2019 Nonwovens Sales: $138 million
Tenowo Mittweida GmbH
Tenowo Reichenbach GmbH
34. Tenowo Inc.
Lincolnton, NC, USA
Tenowo Huzhou New Materials Ltd.
Huzhou City, PRC
Dr. Harald Stini, managing director; Detlev Käppel, global sales director technical nonwovens and managing director, Tenowo Huzhou; Chris Peart, president, Tenowo Inc. NC/USA
Hof/Saale, Germany; Reichenbach, Germany, Mittweida, Germany; Lincolnton, NC; Huzhou City, PRC
Drylaid, thermal bonded, needlepunched, saturate bonded, stitchbonded, spunlace
Variopoint, Unipoint, Unisoft, Zetafelt, Zetastitch, Zetafil, Zetawatt, Zetaloft, Florbond, Zetabond, Zetajet, Zetatherm, Zetamold, Zetacarb, Zetacoustic, Maliwatt, Malivlies, Kunit, Multiknit, eswegee, Bassopoint
Acoustics, automotive, filtration, roofing, industrial, composites, interlinings, medical
Sales increased slightly to $151 million for Tenowo in 2019 thanks to a strong start to the year. However by late 2019, there were signs that a slowdown was coming in the global automotives market, according to sales director Detlev Käppel.
“In 2019, we did okay but there were signs that we weren’t going to have another record year in China, Europe or the U.S.,” he adds. “There were not major problems but then the Covid-19 crisis exacerbated things in 2020.”
The shutdown of automotive manufactures globally meant that 85% of Tenowo’s automotives business globally shut down. “April was the worst month we have ever seen in our history. We had to adapt our capacity here and there.”
Tenowo’s U.S. operation, located in Lincolnton, NC, was particularly able to react quickly and effectively to the coronavirus. The division was able to take materials normally applied to the automotives market and make materials for isolation gowns for medical gowns.
“This helped us get through the worst part of the shutdown,” says Chris Peart, president and CEO of Tenowo Inc.
Peart says he credits the sales and development teams who were able to create a new product and get it out the door within two to three weeks, with very little prior knowledge of the market. “The hope is that the market can become a permanent one for us,” he adds.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Tenowo’s four sites in Germany were running well. The company had added a stitch bonding line in Moschendorf, which supplements Tenowo’s Mittweida site which was expanded in 2018 and sold out nearly instantly. Also in Moschendorf, the company added a needlepunch and high loft nonwovens line. The needlepunch line targets medical applications while the high loft line make Zetaloft Plus voluminous nonwovens for automotives and industrial applications. “We can run products from 200-1400 gsm and up to 700 mm thick,” Käppel says. “These products are quite new for us but we had some requirements for them.”
Meanwhile, Tenowo’s Reichenbach site ran 24 hours a day seven days a week continuously last year and it continues to run satisfactorily. Tenowo has also added a Center of Excellence for stitch bonding technology at the site which is the only private center of its kind in Europe.
“I am not aware of any other private company running a center of excellence for stitchbonding,” Käppel adds. “This was a strategic goal for us because we are one of the biggest manufacturers of this and there is a lot of room for new products and applications.”
In October 2019, Tenowo expanded its role in the medical market through the acquisition of Resintex, a Milan, Italy-based medical company with a focus on skin care applications. “Resintex has been in medical for many years but has been restricted to the Italian market. We are currently exploring the possibility of extending business on a more European basis,” he says.