Nonwovens Industry
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Sandler


Location: Saale, Germany

Sales: $112 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Dipl. Kfm. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dieter Magier, managing directors

Plant
Schwarzenbach/Saale Germany

ISO Status
ISO 9001, ISO 14001 certified

Processes
Dry laid, resin bonded, thermal bonded, mechanically bonded, melt blown, parallel and crosslapped carded, air through bonded, spunlaced, laminated

Brand Names
sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawacomp, sawaflock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sandler-fibercomfort, sandler-fiberskin, Purina, sandler-unico, Thincontinent, sawadur, sawadry

Major Markets
Apparel, upholstery, technical nonwovens, civil engineering, hygiene, medical filtration, automotive


For Sandler, Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany, 2001 can be classified as “the best ever” in terms of turnover. The company’s sales increased to E126 million compared to E119 million in 2000, on the heels of strong product innovation and increased exportation levels. “The basis of being successful is a good percentage of exports—especially if you are developing a lot of new products,” explained managing director C.H. Sandler. “You want to sell as much as possible of your newly developed products because they have a better chance in the market than more standard, commodity-type products.”
 
A focus on innovation has certainly paid off for Sandler. The company was awarded two innovation awards at the INDEX Exposition, held in Geneva, Switzerland in April, making it only the second company to ever win dual awards in the history of the INDEX show. One of the awards recognized sawasoft 8000, a multifunctional composite material that combines the distribution properties of an acquisition/distribution layer while retaining the function of a core material. It is distinguished by extraordinarily low rewet with a surface that dries up within a few seconds. The other product recognized was Sandler’s patented sawascreen air filtration material, made from 100% polypropylene. The interest in the product focuses around sawascreen pleatable media’s usage in filter classes G4-H10 air filtration.
 
In terms of end use markets, Sandler products target a range of applications including apparel, upholstery, filtration, automotives and hygiene. The apparel segment has thrived on the introduction of outdoor garments for skiing and other sporting activities that use sandler sports, functional nonwovens, to provide warmth and humidity transport. This area once again reinforces Sandler’s commitment to creating niche areas to grow its nonwovens business.
 
In the upholstery segment, where Sandler has its roots, the company remains a leader in the European market. Currently, most of the growth in this segment is being generated in Poland, an area that Sandler is geographically near, giving it easy access to this burgeoning market.
 
In the automotives segment, Sandler continues to focus its attention on creating recyclable components for interior applications in anticipation of a pending EED law that will require the automotive industry to produce a recyclable car by 2005. “We noticed a trend toward recyclable materials in the automotive industry several years ago and predicted that this would be necessary,” Dr. Sandler explained. “This idea was the right one and we continue to make breakthroughs in this area.”
 
In terms of niche areas, one market where Sandler is paying a great deal of attention is horticulture, where its sawagrow product is used in irrigation projects to lower salt concentrations and eliminate bacteria problems while maintaining water levels. Sawagrow is a blend of polyester fibers that provides an air through bonded nonwoven capillary function.
 
“An innovative company is always looking after new niches,” Dr. Sandler explained. “It’s a continuous process.”
 
In addition to innovation, Sandler has maintained its success by not being too dependent on its domestic market. More than 50% of its sales are conducted outside of Germany, chiefly in North America and Europe but also in the Far East and South America. Currently, the bulk of the company’s sales growth is being achieved in the U.S., particularly in the technical and hygiene markets. Despite this dependence on foreign business, Sandler continues to only operate facilities in Germany and has no plans to expand its manufacturing base outside of its native country. “I would never say never,” Dr. Sandler said. “But, in our current situation, basing all of our activity in one location is okay.”
 
Sandler produces 44,800 tons of dry laid, resin bonded, mechanically and thermally bonded, parallel and crosslapped carded, needlepunched, laminated and melt blown nonwovens, and this output has been increasing slightly during the past three years due to production modifications. The company has not made a significant capacity investment since December 1999 when it opened a centralized, 16,000 square meter facility in Schwarzenbach, but the steady growth of the company’s sales levels is expected to sooner or later make further expansion necessary. “Our target is to grow and, in the past five years, things have been very good,” Dr. Sandler predicted.
 
One of the areas prime for growth is the spunlaced market. Sandler is currently in the final phase of planning the installation of a spunlaced production line and company executives expect that a move into the spunlaced wipes market should be helped by Sandler’s vast experience in carded thermal bonded materials, which is also broadly used in wipes.
 
In fact, Sandler’s entry into spunlacing is such an important step into the future, that the company already displayed its sawatex spunlaced nonwovens at INDEX. These engineered fabrics will not only be available for wet and dry wiper applications but will also help solve problems in other hygiene-related and technical areas. Sawatex will feature customized fiber blends and material structures, opening a wide field of uses as well as precise solutions, according to Dr. Sandler.
 
In terms of current business conditions, 2002 has so far been satisfactory for Sandler despite the difficult world economy. For the future, the company will continue to achieve growth through innovation as well as new emerging and growing markets. “I cannot say what these growing markets will be for sure,” Dr. Sandler said. “When you think about it, three or four years ago, there were no wet wipes and now they are everywhere. No one could have predicted that definitely. Some markets can disappear where others will thrive.”
Location: Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

Sales: $119 million

Description: Key Personnel
Dipl. Kfm. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dieter Magiera, members of the management board

Plant
Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

ISO Status
DIN EN ISO 9001:2000, DIN ISO 14001 certified

Processes
Drylaid, resin bonded, thermal bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, parallel and crosslapped carded, air through bonded, spunlaced, laminated

Brand Names
sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawacomp, sawaflock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sandler-fibercomfort, sandler-fiberskin, Purina, sandler-unico, Thincontinent, sawadur, sawadry

Major Markets
apparel, upholstery, technical nonwovens, civil engineering, hygiene, medical and industrial filtration, automotive, horticulture

With sales holding steady at E126 million, Sandler Nonwovens, Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany, was pleased with its 2002 performance. “In this economy, when you look at the market, the turnover is all right,” stated C.H. Sandler. The company has relied on a range of innovative products, a strong export level and a clear strategic plan to fend off negative economic conditions and other problems affecting the nonwovens industry.
 
