2017 Nonwovens Sales: $725 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
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)
Johns Manville, a manufacturer of nonwovens for building and construction applications, has announced Evalith as the unified brand for its Engineered Products nonwovens business, allowing the business to leverage and operate under one global brand.
JM’s European nonwovens business has produced products under the brand name Evalith since 2012. JM first transitioned the glass fiber mat and sliver product lines to the new brand name, followed by PET spunbond, glass microfiber air media and meltblown throughout the first half of 2018.
“The unified brand name will further reinforce the global position of our nonwovens business,” says Martin Kleinebrecht, global portfolio & marketing leader Nonwovens for JM Engineered Products. “North American nonwovens products will certainly continue to be produced with the same performance expectations. We do not anticipate the name change to disrupt any operations.”
While its been three years since JM has made a significant line investment—a bicomponent spunmelt line featuring proprietary spinning technology—located in Berlin, Germany, the Denver, CO-based, Berkshire-Hathaway-owned company has been focusing on enhancements to its existing lines. New investments have been able to expand JM’s role in the filtration market and expand its offerings in its core market, roofing and construction.
“The new line in Berlin has specialized know-how and is flexible in fiber sizes,” says Martin Kleinebrecht. “This allows us to offer a big variety of multilayer products and we are now offering complete filter media, not just the carrier to the filter media.”
Featuring a spunbond back topped with spin glass layer, this filter technology requires no electrostatic charge and has found substantial success in the HVAC market.
Meanwhile, in Wertheim, Germany, in 2017 JM upgraded a glass nonwoven mat line, originally built in the 1970s, allowing it to produce products with smoother surfaces, opening up doors in specialty markets. Other improvements include faster run times and increased capacity.
All of JM’s spunmelt lines are based on the company’s heritage Hoechst technology, and the latest spinning technology is the latest offering by JM, which entered the filtration market about 20 years ago as a way to diversify beyond construction.
Elsewhere in Germany, JM has a pilot line in Bobingen as well as several nonwovens production lines in Wertheim. In 2017, the company enhanced an existing glass mat line in Wertheim to address the increasing needs and demands of local customers and markets.
In fact, line upgrades are central to JM’s growth strategy and the company routinely debottlenecks lines to increase capacity and add new capabilities to them to enhance its business. This not only allows JM to continue to grow while keeping its risk to a minimum, it also helps it expand into new areas.
“There are lots of ways to be flexible—changing the raw material or add a new binder system,” Kleinebrecht says. “This allows us to operate in some nice niche areas where we can fulfill market requirements. Our customers give guarantees for their roofs and our products need to measure up.”
JM has traditionally operated two plants in China—one in Shanghai and the other in Luyong—but infrastructure challenges have forced Johns Manville to move its spunbond equipment located in Shanghai to Luyong in May 2017.
Looking to the U.S., JM operates three spunbond lines featuring the same Hoecst AG technology it purchased in the 1970s, at its facility in Spartanburg, SC. These lines primarily target roofing applications but have some business in filtration and geotextiles.
As a global supplier of nonwoven materials, JM has set up its business to quickly adapt to the changing market conditions around the globe. As market conditions change regionally, JM is able to shift its products between sites.
JM has also adjusted its business to increase its focus on sustainability. In its 2016/2017 Sustainability Report, JM reaffirms its commitment to sustainable development.
“On a global scale, JM has the capital and the scientific and engineering expertise to help address some of society’s most complex issues, like energy efficiency and lifecycle durability,” says chief sustainability officer Tim Swales. “We will continue to take a business approach to sustainability that creates long-term value for our stakeholders – one that also helps JM to become even more productive, innovative and competitive.”
Significant accomplishments outlined in the 2016/2017 report include: a reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity; development of the product category Environmental Product Declarations for JM’s HVAC, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and mechanical insulation materials and completing an extensive water survey to better understand local water source vulnerability at JM’s plants in the U.S. and around the world.
JM has also invested approximately $2 billion over the past 10 years to make JM more productive, safe, innovative and sustainable and has increased customer value by developing sustainable new products and technologies for insulation and lightweighting.