2013 Nonwovens Sales: $670 million
Mike Lawrence, senior vice president and general manager, engineered products Americas (EP Americas); Enno Henze, senior vice president and general manager, engineered products Europe/ Asia (EPEA); Patti Rizzo, director of sales and marketing, EP Americas; Stefan Mohr, commercial leader nonwovens, EPEA; Martin Kleinebrecht, marketing leader nonwovens, EPEA
Waterville, OH; Richland, MS; Spartanburg, SC; Etowah, TN; Bobingen, Berlin, Wertheim, Karlstein, Steinach, Germany; Shanghai, Louyang, China; Trnava, Slovakia
Dura-Glass, DuraBase, Delta-Aire, DynaWick, DynaWeb, DynaTech, Micro-Aire, MicroLith (U.S. brands); Evalith (EU nonwoven brand); ThermoFlow, DuraCore, KY-Tex (EU fibers brands)
Roofing and construction specialist Johns Manville has a solid 2013. While the Berkshire Hathaway-owned company does not report its sales, executives did say that total sales were up in the high single digits driven primarily by improved volumes across all of its businesses.
Based in Denver, CO, JM recently reorganized its business into three major business segments—Insulation Systems, Roofing Systems and Engineered Products. Previously, engineered products was split into two divisions—America and Europe/Asia. In 2013, all business areas reported success, driven largely by a significant 19% increase in U.S. housing starts in 2013.
According to CEO Mary Rhinehart, transitioning to one engineered products organization will give the company the global reach it needs to be competitive, while keeping the regional support its customers require.
The new business is being led by Enno Henze, who has been named senior vice president and general manager. “Enno’s background makes him a perfect fit for this role. He has been responsible for our nonwovens, fibers and glass textiles businesses in Europe, as well as our nonwovens business in China,” Rhinehart says.
Mike Lawrence, who was senior vice president and general manager of engineered products America, will retire from JM to pursue other opportunities. “This decision benefits us for a number of reasons, the most important being that it will result in greater consistency for our global customers and position us for future growth,” Rinehart adds. “The new structure will facilitate best practice sharing, particularly across technology and manufacturing assets. And from an employee perspective, it will allow us to enhance our ability to leverage our global talent.”
A specialist in building and construction as well as a number of adjacent markets, JM has about 9,000 global employees and operates 45 manufacturing sites in North America, Europe and Asia. The company has continued to invest heavily in its nonwovens operation to capture growth in the residential and commercial construction and roofing markets as well as in high performance filtration areas.
Its most recent investment, announced in July 2013, is a new spunbond line in Berlin, Germany. The new line will increase lightweight spunbond capacity at the site by more than 40%. Featuring proprietary bicomponent technology and adding 4,000 tons of material per year, the new line will allow JM to make nonwovens with reduced area weights in combination with higher product performance features such as high efficiency at lower pressure drops. This will result in the same or better performance at lower materials cost and will ultimately allow JM to create a new generation of polyester spunbond filter media for cabin air, air pollution control and liquid filtration applications and will expand the Evalith product range.
Reduced area weight in combination with higher product performance, such as high efficiency at lower pressure drop, is one of the key value propositions of JM’s innovative BiCo technology, according to Chrstian Hassmann, senior product and market manager and the project leader for this investment. “Lower material cost with the same or even better performance will enable customers to compete long term in the market place,” he says. “The new production line will utilize the latest technologies to preserve resources and significantly lower energy consumption.”
While JM is a strong player in filtration, the company still strives to build this business and become a number one supplier of choice for current and future customers. “The filtration market is certainly one of our core businesses, which we target to further strengthen via innovative product solutions tailor-made for specific markets and customers,” says Holly Leiker, media relations and internal communications. “Options for future investments are certainly on our radar screen, as following only the industry’s organic growth is not an option for us.”
As the European economy continues to recover, the dynamics are changing within the field of technical nonwovens and JM is aiming for an expansion in a variety of technologies and markets. However, the company is not yet ready announce the specifics of these investments.
Meanwhile in China, where JM operates a facility in Shanghai, demand for bituminous roofing products are showing nice growth while the geotexitles business is facing challenges. JM is in the process of expanding its activities in Asia, with a focus on China, in the area of branded premium insulation products for air handling and technical insulation where customers are willing to pay for performance.
Back in the U.S., JM opened a new commercial roofing single-ply membrane manufacturing facility in Milan, OH in 2012. There, the company manufacturers ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roofing products. “Our EPDM roofing materials are manufactured using advanced extrusion technology, which results in a membrane designed for superior weatherability through a wide range of temperatures and conditions,” Leiker says. “The JM difference is the level of precision quality control we’re able to achieve during the manufacturing process. By minimizing the potential for air entrapment in the sheet, we’re able to produce a more uniform membrane with a superior surface finish, consistent thickness and fewer blemishes. Our closed extrusion system is also less sensitive to environmental factors such as humidity, and allows for greater temperature control during the manufacturing process.”
Also in North America, JM has glass mat operations in Waterville, OH and Etowah, TN serving construction (e.g., residential and commercial roofing reinforcement, roof deck facer, exterior gypsum sheathing facer), building interior (e.g., flooring system reinforcement, acoustical office panel, ceiling tile facer, duct insulation facer) and energy storage (e.g., battery separator, lead plate reinforcement) markets.
With sites on three continents and a variety of technologies available, JM is able to serve a number of industries. “With the U.S. continuing its slow but steady recovery, our customers look to JM to provide innovative, high performance solutions to the applications they serve,” Leiker says. “In the building interior markets, we are focusing on aesthetics, acoustics, sustainability and mold and mildew resistance—areas where glass nonwovens can provide advantage. In the construction industry, we see emphasis on productivity and on-time job completion. In the energy storage market, CAFÉ standards are driving new battery technologies. Again, these are focus areas where glass nonwoven solutions provide process-ability and longevity advantages.”
In new product news, recent product introductions include ENRGY 3.E, the next generation of polyisocyanurate roofing board insulation whereby the fire resistance has been engineered into the polymer backbone without the need for added halogenated flame retardants. JM’s R&D team has reformulated its foam chemistry with a non-halogenated reactive polymer modifier that delivers the necessary fire resistance to meet UL Class A fire ratings in low-slope roofing assemblies. Additionally, the reformulation improves cell structure and the properties of the foam.
Another new product, SmartBinder was launched in August of 2013. It’s an easy-to-use application that gives customers instant access on their desktop, laptop or iPad. It offers the latest insulation and roofing product information and specifications, automatic updates to ensure information is always current, and availability to data even without Internet access.
Also, in 2013, JM announced the Invinsa FR Roof Board. Invinsa FR is a high-density polyisocyanurate cover board capable of achieving a UL Class A fire rating over a combustible roof deck. This rating can be attained when the product is installed underneath single ply roof systems (TPO, PVC and EPDM) over polyisocyanurate insulation or directly to the roof deck.
Product quality, customer service and technical assistance are key elements to our success,” Leiker adds. “Johns Manville’s team of scientists and engineers work closely with customers to provide a broad understanding of material behavior. We have the capability to test full-scale, complex product solutions under various conditions.”