Currently 60% of Sandler’s nonwovens output is exported, mainly to European nations and the U.S. Key growth areas include the Far East and South America. Despite this dependence on foreign markets, Sandler operates facilities only in Germany and has no plans to expand beyond these borders in the near term.
 
While growth into new regions is an important part of Sandler’s growth strategy, so is proliferation into new markets. One area blazing brightly on Sandler’s radar screen is the wipes market. The company has recently installed its first-ever spunlace line, which will allow the company to produce a range of wipes as well as medical fabrics and hygiene products. Even though  this new production line went onstream just a few weeks ago, it is already moving towards fully industrial production by September 2003. “Spunlace is a growing market in Europe and all over the world“, Mr. Sandler said. “There are still new applications appearing that will boost growth.”
 
Mr. Sandler explained that it would produce high-quality fabrics in multiple shapes and sizes with the ability to handle special treatments to differentiate themselves from other spunlaced materials. “Product differentiation is the key to success, and you have to keep working to remain differentiated. The specialty of today will be the commodity product of the future, “Mr. Sandler predicted. “It is a market with a very interesting future.”
 
Spunlaced will join other nonwovens technologies including dry laid, resin bonded, mechanical and thermal bonded, parallel and crosslapped carded, needlepunched, laminated and meltblown, already in Sandler’s staple of offerings.
 
These technologies target the apparel, upholstery, technical, civil engineering, hygiene, medical and industrial filtration as well as automotive industries. Of particular importance to Sandler’s strategic plan is the automotive industry. This effort began 10 years ago when Sandler introduced a 100% needle-punched polyester media allowing thermal moulding into new products for example headliners. This innovation earned the company both an INDEX Award and a Techtextil Award. Sales of this product are just now beginning to take off rapidly as European automotive suppliers prepare the industry’s conversion to recyclable cars, as mandated by European authorities.
 
As Sandler’s headliner business continues to gain momentum, acoustical applications are another segment of the automotives industry of interest to the industry. As the automotives industry demands less weight (to reduce energy costs), it will rely more on lighter, nonwoven fabrics. In fact, penetration into the acoustical areas is so important to Sandler’s growth that the company plans to start up a production line in the next five years that will be dedicated solely to this area. Products developed on the line will mainly be interior trim parts featuring lower weights and higher acoustics. This new investment will add another asset to the Schwarzenbach production site and moreover will create about 50 new qualified jobs.
 
In the filtration segment, Sandler products continue to garner interest. One noteworthy product, sawascreen a polypropylene meltblown received one of two innovation awards granted to Sandler at INDEX 2002. This product, made from 100% polypropylene, is a pleatable media for air filtration applications. Introduced last year, the product joined a range of nonwoven products in Sandler’s filtration business.
 
“Filtration is another interesting market because synthetic fiber media are becoming more important to companies as they are destined to replace glass fiber products,” Mr. Sandler explained.
 
Sandler credits its success in a wide range of markets to a focus on market research and product development. In fact, sawascreen was not the only Sandler product to be recognized at last year’s INDEX exhibition. Sawasoft 8000, a multifunctional composite material combines the distribution properties of an acquisition/distribution layer while retaining the function of core material. It is distinguished by extraordinary low rewet with a surface that dries up within a few seconds.
 
“The result of our efforts has been that market needs are coinciding nicely with products offered by Sandler,“ Dr. Sandler explained. “These products are developed with consumer needs in mind.”
 
Looking ahead, Sandler will continue to focus on innovation to achieve success in the future, Fully aware of how quickly a new idea can become blasé, the company sponsors an employee-recognition program whereby employees are given monetary compensation for creative ideas that contribute to the bottom line. “One of the main points in our strategy of innovation is to train our employees to continue our tradition on their own,” Dr. Sandler explained.
Location: Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

Sales: $132 MILLION

Description: Key Personnel
Dipl. Kfm. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dieter Magiera, Members of the management Board

Plant
Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

ISO Status
ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001 certified

Processes
Drylaid, resin bonded, thermal bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, parallel and crosslapped carded, air through bonded, spunlaced, lamination

Brand Names
sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawacomp, sawaflock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sandler-fibercomfort, sandler-fiberskin, Purina, sandler-unico, Thincontinent, sawadur, sawadry

Major Markets
Apparel, upholstery, technical nonwovens, civil engineering, hygiene, medical, wipes, filtration, automotive

A reconfiguration of a large thermal bonding line led to a temporary decline in sales for Sandler AG. The Schwarzen­bach/Saale, Germany-based company reported its sales decreased to E117 million compared to E126 million in 2003 after this highly efficient thermal bond line was shut down early in the year. Sandler expects to recoup this decrease and grow sales this year as the line comes onstream and it begins to benefit from a recent entry into the spunlace market.
 
The company’s spunlace line came onstream in mid 2003. While it is too soon for executives to comment on the results of this new business, they would confirm that demand is still trending upward for these types of nonwovens which are mainly used for a variety of cleaning applications. Particularly, wet wipes are seeing a global growth rate of at least 20% annually.
 
Sandler’s tradition of innovation has been applied to this new business. The company has combined its knowledge of carded technology with spunlaced technology to develop sawatex TriLace. This wipe reportedly has a good dust and dirt absorption rate and dries very fast. It is also distinguished by good liquid absorption and storage capacity. “Particularly for household applications, this ‘Daily Wipe’ is a new generation of cleaning wipes,” said Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, member of the management board. “The apparently contradictory characteristics (dust and liquid absorption) of the daily wipe make it possible to use one wipe for all daily work.”
 
While the end use markets for spunlaced nonwovens, particularly wipes, continue to grow, excessive investment in the technology could result in overcapacity. Therefore, while many of its key European competitors have announced plans to enter the U.S., Sandler has no plans to set up a facility outside of Germany.
 
Despite its centralized production, Sandler’s export levels continue to grow with 60% of last year’s sales generated beyond Germany. Key markets include Europe, Japan and the Americas for Sandler, which has made no secret of the importance foreign markets have on its secure future.
 
