Nonwovens Industry
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Union Industries


Location: Masserano, Italy

Sales: $81 million

Description: Key personnel
Matteo Moltrasio, vice president; Luigi Cassano, managing director; Alessandro Taramasso, commercial director

Plant
Masserano, Biella, Italy

ISO Status
ISO 9001:2000 since 1997 renewed in 2006

Process
Spunbonded, spunbonded-meltblown, carded thermal bonded

Trade name:
Spundouce

Market
Hygiene, wipes, medical, agriculture, industrial


sales were on the rise for Italian roll goods producer Union Industries. And, with a new line—the company’s fifth—set to come onstream within the fourth quarter of this year, this trend is only set to continue. In 2005, sales clocked in at €65 million due largely to the full utilization of a new Reicofil 4 SSS line, which began production in the fourth quarter of 2004, according to vice president Matteo Moltrasio.
 
The new line, which like the rest of Union Industries’ business mainly targets hygiene applications, joined four other production lines, a carded line built in 2000 and three other Reifenhauser lines, an SMS line installed in 1994 and upgraded in 2005 and two SSS lines, which Union Industries added in 2001 and 2004.
 
“We are quite specialized in lightweight materials so our core business is hygienic,” Mr. Moltrasio said. “This does not mean we won’t sell to other markets. Even today, we are involved in other markets, not quite as important as hygiene—agriculture market, medical, industrial applications and a little bit of filtration as well.”
 
Currently, about 90% of Union Industries 45,000-ton capacity is exported beyond Italy with main markets lying within Europe but other areas of interest including the Middle East and the Far East.
 
Because the bulk of its output is based on polypropylene and focused on the hygiene market, Union Industries, like many nonwovens producers in its position, has been challenged by pricing pressures and eroding markets.
 
“For sure, raw material prices have made earnings much more difficult than in the past,” said Mr. Moltrasio. “Also a lot of new capacity is coming on the market. The raw material prices are getting higher and higher and obviously our margins are very much reduced if we compare the margins we have today to the past.”
 
Also of interest to Union Industries is the wipes market, which it targets with material made on its carded thermal bonded line, established in 2000. This line can make materials with blends of polypropylene and other fibers such as cotton and viscose, making them ideal for wipes.
 
Union Industries has achieved success by concentrating on understanding the market needs and trying to serve them with the latest technologies available. “We try to innovate with some new technology and we are always focusing to keep a very high standard in terms of quality and in terms of service. Most importantly, we are able to grant the same high standard constantly.

Location: Masserano, Italy

Sales: $90 million

Description: Key Personnel
Matteo Moltrasio, vice president; Luigi Cassano, managing director; Alessandro Taramasso, commercial director

Plant
Masserano, Biella, Italy

ISO Status
ISO 9001:2000 since 1997; renewed in 2006

Processes
Spunbond, spunbond-meltblown, carded thermal bond

Brand Name
Spundouce

Major Markets
Hygiene, wipes, medical, agriculture, industrial


Sales in 2006 increased from €65 million to €72 million for Union Industries. The company attributes the increase to larger manufacturing volumes, partially adjusted prices and increased raw material costs. Thanks to increased production volumes, Union was able to rationalize and control certain costs.  Despite this, however, no profit growth was reported in 2006.
 
The latest line installed, a Reicofil 4 SSS system that came onstream at the end of 2006, brings the company’s total capacity to 60,000 tons per year, which mainly targets the global hygiene market. According to the company, the start-up of the line met expectations and production volume grew remarkably in the first months of 2007. This new line widens Union’s existing production capacity of spunbond (Reicofil.3 and Reicofil.4), spunbond-meltblown and carded thermal bond nonwovens.
 
“Union’s specialty is lightweight nonwovens, which are valued by the hygiene market,” explained vice president Matteo Moltrasio. “We are always concentrating on market needs and serving customers with the latest technologies, consistently granting very high standards in terms of quality and service. These are considered the key factors for a demanding market such as hygiene.”
 
