Company Cameo

Don & Low Nonwovens: Blazing new horizons

March 11, 2013

Don & Low Ltd.
Newfordpark House
Glamis Road
Forfar, Angus DD8 IFR
Telephone: 44 (0) 1904 426973
Fax: 44 (0) 1307 452300

Originally founded as a linen and flax textile weaver in Forfar, Scotland in 1792, in 1985 Don & Low embarked upon an ambitious expansion into the nonwovens industry with the construction of a new plant housing a 3.2-meter Reicofil line, which was followed by additional Reicofil lines in 1989 and 1993, as well as secondary processing equipment including printing, rewinding, slitting, ultrasonic jointing and thermal lamination.

“With the investment of new technologies, the new markets and products naturally progresses,” says sales executive, nonwovens, Will Campbell. “The business expanded out from single web polypropylene into laminates and composites from both polypropylene and polyethylene.”

Originally formed as a family-owned company, Don & Low became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell in 1986 and was acquired by Thrace Plastics in 2003. In addition to Don & Low’s three Reicofil lines, its sister company, Thrace Nonwovens, operates a 3.2-meter Reifenhauser line in Greece.

Traditionally, much of Don & Low’s business has been within the home construction market both in the U.K. and internationally with the help of a network of partners and distributors. While its 20 years of experience in the construction market has allowed the company to produce some of the highest performing, non-breathable, vapor permeable and breathable roof and wall membranes on the market today—most of which have stood the test of time—the company is looking at a number of alternative markets, including the medical market.

“We have over the years supplied in smaller volume to the medical market—we have enhanced our capability and offering with on-going development of polyethylene conversion capability and the use of selected additives and films for laminates and composites,” Campbell says.

With its origins and expertise in the ostomy and laminated gown markets of which both markets have a particular focus for growth, Don & Low is also expanding into products for wound care, incontinence bedding, allergy bedding, drapes, absorbents and other niche medical products. Many of these products were designed in partnership with a customer to create the exact product that meets the desired performance criteria.

“These developments have allowed us to enter new markets and increase our sales into new countries where we have never done business before,” Campbell adds. “We now operate on an international level with customers, distributors and suppliers across the globe. This has enabled us to increase our market awareness and deal with larger blue chip companies while maintaining our roots and values.”

Beyond medical, Don & Low has developed ConcepTX products, which are non-linting and 50% thinner than conventional spunbond and feature improved abrasion resistance, a smooth surface and the ability to maintain water vapor permeability, characteristics ideal for packaging and printing applications.

Another big focus is polyethylene nonwovens where the company is actively seeking new applications for both single web and laminated products. The ability to modify its physical and chemical properties could make this product ideal for a number of markets including medical, automotive and packaging.

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