Diversified geography is not the only key to Sandler’s success. The company also operates a technologically diverse business. Beyond the aforementioned thermal bonded and spunlaced business, Sandler also produces drylaid, resin bonded, mechanically bonded, parallel and crosslapped carded, needlepunched, laminated and meltblown nonwovens. These technologies target the apparel, upholstery, technical, civil engineering, hygiene, medical filtration and automotives businesses.
 
Recently making headlines has been Sandler’s nonwovens production for the automotives market. As the automotives industry demands less weight (to reduce energy costs) and more recyclable materials (as mandated by EU legislation), Sandler has predicted great opportunity for light-weight nonwoven fabrics. In fact, Sandler is so certain of the future importance of automotives that it has pledged to open up a production facility dedicated solely to this segment within the next five years. Until then, research and development efforts have focused on how highly efficient fiber ab­sorbers such as Sandler’s own sawasorb plus and sawasorb shadow can be used in door panels, dash board insulators or pillars.
 
Other key interests within automotives include adapting some types of nonwovens to the needs of different interior parts and calculating other nonwovens styles to meet different acoustical needs of vehicles.
 
Beyond automotives, another technical market gaining momentum is filtration where Sandler is currently able to produce filter nonwovens for all HVAC applications in filter classes EU3 to EU10.
 
Turning away from technical, hygiene, a market entered by Sandler 15 years ago, has emerged as one of its most important. Down the road, the company will continue to expand its activities in this market—but executives would not be specific about these plans. Meanwhile, a similar market, medical nonwovens, while smaller than hygiene, is also important.
 
“Diversification takes place in nearly each area we operate in,” Dr. Sandler explained. “We are very thoroughly observing and thinking about in which other markets nonwovens can be used in the future so that we can pick up trends and invest money for developments.”
Location: Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

Sales: $162 million

Description: Key Personnel
Dipl. Kfm. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dieter Magiera, members of the management Board

Plant
Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

ISO Status
ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001 certified

Processes
Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, resin bonded, thermal bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, thermofused, needlepunched, air through bonded, spunlaced, hot melt lamination and coating

Brand Names
sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawacomp, sawaflock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sandler-fibercomfort, sandler-fiberskin, Purina, sandler-unico, Thincontinent, sawadur, sawadry

Major Markets
Fashion, home furnishing, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, automotive, filtration, horticulture), hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, oil)


Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany-based Sandler AG was able to grow its sales in 2004 thanks to the start-up of a new spunlace line mainly targeting the wipes market as well as increased sales to dollar-based economies. The company’s sales increased from €117 million in 2003 to €131 million in 2004. The increase follows a slight drop brought on by the reconfiguration of an existing large-scale thermal bond line into a new spunlace line, which has been back on track since the last quarter of 2003.
 
The company’s first venture into this technology has since been contributing nicely to the company’s sales, according to Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, a member of the management board. While this segment has been challenged by overcapacity as several new lines have come onstream in Europe and North America in recent years, Dr. Sandler called the situation normal. “We have seen this in other new markets, and we have responded with improved technology, new products and new functionalities,” he said. “By offering our customers differentiation, we allow them to make new products in the wipes markets.”
 
One result of Sandler’s product differentiation efforts is its sawatex TriLace. This wipe reportedly has good dust and dirt absorption rates and dries very quickly and is ideal in a number of household cleaning applications.
 
Currently wipes in general are consuming the bulk of Sandler’s spunlaced output, and this market continues to up its rate of diversification as manufacturers demand new functionality and other distinguishing features in their substrates. Dr. Sandler said this trend was evident at the INDEX exposition in April where manufacturers were promoting new structural options and printing techniques for wipes. “Every product has been looking equal so now companies are working to make their products stand out,” he added.
 
Another important growth area for Sandler is technical nonwovens, where key markets include filtration and acoustical products for automotives. This spring, the company announced it would invest E10 million in a new production line to bolster its technical business. The new line, which will feature proprietary nonwovens technology, is expected to be complete sometime in 2006.
 
“For us, technical nonwovens is a future market in which we can bring growth through innovation,” Mr. Sandler said. “What is nice about this market is that not only does it offer growth, it contains a nice combination of new applications.
 
A more established business for Sandler, hygiene, continues to be plagued by stiff competition and tightening margins. Despite this, Sandler creates new products for feminine hygiene applications and adult incontinence and will invest in that kind of market as well in the future.
 
From a geographical standpoint, Sandler continues to rely more heavily on exports out of Germany, although its sole operation base is located in Schwarzenbach. Last year, nearly 60% of its sales were conducted outside of Germany.
 
Despite this growth in foreign economies, Sandler is not planning to decentralize its manufacturing assets. “You have to be sure that you can sell capacity before you add it,” Dr. Sandler said. “It can take years to determine how big the market is and how ready it will be for new applications.”
 
And, while globalization has been a coup for Sandler, executives realize it can be a double-edged sword. “It’s good for growth but there are two sides to the coin,” Dr. Sandler said. “There are great growth opportunities but at the same time you need to be innovative and fast because the Chinese are very good at copying what you are doing.”
 
Also, there is always the fear that rapid growth in an emerging region can come to a screeching halt, a situation that has already occurred in Latin America. Other risk factors recognized by Sandler include dependency on foreign currency and changing trade regulations.
 
Therefore, in the future Sandler will continue to rely on innovation excellence that in the past has earned it industry awards. “New technology will be very important for our company in the future. This is getting much harder to do as the lifecycle of products and technologies become smaller,” said Dr. Sandler, recognizing that innovation does not come without challenges. “Technology is important but it’s not easy. We have also had our flops, ideas that have failed. It’s normal. No one is successful all of the time.”
Location: Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

Sales: $145 million

Description: Key Personnel
Dipl. Kfm. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dieter Magiera, members of the management board

Plant
Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

ISO Status
ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001 certified, Ökotex Standard 100, OHRIS

Processes
Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, resin bonded, thermal bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, thermofused, needlepunched, air through bonded, spunlaced, hot melt lamination and coating

Brand Names
sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawacomp, sawaflock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sandler-fibercomfort, sandler-fiberskin, sandler-unico, sawadur, sawadry

Major Markets
Fashion, home furnishing, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, automotive, filtration, horticulture), hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, oil)


Sales decreased to €113 million (compared to €131 million in 2004) for Sandler, the Schwarzen­bach/Saale, Germany-based company, due largely to declining prices, brought on by steep competition in its coverstock nonwovens business. This competition, in fact, has encouraged Sandler, a leading producer of carded nonwovens, to develop more innovative, tailor-made products within all of its current markets.
 