Mr. Moltrasio  went on to say that the future is linked to development. “Therefore we are focusing on a constant commitment to improve our products and search for new ones, including specialties,” he said. “We are always watching and are attentive to signs from different world markets, including those outside of Europe.”
 
Currently, about 90% of Union Industries’ 60,000-ton capacity is exported outside of Italy with main markets lying within Europe. Other areas of interest include the Middle East and the Far East."
Location: MASSERANO, ITALY

Sales: $90 million

Description: Key Personnel
Matteo Moltrasio, vice president; Luigi Cassano, managing director; Alessandro Taramasso, commercial director

Plant
Masserano, Biella, Italy

ISO Status
ISO 9001:2000 since 1997; renewed in 2006

Processes
Spunbond, spunbond-meltblown, carded thermal bond

Brand Name
Spundouce

Major Markets
Hygiene, wipes, medical, agriculture, industrial

Italy’s Union Industries produces 60,000 tons of spunbond, spunmelt and carded thermal bonded nonwovens at its facility in Masserano. Its latest line, a Reicofil 4 SSS system came onstream at the end of 2006 and mainly targets the hygiene market. The new line widens Union’s existing production capacity of spunbond (Reicofil 4 and Reicofil 4) spunbond-meltblown and carded thermal bonded nonwovens.
 
According to company executives, Union’s specialty is lightweight nonwovens, which are valued by the hygiene markets. Other markets for the company include hygiene, wipes, medical, agriculture and industrial.
 
Approximately 90% of the company’s output is exported outside of Italy with main markets lying within Europe. Other interest areas include the Middle East and Far East.
Location: MASSERANO, ITALY


Sales: $143 Million


Description: Key Personnel
Matteo Moltrasio, vice president; Luigi Cassano, managing director; Alessandro Taramasso, commercial director

Plant
Masserano, Biella, Italy

ISO Status since 1997
ISO 9001:2008; renewed in 2009

Processes
Spunbond, spunbond-meltblown, carded thermal bond

Brand Name
Spundouce

Major Markets
Hygiene, wipes, medical, agriculture, industrial

Sales increased from $133 million to $143 million for Italian nonwovens producer Union Industries as the company’s production lines were better utilized.

The Masserano-based company is investing in a 5.2 meter Reicofil spunmelt line which will add 24,000 tons per year and bring its total throughput to 84,000 tons per year. The new line, featuring SSMMMS technology, is expected to start up during the third quarter of next year.

According to executives at the Masserano, Italy nonwovens producer, the decision to build a new line was driven by Union’s goal of supplying the hygiene and medical nonwovens market with high quality, ultra-lightweight nonwovens. While executives admit there is some overcapacity in the European hygiene market, they said they feel that investing in new technology will give Union Industries the necessary advantage to succeed.

“We believe that with this new asset we could offer the market an advanced generation of spunmelt material,” said vice president Matteo Moltrasio. “The goal is to obtain and give better performances and at the same time to give a savings to the market. Moreover, we assume we could explore other fields of application.

Currently 90% of Union Industries’ nonwovens output is exported outside of Italy, chiefly to Europe and the Middle East.

Union Industries’ most recent investment was a Reicofil 4 SSS system, a 4.2 meter that came onstream at the end of 2006, bringing the company’s total capacity to 60,000 tons per year. All of the company’s current spunbonded manufacturing assets are based on Reicofil technology.
Location: Masserano, Italy

Sales: $120 million

Description: Key Personnel
Matteo Moltrasio, vice president; Luigi Cassano, managing director; Alessandro Taramasso, commercial director

