Manning, SC 29102
Pooling together more than 35 years of experience in the nonwovens industry, Treleoni’s founders established the company in 2010. The Manning, SC-based nonwovens producer specializes in random airlay coated fibers that are used in floor maintenance pads under commercial machines to clean and polish floors in hospitals, office buildings, manufacturing plants, retail stores and other commercial spaces. Treleoni also manufactures hand-scouring pads that are used in the consumer markets and the restaurant/food service commercial industry, which come in various shapes and sizes, from squares, ovals and rounds to laminated and cellulose sponges.
Outside of these markets, Treleoni has made nonwovens for the building industry, specifically venting material for residential roof vents, as well as for products used for environmental cleanup and control. For this application, a 2-3-inch thick nonwoven is used as part of a structure that floats on a river or lake, hold soil and plants. The plants’ roots permeate the nonwoven and clean the waterway.
Something that gives Treleoni an edge in its markets, according to its president Rick Mazzoli, is that its sister company is a producer of specialty fibers. “Fiber is the backbone of our product,” Mazzoli says. “In the industries that we serve, we are unique in that we’re using fiber that is made by us so we get the benefits of technology and innovation—things that aren’t typically available to others.”
Recently, Treleoni partnered with NatureWorks, maker of the plant-based Ingeo polylactic acid (PLA) resin, to produce and work with fibers, which in-turn allowed the company to create a more eco-friendly floor pad. The PLA replaces polyester, a material used in 99% of the floor and hand pad materials. The new Provito floor pads launched in November, and Mazzoli claims that by using Ingeo fibers instead of polyester, 80% fewer fossil fuels are used in the manufacture of the product.
While the textile company has two recycling lines for reprocessing pure polyester, once Treleoni coats its fibers and adds resins and abrasives, it’s somewhat contaminated making recycling impossible, Mazzoli says. “So our industry has basically come back and said, ‘If you could use recycled polyester, that’s good. Secondly, if you could build a pad that is longer lasting so that you delay it going into a landfill, that’s good too.’ But we’re still using petrochemical.
“So when the PLA came out and we started looking at these fibers, and asked whether this was an alternative to using polyester, we found that it was, and it had the benefit of using less fossil fuel,” he explains. “So that’s why we went with it.”
Because of its Provito floor pads, Treleoni has earned the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label, which verifies that the product’s amount of renewable biobased ingredients meets or exceeds levels set by the USDA. Biobased products are finished or intermediate materials composed in whole or in significant part of agricultural, forestry, or marine ingredients. Treleoni is currently the only company in the floor pad industry producing PLA-based floor pads.
Another way the company stands out is that it’s a specialist in heavier denier fibers such as 45, 60, 100, 200, 300 and 500 denier. Mazzoli explains: “A lot of the fibers in nonwovens are really fine. And when you’re running the heavier denier fibers, it really takes knowledge, understanding and creativeness to run those fibers consistently where they create a consistent web formation. We’ve been able to do that through this business as well as the other businesses that we have managed. So the ability to consistently create an open web, heavy denier fiber pad has been somewhat unique to Treleoni.” In fact, the company is currently shipping its heavier denier product into China, which hasn’t yet perfected heavier denier fibers in the 45s, 60s, 100s or 200s.
According to Mazzoli, the company’s key markets, floor pads and scouring pads, are stable, and he expects moderate growth in the years to come. “When I started in this business in 1981, I kept wondering to myself, ‘What’s the next floor pad? Will it be a nonwoven? Will it be a polyester?’ Well, we’re now working in PLA, but I have to say, the product is used in so many applications, so I think it’s stable.”