“Despite extremely high government incentive to relocate (e.g. to Eastern Europe, which would significantly decrease expenses) we have made the decision to remain in Schwarzenbach, rather than expand outside of Germany,” explained C.H. Sandler, member of the management board, whose company operates solely out of Germany. “In the Czech Republic, for example, you get incentives of nearly 50% from the government that allow companies investing there to have considerable savings. It was a conscious decision to take this more difficult course in Upper Franconia in order to use the competencies and resources existing here for the development of new high-grade products. However, this is an important precondition for safeguarding qualified jobs and providing new ones. Recent positive business developments with special products are proving this decision to be right,” Dr. Sandler added.
 
Despite reports that the European spunlace market has been challenged by overcapacity and pricing pressures, Dr. Sandler described the segment as “interesting and innovative.” Consequently Sandler continuously offers new spunlaced products with a large variety of different blends and/or multiple layers. Following the market’s development toward individuality and visible diversification, Sandler is offering printing, hydro embossing, thermal embossing and structured spunlaced materials to target personal care and baby wipe applications. The material’s good dust and dirt absorption rates and fast drying make it ideal for a number of household cleaning markets as well.
 
While wipes in general are consuming the bulk of Sandler’s spunlaced market, a number of technical applications are also opening up, according to Dr. Sandler. In fact, technical nonwovens are an important growth area across Sandler’s nonwovens business. Sandler’s most recent effort in this area is a new carded-based needle-punching nonwovens line, which is currently ramping up and will target technical applications, namely filtration and automotive products. The €10 million investment is part of a larger €25 million investment centering on special technologies for the development of new products and markets for the future. Among these new technologies will be one centering on ultrafine nonwoven material which is an important building block in developing nanofiber technology, an area Sandler feels will be important to the nonwovens industry in the future. “Technical nonwovens is a very interesting business and it’s a very good business for the structure of our company because we are focused on innovation,” he said. “We can use our technical skills.”
 
Automotives and filtration are two technical areas where Sandler has flourished. Nonwovens made by the company are already used in more than 30 different car models and are increasingly being accepted in vacuum cleaner filter bags. Other key growth areas include furniture and mattresses as upholstery nonwovens.
 
Nowhere is Sandler’s focus on new product development more clear than in the fact that more than 50% of its turnover is made with products that are younger than five-years-old. Sandler is able to achieve this through a systematic development of new products and production methods based increasingly on cooperation with universities and textile research centers. Mr. Sandler said that this strategy is not only important to his company but to the nonwovens industry in general.
Location: Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

Sales: $140 million

Description: Key Personnel
Dipl. Kfm. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dieter Magiera, members of the management board

Plant
Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

ISO Status
ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001 certified, Ökotex Standard 100, OHRIS

Processes
Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, thermal bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, thermofused, needle­punched, air through bonded, spunlaced, hot melt lamination, flexo-printing and coating

Brand Names
sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawacomp, sawaflock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sandler-fibercomfort, sandler-fiberskin, sandler-unico, sawa­dur, sawadry

Major Markets
Fashion, home furnishing, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, automotive, filtration, horticulture), hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, oil)

At €112 million, sales were right on target for Sandler, Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany, a leading producer of carded, needlepunch and spunlace nonwovens. “We are satisfied with our results as we were very close to achieving the sales figure we expected,” commented Ulrich Hornfeck, sales director. He reported that the company has several new projects underway in a range of markets outside of the wipes arena.
 
After deciding last year against expanding its production base outside of Germany, Sandler attributes its current success to its flexibility and fast reaction time from its Schwarzenbach headquarters. This advantage continues to dissuade Sandler from opening a manufacturing plant elsewhere, although Dr. Hornfeck said the company is keeping its options open. “If the market drives us there, we will follow. We always pay close attention to what our customers are doing.” He added that, regardless of changes in the market, Sandler plans to remain a family-owned company.
 
In a move set to expand its role in the wipes market, Sandler will invest €20 million to add a second high performance spunlace nonwovens line. According to the company, the new line—its second for the wipes market—will be run under the same stringent hygienic conditions as its existing spunlace line, which was added in 2003.
 
Since entering the spunlace market, Sandler has made great strides to offer differentiated products for the wipes markets by using special fiber blends and finishing techniques such as embossing, structuring and printing. One example is sawatex TriLace, a wipe with good dust and dirt absorption rates that dries quickly and is ideal for a number of household cleaning applications.
 
Baby wipes remains a key market for Sandler despite challenges in the export market stemming from the state of the Euro. Another obvious challenge here is the cost of raw materials, which continue to climb, impacting suppliers, competitors and end users, according to executives.
 
The additional line will keep Sandler focused on the spunlace market in Europe where the company reports slight growth. “The market is not growing rapidly, but we are seeing demand for a variety of interesting applications involving a lot of differentiation,” he observed. To date, Sandler has predominantly supplied standard spunlace and is looking forward to exploring its options for innovative new product variations.
 
Dr. Hornfeck described the company’s new carded needlepunch line as highly innovative as well. Targeting filtration and automotive products, the €10 million investment is part of a larger €25 million investment centering on special technologies for the development of new products and markets for the future. “We have large lines that offer the productivity required in the market,” he said.
 
Both of Sandler’s recent investments are intended to produce reasonably priced high quality products to meet customer-specific needs. “These investments position us well across a variety of markets,” Dr. Hornfeck remarked.
 
In the area of upholstery, Sandler is continuing to witness a shift to Eastern Europe, a trend that is expected to stabilize. “There will always be plenty of customers in Central Europe. Those seeking high quality will stay put,” he predicted.
 
