2015 Nonwovens Sales: $319 million
Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, CEO; Wolfgang Höflich, Board Member & chief production officer; Dr. Ulrich Hornfeck, Board Member & chief commerical officer
Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany; Perry, GA, U.S.
Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, thermally bonded, meltblown, needlepunched, air-through bonded, spunlaced, 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, 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), transportation, filtration, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, technical insulation, office design & interior acoustics, environmental nonwovens) and home textiles (upholstery, mattresses & bedding, fashion)
As it prepares for entry into the North American market, German nonwovens producer Sandler reports a successful 2015 with sales of €288 million, or $319 million. In September 2015, the company announced it would establish a production site in Perry, GA, its first operation outside of Germany. Construction on the new facility is complete and Sandler is currently installing the first production line, which will primarily serve the hygiene and industrial markets when it begins operation in fall 2016, according to Sandler’s board member and chief commercial officer Ulrich Hornfeck.
“We are always working on our lines so they are not only designed for one market application but for many,” he explains. “We have been looking at this expansion for a while. We have been present in the U.S. market but we now have a customer base that is stable across a number of markets.”
Sandler chose the location in Perry because of its proximity to long-term customers in the North American market and because of its advantageous geographic position. Located near a major airport in Atlanta, GA and the Savannah Harbor, Perry is easily accessible by air and sea. The team at the new site will comprise German expats as well as local employees recruited from the area.
Meanwhile, at its site in Schwarzenbach/Salle, Germany—one of Germany’s largest nonwovens operations—in July, Sandler completed work on its fifth plant, which houses proprietary technology for hygiene applications.
Even before this €43 million investment was complete, production began on the new line house there—a hybrid line combining different technologies—all the way back in December, according to executives. Already this line has successfully tapped into new interesting areas of application and is introducing new products to the market, according to the company.
Sandler’s most recent investment, plant number four, was completed in 2011 and its latest expansion occurred in early 2014 when a line known as VS32 started up. This line, also featuring Sandler proprietary technology, makes voluminous roll goods and sheet materials through a combination of needlepunching and thermal bonding. The growing number of applications for acoustically efficient nonwovens was a driver for this investment, according to Sandler. It has helped Sandler expand its role in technical nonwovens segments like insulation and acoustics.
In fact this technology was on display at INDEX 2014, where it was honored with an achievement award. The company’s booth concept used these nonwovens to show visitors how it was able to block out noise. Hornfeck stresses the benefits of these nonwovens go beyond noise reduction. In automotives, they are replacing materials like polyester molds thanks to their breathability, lightweightedness and recyclability.
“These materials not only offer noise reduction but also energy savings,” Hornfek says. “They are breathable, lightweight and easily recycled,” Hornfeck explains.
Meanwhile, Sandler’s spunlace business continues to focus primarily on the wipes market. In this market, the focus has been on diversification. According to Hornfeck, this has made business more interesting as his team works with customers individually to find the right solution.
“Wipes are convenience. Our job is to make a material that can carry and handle a lotion. Our customers depend on our experience in developing more specialized products.”
In fact, specialized products throughout all of its businesses will continue to be a growth strategy for Sandler as it blazes new frontiers both with its Germany-based business and its new U.S. operation.
“We are always investing in all of our segments,” Hornfeck says. “A few years ago, we commissioned new production equipment targeting technical applications, with our recent investment a lot of focus has been on hygiene and wipes. This ongoing advancement of all our diverse markets is why I am so confident in our success.”