2014 Nonwovens Sales: $700 million
Enno Henze, senior vice president and general manager, engineered products; Patti Rizzo, director of sales and marketing, nonwovens Americas; Stefan Mohr, director of sales and marketing, EMEA/APAC;; Martin Kleinebrecht, marketing and portfolio management leader nonwovens, EMEA/APAC; Brian Sapp, director of global fibers; Christian Hassmann, global filtration and separation business leader.
Tucson, AZ; Defiance, OH; Waterville, OH; Richland, MS; Spartanburg, SC; Etowah, TN; Cleburne, TX; Bobingen, Berlin, Wertheim, Karlstein, Steinach, Germany; Shanghai, Louyang, China; Trnava, Slovakia
Dura-Glass, Delta-Aire, DynaWeb, Micro-Aire; Evalith (EU nonwoven brand); ThermoFlow, MultiStar, DuraCore, MicroStrand (fibers brands)
Reporting sales and profits growth across all three of its business units —insulation systems, roofing systems and engineered products—was roofing and construction specialist Johns Manville. The Berkshire Hathaway-owned company continues to face challenges like difficult weather conditions in North America, uncertain economic prospects in Russia and a significant construction recession in Europe, but better times are on the forecast for the industry, according to executives.
“According to certain economic indicators, North American residential roof repair is projected to increase over the next several years, resulting in corresponding growth for glass nonwovens – a key component of residential roofing shingles,” says Martin Kleinebrecht, marketing and portfolio management leader nonwovens, EMEA/APAC. “Additional opportunities exist in the European foam insulation segment, as well as in the emerging exterior sheathing market.”
To support growth in construction and its other business areas, Johns Manville has made a number of capacity investments in recent years. The most recent of these are three upgrades to glass fiber operations in North America. In February, JM announced a significant upgrade to its nonwoven glass mat production plant in Waterville, OH. JM upgraded an existing nonwoven mat line with advanced manufacturing technology to allow the company to better serve customers in growing segments of the global specialty glass mat market.
“This investment positioned JM for business in new and evolving markets,” explains Enno Henze, senior vice president and general manager for JM Engineered Products. “For example, in the energy storage space, fuel economy standards are driving new battery technologies. Additionally, this upgrade allowed us to support the domestic growth of vinyl flooring companies as they continue to ‘on-shore’ their manufacturing to the U.S.”
Second, in February, JM announced it would expand its glass fiber operations plant in Etowah, TN. JM’s vertical integration into glass fiber manufacturing, coupled with its expertise in sizing chemistry, greatly supports continuous improvement in glass mat design and the North American composite market needs a strong and reliable supply of glass fibers to translate innovations into steady market growth, according to executives. JM’s operations in North America can serve customers across the growing compounding base in the Midwest and Southeast.
“The composites industry is growing steadily and we are convinced that current and future industry trends will continue to drive increasing demand for glass fiber products,” says Brian Sapp, global fibers business director for JM Engineered Products. “We are making this investment to support our customers’ plans for growth, and we will continue with innovations in technology and product development in fibers to support our customers.”
The third investment came June when JM said it would increase its glass microfiber capacity at its plant in Waterville, OH.
“Glass microfibers are used in filtration and energy storage applications. JM utilizes a blend of glass microfibers with wet chopped fibers in select glass mat compositions to support surface aesthetic and performance requirements,” Kleinebrecht says. “Once complete, the upgrade will allow JM to better serve customers in growing segments of the global specialty glass mat market (e.g., flooring, battery, gypsum).”
These investments position JM for business in new and evolving segments. For example, in the energy storage space, fuel economy standards are driving new battery technologies.
“The global growth in start-stop automotive batteries, driven by regulatory requirements to decrease fleet CO2 emissions, offers significant potential for nonwovens,” explains Patti Rizzo, director of sales and marketing, nonwovens Americas. “Also, the ongoing trend for lightweight solutions for the transportation industry is driving growth in nonwoven composite technologies. JM is well-positioned to capitalize on these opportunities with tailor-made solutions.”
Within its spunbond business, in June JM completed work on a new state-of-the-art polyester spunbond production line at its Berlin, Germany, facility. The new production line, which used newly developed proprietary spinning technology, is part of a strategic plan to support the growing demand for high-end polyester filtration media. The line increases the Berlin plant’s spunbond lightweight capacity by more than 40%. JM invested more than €32 million ($36 million) to build the line.
“This new capacity at our Berlin plant will benefit Johns Manville’s global customer base,” says Mary Rhinehart, president and CEO. “Customers will have even greater access to our high-quality filtration products and to a new generation of spunbond filter media for cabin air, air pollution control and liquid filtration applications. This new line also puts Johns Manville in a prime position to handle continued growth and customer demand in the many global markets we serve.”
JM’s innovative enhanced BiCo technology enables unmatched product performance especially in the field of gas and liquid filtration.