Meanwhile, Sandler is seeing strong growth in technical areas such as  filtration and automotive applications. Needle­punched fabrics for automotive sound absorption are performing well as are filtration products. “Other new technical applications are currently in development.  They will synergize well with our existing portfolio,” he said.
 
In closing, Dr. Hornfeck referred to the company’s past years’ impressive achievement of generating half of its turnover from the sale of products fewer than five years old. “This is a major push for us and we are very satisfied with our ability to continue to meet this target in the future. We attribute this to the important partnerships we have with customers and suppliers.”
Location: SCHWARZENBACH/SAALE, GERMANY

Sales: $171 million

Description: Key Personnel
Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, chief executive officer; Dipl. Kfm. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dieter Magiera, members of the management board

Plant
Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

ISO Status
ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001 certified, Ökotex Standard 100, OHRIS

Processes
Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, thermal bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, thermofused, needle­punched, air through bonded, spunlaced, hot melt lamination, coating and flexoprinting

Brand Names
sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawacomp, sawaflock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sandler-fibercomfort, sandler-fiberskin, sandler-unico, sawadur, sawadry, sawabond whitelace, sawabond silverlace, sawatex mariquita, sawatex orsettino

Major Markets
Fashion, home furnishing, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, automotive, filtration, horticulture), hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, oil)

Thanks to strong sales in hygiene, automotive and filtration segments, Sandler AG closed 2007 with a turnover of €125 million. The company’s sales increase of 12% was in the expected range and, according to Sandler’s management board, its positive results should continue throughout 2008. The company continues to maintain its position in the worldwide market as an innovative player—last year Sandler achieved a global exportation rate of higher than 60% with more than half of its products being introduced within the last five years.
 
While growth was accomplished across all of its markets, Sandler characterized the wipes segment as “exceptional.” Heightened demand for wipes led to a further increase in production as the company continued to promote its “Less is Best to Nature” philosophy. “Our approach addresses both the need to compete in the marketplace on price and performance levels as well as the need to take care of the environment,” explained Ulrich Hornfeck, sales director.
 
From Sandler’s point of view, basis weight reductions in substrates at similar or even equal functionality as well as aesthetic demands are the highlights for new developments in wiping substrates. As a result, the company has unveiled its latest sawatex generation with a 10% reduction in basis weights, achieving a lower utilization of raw materials as well as a lower waste volume. “Our products offer improved tensile and calliper—supporting the trend toward lower basis weights—but performance is not impacted.” Dr. Honfeck added that wet wipes substrates are a good opportunity to provide end users with a highly convenient and trusted product.
 
In many cases, this means differentiation, which, according to Sandler, is another important trend in the wipes market. The company has seen an increased push for methods of differentiation such as hydro-embossing, thermal embossing and printing. Additionally Sandler is adding cotton-based, flushable and biodegradable products to  its wipes portfolio.
 
“A lot of new ideas and developments are out there and spunlace technology will certainly make its way into new applications and markets,” predicted Dr. Hornfeck. He pointed to the hygiene and medical sectors as key areas of potential for new wiping applications as well as elastic composites and high elongation super-soft nonwovens. The products—offering a high level of differentiation by using color or new special features for better fluid handling—bring new solutions to the commodity hygiene sector as well as for new products in other markets.
 
For hygiene applications, the company offers Sandler White Lace and Sandler Silver Lace topsheet materials, which are premium-class sawabond thermal bonded carded nonwovens characterized by good opacity and softness. Offering a decorative and luxurious fine-lace lingerie design, these feature excellent fluid handling as well as favorable masking properties. Sandler White Lace and Silver Lace target high-quality feminine care and adult incontinence products. Also for hygiene applications, Sandler has introduced polyurethane-free breathable elastic sawasoft nonwovens. The latest generations of CD-extensible sawabond nonwovens also offer superb softness.
 
Sandler has also been busy developing and selling innovative new products in the area of engineering. For instance, in the filtration sector Sandler has teamed with its market partners to launch a range of synthetic products for specialty filtration applications, such as HVAC and automotive filtration. “The demands on filtration media are especially boosted by the current discussions about fine particulates,” he said. “The finest fibers allow for the highest air quality. Thus, Sandler filtration media are applied to vacuum cleaner bags that are used to remove fine particulates from interiors.”
 
Sandler also sells a range of nonwovens that can be used for a variety of technical purposes—from sound and heat insulation, impact sound insulation, light construction to synthetic wall coverings. Special properties of the nonwovens such as high air circulation, lint-free surface, repellency of oil and water or absorption of moisture or dust and dirt allow Sandler to offer the perfect solution for numerous, individual and sophisticated technical problems.
 
In terms of investments, in 2007 Sandler wrapped up its two-year, €33 million investment program. This included a new carded needlepunch line as well as a second spunlaced line, which came onstream on time in December. “We are very pleased,” said Dr. Hornfeck. “Thanks to these financial investments, capacities could be enlarged and in-house logistics were optimized.”
 
Another factor impacting Sandler’s success has been ongoing research and development work as well as the launch of new markets and applications for innovative nonwovens. “We attribute our success to highly qualified and motivated employees, longstanding quality management practices as well as effective training and ongoing education.” He added that the company has a keen awareness of its social and environmental responsibilities and implemented an environmental management system several years ago. Sandler regularly offers ecology-focused training courses for its employees, utilizes energy saving systems, heat recovery systems, the use of waste heat for hot water generation and waste reduction measurements.
Location: SCHWARTZENBACH/SAALE, GERMANY


Sales: $232 Million


Description: Key Personnel
Christian Heinrich Sandler, chief executive officer; Dipl. Kfm. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dieter Magiera, members of the management board

Plant
Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

ISO Status
ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001 certified, Ökotex Standard 100, OHRIS

Processes
Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, thermally bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, thermofused, needlepunched, air through bonded, spunlaced, hotmelt lamination, coating and flexoprinting, embossing

Brand Names
sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawaflock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sandler-fibercomfort, sandler-fiberskin, sandler-unico, sawadur, sawadry, Sandler White Lace, Sandler Silver Lace, sawatex mariquita, sawatex orsettino

Major Markets
Fashion, home furnishing, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, automotive, filtration, horticulture), hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, oil)

With an impressive 33% year-over-year growth rate in 2008, Sandleris “very satisfied” with last year’s results, especially its annualturnover of €166 million. The company attributes its organicgrowth to improved capacity utilization, the introduction of newtechnologies and products and the expansion of production capacitiesthrough the commissioning of a new spunlace line.

