teel Plastics has been manufacturing plastic cores for use in substrate winding applications across a variety of markets. Teel’s cores are commonly used in nonwoven and film manufacturing. "Our plastic cores are required when dimensional integrity, core cleanliness and surface quality are of utmost importance," said Bob Anderson, national sales manager at Teel Plastics.
Teel manufactures plastic cores for cleanroom manufacturing. The company performs 100% inspection on its cores for dust and debris before individually packaging each core in a plastic sleeve and heat sealed at the ends. The cores are also packaged in a bag lined box to further protect our cores from harmful particulate.
If you’re interested in getting multiple uses from a single core, Teel manufactures a WIP (Work In Process) core. Its WIP cores are made from Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). The company considers ABS to be the most durable of the resins it uses in core applications. It is not uncommon for the company’s customers to reuse a single core 50 or more times. The cost savings associated with core reuse can be substantial.
Core manufacturing capabilities include ID dimensions from .300” ID to 8” ID, wall thickness from.010” to .600”, and lengths from .5” to 160”.
Contract Service Manufacturers Review
By Sandra Levy, Associate Editor
Published October 8, 2010