Dounor Nonwovens

Neuville en Ferrain, France
2011 Nonwovens Sales: $92 million

Key Personnel: Christophe Willot, president; Hugues Cavrois, sales director; Stephanie Hoyas, research and development, communication manager

Plants: Neuville en Ferrain, France

Processes: Spunbond, spunmelt, proprietary technology for nonwoven landing zone

Brands: Hysoft, Hymelt, T-Bond, Softech

Major Markets: Hygiene (adult care, baby care, feminine care, nonwoven for backsheet lamination), medical, industrial

New to this year’s report is French nonwovens producer Dounor Nonwovens, which got its start in carded thermal bonded nonwovens in 1986 and branched out into spunbond in 1992, later adding spunmelt technology in 1996. Since that time, the company has invested steadily in Reicofil-based spunbond and spunmelt technology for hygiene and medical nonwovens. Last year, sales surpassed $92 million.

Today, Dounor operates six spunbond/spunmelt lines at one site in Neuville en Ferrain, where it makes 40,000 tons of nonwovens per year. Ideally located near major European port areas, this facility allows Dounor to serve all of Europe, where 85% of its business is done, as well as its customers in the Middle East and North Africa, where the remaining 15% of sales are conducted.

In terms of market penetration, about 85% of goods are sold to customers in the health and hygiene market, including adult incontinence, baby care, feminine hygiene and medical applications, while 15% targets filtration and other industrial applications.

The company’s latest investment came on-stream in the last quarter of 2011. This new line reportedly makes fabrics with lower basis weights to meet the needs of the hygiene market.

“Our customers are challenging us more and more to find ways to offset continuous raw material increases, requesting more economical products,” says sales director Hugues Cavrois. “This continuous down-gauging process without losing any features—and if possible with even better specifications—gave us the direction to innovate and pushed us to invest in the latest technology.”

New developments for Dounor include Softech spunbond nonwovens, which combine softness, strength and uniformity. Available in ultra-light weights, the product answers the call for more attractive economic requirements. Additionally, Dounor has developed, in partnership with French diaper closure specialist Aplix, new landing zone material made of 100% nonwoven materials.