Aside from the hygiene market, the traditional markets for furnitureand clothing, as well as nonwovens for technical applications,also contributed to Sandler’s sales growth. Revenue in theautomotive and filtration segments developed well, with Sandlernonwovens currently being found in more than 40 car models.Sales declines for certain products due to economic woes in theautomotive industry could be largely balanced in 2008 owing tothe utilization of new, innovative nonwovens in this sector.

“At the moment, we’re focusing on specific new developmentsin this business area, which will certainly result in a positive trendin the long term,” reported Ulrich Hornfeck, sales director.

Despite such achievements, the backdrop for Sandler’s successhas been a stagnant, highly competitive European spunlace arenaand a difficult, unstable situation in the raw materials market. Thepresence of non-European producers in the European market isonly making matters worse. “Prices and availability of raw materialsare subject to sometimes considerable variations, which renderthe competitive situation even more difficult,” said Dr. Hornfeck.

When it comes to exports, these sales continue to representmore than half of Sandler’s total turnover, with the EuropeanUnion in particular being a strong area for exports. “However, outsideof the EU, export business is difficult due to exchange ratefluctuations,” he added.

In 2007 Sandler’s strategy was to keep investments simple andconcentrate on finalizing an investment program that includedthe commissioning of a second €20 million spunlace line. Meanwhile,this year Sandler expanded its composite technologies forthe manufacture of multi-layer fabrics on its existing productionlines. Overall, Sandler has invested a total of €90 million in thelast decade and the number of employees has increased by 20%.

Sandler’s new carded needlepunch and spunlaced lines are faringwell and production capacities are being well utilized. Theneedlepunching line enables Sandler to be flexible in manufacturingnonwovens for a variety of technical applications as well as the automotiveand construction industries. “This versatile production lineopens up a multitude of new application areas,” Dr. Hornfeck said.

In the wipes segment, Sandler is continuing to promote its “Lessis Best to Nature” products, which offer unchanged functionalitiesat lower basis weights. This product range was enhanced with improvedtensile strength as well as innovative designs and structuresfor new cleaning and technical applications.

As for the filtration industry, here Sandler is addressing demandsfor discharge efficiency and composite-based pleatable filterswith innovative filter materials such as its new pleatable depthfilter medium sawaloom plus, which offers high dust storage capacity,high filtration surface and high uniformity.

In construction and other technical applications, Sandler offersvarious insulation nonwovens, which offer textile alternatives for renovation projects as well as applications in roof construction and wallinsulation. For instance, sawatec heat insulation nonwovens are designedto ensure optimal air circulation and prevent moisture buildupand mold growth. “Additionally, sawatec contributes to thepreservation of occupants’ health and its excellent insulation propertiescreate a comfortable indoor climate,” said Dr. Hornfeck. Exteriorwallpapers made of Sandler nonwovens render façade renovationspermanent with their breathability and resistance to weather. Textileinterior wallpapers with their heat and sound insulation propertiesare another field of application for Sandler nonwovens.

With regard to nonwovens for automotive applications, Sandlerhas been concentrating on creating nonwovens with resistance toand absorption of fluids in the engine compartment and exterior applications.Here Sandler offers materials featuring excellent functionalitiesin both interior and exterior applications. Featuring quickdrying, temperature stability and excellent sound insulation properties,sawasorb exterior offers a textile solution for applications in theengine compartment and can act as a barrier to a variety of fluids.

In developing new products, Sandler pays close attention toenvironmental issues such as recyclability and the utilization ofearth-friendly raw materials and additives. The company’s systematicenergy management program optimizes the consumptionof gas and electricity, and Sandler is redirecting the transport ofraw materials from roads to railways. “Another key aspect of ourcorporate activities is our commitment to our hometown,” emphasizedChristian Heinrich Sandler, CEO. “For more than 10years, we’ve been supporting the Ecology Park Hertelsleite inSchwarzenbach/Saale and we also maintain our own biotope.”

Sandler’s strategy is first and foremost based on the goal of stability.The company is banking on moderate, organic growth that willbe maintained in the long term. “Our company doesn’t just consist ofbuildings, machines and sales figures,” said Dr. Sandler. “We count onour 485 skilled and motivated employees. Each person’s performance,commitment and dedication decisively contribute to our success.”Sandler sees itself as a capable and productive partner when it comesto service as well as quality and development activities. Going forward,Sandler plans to continue to focus on the integration and combinationof a variety of nonwovens technologies.
Location: Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

Sales: $218 million

Description: s
Location: Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

Sales: $218 million

Description: Key Personnel
Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, CEO, Dieter Magiera, Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Wolfgang Höflich, members of the management board

Plant
Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

Processes
Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, thermally bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, thermofused, needlepunched, air through bonded, spunlaced, hotmelt and thermal lamination, flexoprinting, embossing, aperturing

Brand Names
sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawacomp, sawaflock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sandler-fibercomfort, sandler-fiberskin, sandler-unico, sawadur, sawadry, sawatec, sawabond White Lace, sawabond Silver Lace, sawatex mariquita, sawatex orsettino

Major Markets
Home textiles, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, automotive, filtration, horticulture), hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, oil)