Plant
Masserano, Biella, Italy

Processes
Spunbond, spunmelt, carded thermal bonded

Brand names
Spundounce

Major Markets
Hygiene, wipes, medical, agriculture, industrial

Sales dropped slightly for Masserano, Italy-based Union Industries due to lower raw material prices, tougher market conditions and a weaker currency exchange rate but the company reported that its production lines operated continuously at high yields throughout the year. This trend has continued into 2010 and the company has been able to increase its prices as raw materials costs have begun to rise again.
Sales are expected to receive a further boost this year when the company finishes work on a new facility, dedicated to a brand new, state-of-the-art Reicofil spunmelt line which will add 24,000 tons per year to the operation, bringing its total output to 84,000 tons per year. The SSMMMS line is expected to begin production during the third quarter of 2010.
“We expect to allocate the additional volume generated within our core business, hygiene chiefly, yet we think we may have as well the opportunity to explore other fields of application,” said vice president Matteo Moltrasio.
Currently, all of Union Industries’ 60,000 tons of nonwovens are made using Reicofil technology which are largely targeted at the hygiene market however medical, wipes, industrial and agriculture are other interests.
According to executives, the decision to build the new line was driven by Union’s goal of supplying the hygiene and medical nonwovens markets with high quality, ultra-lightweight nonwovens. Union Industries’ latest investment—a 4.2-meter line—came onstream in late 2006
Masserano, Italy
2011 Nonwovens Sales: $184 million
 
Key Personnel: Matteo Moltrasio, vice president; Luigi Cassano, managing director; Alessandro Taramasso, commercial director
 
Plants: Masserano and Biella, Italy
 
Processes: Spunbond, spunmelt, carded, thermal bonded, apertured
 
Brands: Spundouce
 
Major Markets: Hygiene, wipes, medical, agricultural, industrial
 
Sales increased 25% to €132 million ($184 million) for Masserano, Italy-based Union Industries due mainly to the continued allocation of a new production line, which came on-stream as planned in the third quarter of 2010 and started making nonwovens mainly for hygiene applications during the fourth quarter, as well as increased raw material prices.
 
The new line, a state-of-the-art Reicofil spunmelt line, added 24,000 tons per year to Union’s operation, bringing its total output to 84,000 tons per year.
 
With the European nonwovens market seeing an overcapacity situation in many commoditized areas, Union has been focusing on adding specialty applications to its traditional products. “Union is focusing on specialties, aiming to bring innovative products to the market,” says Matteo Moltrasio, vice president, adding the company will evaluate a development plan in the early months of 2013, considering global nonwovens consumption.
 
In addition to growth, Union Industries has focused on improving the environmental footprint of its operation. In fact, one major goal achieved by the company from January 2011 is sourcing 100% of the energy consumed from renewable sources, Moltrasio adds.
Masserano, Italy
2012 Nonwovens Sales: $189 million
 
Key Personnel: Matteo Moltrasio, vice president; Luigi Cassano, managing director;
Alessandro Taramasso, commercial director
 
Plants: Masserano and Biella, Italy
 
Processes: Spunbond, spunmelt, carded, thermal bonded, apertured
Brands: Spundouce
 
Major Markets: Hygiene, medical, wipes, agricultural, industrial
 
Volumes rose 7% at Italy’s Union Industries in 2012 due to a better optimization and a full allocation of its production lines. The company has a production capacity of 84,000 tons of nonwovens in Masserano, Italy. Sales were reported at €142 million ($189 million).
 
With no new investment since 2010 when a 24,000-ton spunmelt line was added, Union has more recently been focusing on specialties and innovation in the face of a European market defi ned by overcapacity and reduced consumption, according to president Matteo Moltrasio. These efforts have been rewarded with the development of a new substrate featuring increased softness and texture for the hygiene market, where Union does about 80% of its business. The commercialization of the new material is starting now.
 
Other efforts have centered on new grades of apertured nonwovens for new applications, which became available in the second quarter of this year and the company is reporting more activity within the medical market.
 
“We have as well undertaken initiatives for the medical sector which we see more and more of interest,” Moltrasio says.