2013 Nonwovens Sales: $367 million
Christian Heinrich Sandler, CEO; Wolfgang Höflich and Ulrich Hornfeck, members of the management board
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
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, sawabond White Lace, sawabond Silver Lace, sawatex mariquita, sawatex orsettino, sawatex sea dwellers, bio textile by sandler, sawatex wipinator
Nonwovens for hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, cleaning), automotive, filtration, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, technical insulation, environmental nonwovens) and home textiles
Reporting an impressive 10% year-on-year increase was Sandler Nonwovens. The German maker of various nonwovens achieved sales of €274 million ($367 million) due to growth in all of its core markets including hygiene, wipes, automotives, home textiles, technical insulation and engineering.
One of the key highlights of the year was the start-up of its latest production line, dubbed VS 32 by the company, which expanded its capabilities within the technical nonwovens segment. Featuring proprietary Sandler technology, the new line makes voluminous roll gods and sheet materials through a combination of needlepunching and thermal bonding. The line, which represents at €15 million investment, is largely targeting lightweight, easy-to-handle insulation materials as well as filter media and nonwovens for home textiles.
“We have a strategic decision to be a diversified company and the addition of this production line is allowing us to expand in a number of markets,” says Ulrich Hornfeck, member of Sandler’s management board.
The line follows the late 2012 start-up of a new meltblown line targeting highly efficient meltblown media. This new 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 two new lines, as well as the expansion of its technical center in 2013, concluded a series of investments.
“We managed to put a 10-year investment plan into practice in half that time and, in doing so, invested a total of more than €60 million,” says chairman C. H. Sandler at the ceremony inaugurating the VS 32 line. “And once the current investment is completed, we will have created 115 new jobs during the past five years.”
These investments have not only added to Sandler’s capacity and its sales, they have also enabled the company’s success in a number of new markets. One market of note is insulation, where the company’s fibercomfort material prevents heat loss and noise abatement. This material earned Sandler an INDEX Awards at EDANA’s 2014 trade exposition, where the company’s meeting room space was made of the material.
“If you notice, this material can really block sounds out,” Hornfeck explains. “It can act as a nice buffer in offices or in apartment buildings.”
In addition to the insulating properties, fibercomfort is permanently hydrophobic, able to withstand even harsh weather and is permeable, allowing the building to breathe, preventing an accumulation of moisture. Being tread-proof and flame-resistant, the nonwovens also contribute to safety while the single-polymer recyclable nonwovens also help conserve valuable resources.
Meanwhile, on the disposable side of the business, Sandler continues to grow in wipes applications, a business the company serves from its Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany headquarters. The company entered the spunlace market in 2003 and its latest line came onstream in mid-2011 as part of a €40 million investment. In addition to adding capacity, the new line has allowed Sandler to diversify its spunlace output beyond wipes.
Ulrich Hornfeck, member of Sandler’s management board, says the most recent spunlace investment has allowed it to expand its focus on new product development both within and outside of the wipes market. “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 its 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 a raw material provider, 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.