Describing 2009 as a record year was German nonwovens producer Sandler who attributes a solid cash flow as well as the agility to react quickly to market shifts for its success. “We are divided into a lot of different markets so if we are really struggling in some places, it is likely that we will recoup it in other markets,” said vice president of sales, logistics and purchasing Ulrich Hornfeck. Some of the year’s bright spots, he said, were disinfectant wipes and facemasks where concerns over Swine flu and other infectious diseases drove growth; meanwhile, automotives led the list of difficult markets but already this market is recovering.
In total, sales reached a record €168 million in 2009, up from €166 million the year before, on a production increase of 13%, after increasing 33% in 2008. These sales are expected to continue their upward trajectory as the company is still investing in growth, namely a recently announced spunlace line, targeting a range of markets with a diverse set of technologies and participation in varied markets ranging from hygiene to wipes to automotives to filtration.
One market that has continued to be strong for Sandler is the wipes market. The company makes not only baby and other personal care wipes substrates but also products for industrial cleaning, medical, adult care and household cleaning.  In May, the company again reaffirmed its commitment to this area when it announced it would add a third spunlace line at its Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany plant producing wipes and other technical applications. The new line will be part of a €40 million plant addition announced in spring 2009.
Sandler first entered the spunlace market in 2003 and added a second line in 2007. Both lines are run under stringent hygienic conditions, Dr. Hornfeck added, and Sandler has been able to be successful by offering innovative designs and structures to allow its customers to offer a diverse product range. Additionally, the company’s “Less is Best to Nature” products offer unchanged functionalities at lower basis weights. This product range was enhanced with improved tensile strength as well as innovative designs and structures for new cleaning and technical applications.
While wipes have received the most press recently, Sandler continues to offer a diversified nonwovens line with technologies including thermal bonded, meltblown and needlepunch nonwovens. One market that continues to be strong for Sandler is automotives. This business has grown nicely for Sandler since it invested in a new line for the market in 2008 and currently, more than 40 automotive models worldwide are equipped with special nonwovens manufactured by the company. These include lightweight absorber nonwovens made of 100% polyester, which are included in sound and heat insulation systems in the engine compartment and textile wheel house liners which are particularly resistant to the fluids found in that area of the car. Other products include nonwovens made of water and oil repellent specialty fibers to prevent the accumulation of dirt and snow below the fender. The material dries quickly and features excellent temperature stability. While Sandler did face some decreased orders within automotives due largely to troubles in the market in general, they have begun to see new projects that are compensating and helping to drive up sales in general in the category. 
Another industrial area where Sandler has profited from its diversity is filtration. While the economic situation did lead to slightly decreased sales in some industrial filtration areas, Sandler was able to offset the effects of this development with nonwovens for vacuum cleaner bags and face masks. Additionally, the company has benefitted from paper and glass fiber filter media’s replacement by synthetic filters. Particularly pleatable filter nonwovens with a large surface, which allow for the conditioning of air and liquid filters for climate and automotive filtration in small installation spaces, represent innovations with a promising future. In cabin and engine air filters as well as fuel filters, for example, Sandler nonwovens are already used.
Meanwhile, in construction Sandler nonwovens are helping builders save on energy costs with applications in the exterior and interior part of buildings that insulate heat or cover cracks in walls.  In interior walls, these products reduce noise levels, creating a more comfortable atmosphere.  At the same time, building owners may profit from the convenient handling and processing of the polyester as well as its positive properties.
Other areas where Sandler participates include upholstered furniture, bedding and fashion within its home textiles segment, all of which were described as very satisfactory.
In fact, executives are pleased with Sandler’s course, in general.
“All of our investments have been absolutely the right thing to do at the right time,” said Dr. Hornfeck.  “We are on a solid growth course.”
As one of the largest family-owned nonwovens producers in Europe, Sandler prides itself on having trustful partnerships with both its suppliers and its customers that combines the synergies of different markets, a strategy that executives feel has worked well so far and will continue to do so moving forward. “Our strategy is absolutely clear—it is growth with our partners in targeted markets,” Dr. Hornfeck concluded.

Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany
www.sandler.de
2011 Nonwovens Sales: $311 million

Key Personnel: Christian Heinrich Sandler, CEO; Dipl. Ingenieur (FH) Wolfgang Höflich and Ulrich Hornfeck, members of the management board

Plants: Schwarenbach/Saale, Germany

Processes: Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, thermally bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, thermofused, needlepunched, air-through bonded, spunlaced, hotmelt and thermal lamination, coating and flexoprinting, embossing and aperturing, composites

Brands: Sawafill, Sawabond, Sawaloom, Sawavlies, Sawaloft, Sawaflor, Sawatex, Sawascreen, Sawagrow, Sandler Sports, Sawacomp, Sawaflock, Sawaform, Sawalux, Sawaflex, Sawasoft, Sawasorb, Sawatec, Sandler Fibercomfort, Sandler Fiberskin, Sandler Unico, Sawadur, Sawadry, Sandler White Lace, Sandler Silver Lace, Sawatex Mariquita, Sawatex Oresettino, Sawatex Sea Dwellers, Bio Textile by Sandler

Major Markets: Nonwovens for hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, oil), automotive, filtration, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, technical insulation, environmental nonwovens) and home textiles

Reporting a whopping 18% sales gain in 2011 was German nonwovens producer Sandler, which credits the past couple of year’s growth to its presence in a diverse number of markets. Other factors contributing to this success include increasing export levels and a focus on new product development.

In investment news, Sandler continues to benefit from the addition of its third spunlace line at its Schwarzenbach/Saale headquarters, its sole manufacturing site, which allows the company to penetrate markets for spunlace beyond wipes applications. The new line, which came on-stream in mid-2011, was part of a €40 million investment that also included a building to house the new line. In addition to adding capacity, the new line has allowed Sandler to diversify its spunlace output.

Currently, the majority of Sandler’s spunlace output is going into wipes, a market being described as stable, but new business opportunities are coming from areas like hygiene and technical applications. “Specifically, we use our spunlace products in various applications and we are getting more and more successful,” says Ulrich Hornfeck, member of the management board. “Our special spunlace technology is great in industrial and household cleaning processes and also technical uses. Some of these applications are new to nonwovens and some substitute for other types of nonwovens.”

“Wipes continues to be an important market for us but it is certainly not the only one,” Hornfeck notes. “We are also working in hygiene and technical applications, which have helped us increase sales opportunities.” Beyond spunlace, Sandler offers a broad spectrum of technologies, including carded, drylaid, thermal bonded, meltblown and needlepunch with which it targets a broad range of disposable and technical markets. “We try to find the right balance between hygiene and technical. It is surely not easy but we work hard to be experts in nonwovens, not only on the technology, but on the product side. Our reputation for know-how and high-quality products allows us to develop cross-functionally, utilizing diverse technologies for a wide range of different products and seeing more synergies between the many markets we serve.”

Sandler has the largest fiber-based nonwoven production location in Europe and was again able to generate growth in all of its market segments. Countries such as China and India in particular show high growth rates for nonwovens in technical applications, especially filtration and automotive. Sandler is currently expanding its business in these markets.

One area where Sandler has seen recent success has been in the vacuum cleaner bag segment, where nonwoven filter media can offer advantages, including higher suction power and better tear and moisture resistance than traditional paper bags. All of Sandler’s materials, which combine several types of nonwovens, are certified according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100. These synthetic materials are therefore entirely safe, even for the youngest family members. Sandler media also cover the HEPA filter grades H10 and H11—offering even more protection, allowing people with allergies to breathe easy.

Sandler’s latest development in the field of synthetic vacuum cleaner bags uses PLA, a polymer based on lactic acid that is made of renewable resources, such as corn. This material features a similar performance to other high-quality synthetics and its quick drying also makes it ideally suited for application in the vacuum cleaner bag market. At the end of the product lifecycle, the advantages of a natural raw material become most apparent: PLA-based media are compostable and can be recycled using established processes.

The use of PLA is just one example of the many ways that Sandler is focusing on sustainability in both its products and its processes. In the wipes segment, Sandler’s bio textile uses certified viscose fibers and throughout its whole business, the company employs a “Less is Best to Nature” philosophy. Started in 2008, this initiative has led to lower basis weights and an increased use of recycled fibers. Hornfeck says efforts here will continue to change Sandler’s business.

“Whether it’s in the process, the product or the raw material, we try to bring those green ideas to the market in a reasonable way,” he says. “Sustainability is not only focused on green but also on the long-term partnership and the perspective of the end users and the resources we use.”

Another important growth market for Sandler is in the automotive sector. The company offers several products for the engine compartment, providing sound absorbency, water repellency, oil repellence and heat stability, which Hornfeck describes as “interesting new fields of development of nonwovens.”

“Highest level in quality, service, reliability and flexibility are Sandler’s main targets, which we systematically follow in the long run,” says Hornfeck. “We will continue investing in our production facilities to keep expanding our business and tapping into new markets and new applications.”
Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany
www.sandler.de
2012 Nonwovens Sales: $326 million
 
Key Personnel: Christian Heinrich Sandler, CEO; Dipl. Ingenieur (FH) Wolfgang Höflich and Ulrich Hornfeck, members of the management board
 
Plants: Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany
 
Processes: Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, thermally bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, thermofused, needlepunched, air-through bonded, spunlaced, hotmelt and thermal lamination, coating and flexoprinting, embossing and aperturing, composites
 
Brands: sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawacomp, sawafl ock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sawatec, sandler fibercomfort, sandler fiberskin, sandler Unico, sawadur, sawadry, sawabond White Lace, sawabond Silver Lace, sawatex mariquita, sawatex orsettino, sawatex sea dwellers, bio textile by sandler, sawatex wipinator
 
Major Markets: Nonwovens for hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, cleaning), automotive, filtration, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, technical insulation, environmental nonwovens) and home textiles
 
Continuing a growth trajectory begun six years ago, Sandler Nonwovens reported growth across all of its market segments in 2012 from hygiene and wipes applications to technical applications in the automobile, filtration, construction and technical insulation to nonwovens for home office and automotive acoustics. All told, sales reached €247 million ($326 million).
 
A good deal of this growth can be attributed to growth in the spunlace, and by extension, wipes market. Sandler’s third spunlace line came onstream in mid-2011 as part of a €40 million investment that also included building a new plant to house the line. In addition to adding capacity, the new line has allowed Sandler to diversify its spunlace output.
 
Currently, the majority of Sandler’s spunlace output is going into wipes, a market being described as stable, but new business opportunities are coming from areas like hygiene and technical applications.
 
Ulrich Hornfeck, member of the management board, says that wipes continue to be an important market for spunlace but new product development, both within and outside of the wipes market, is a strong focus for Sandler. “The new line allowed us to add a lot of new technologies and to really make our production process more flexible with more processes and more raw materials and more finishing techniques,” he says.
 
As it diversifies its business to grow outside of wipes, Sandler continues to prove is expertise in wipes. In April 2013, the company was honored at the International IDEA 2013 show for its bio textile by Sandler. Developed in partnership with its raw material providers, bio textile by Sandler is a nonwoven substrate for baby care, cosmetics and cleaning wipes. Proving Sandler’s commitment to sustainability, the nonwoven is made from 100% viscose fibers and is completely biodegradable.
 
This substrate was launched through Sandler’s Less is Best to Nature motto, first introduced in 2008. This initiative focuses on lower basis weights in wipes applications while maintaining the same level of quality. The bio wipes substrate is equipped with a unique hydro-embossing design with elements illustrating the manufacturer’s commitment to sustainability. Naturally, Sandler also offers established qualities for numerous applications including industry, household and all-purpose wipes for the varying demands of the wipes market. Various printing and embossing designs for wipes substrates and hygiene materials open up a range of possibilities for product differentiation.
 
Beyond spunlace, Sandler offers a broad spectrum of technologies, including carded, drylaid, thermal bonded, meltblown and needlepunch with which it targets a broad range of disposable and technical markets.
 
“We try to find the right balance between hygiene and technical,” Hornfeck says.
 
This will in part be achieved through the addition of a new meltblown production line in Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany. After an assembly time of only four months, Sandler launched the start-up phase of a new production line in November. The new investment was reported at €6.5 million.
 
Currently, the line known as “VS 61“ is already producing materials for commercial sales and enhances the nonwovens manufacturer’s capacities for the production of meltblown media, which Sandler sells in highly efficient synthetic filter media applications. The new production line can process diverse thermoplastic raw materials and is equipped with different nozzle systems allowing it to create new and unique nonwoven structures for pleatable filter media for air conditioning systems and other applications. The latest Sandler materials set standards, particularly regarding processability and performance, according to the company. These nonwovens combine higher efficiency, accurate pleat geometry and pleatability that previously could not be achieved in synthetic pleatable filter media.