600 staff members, two new investments, one new sales record
Bavarian nonwovens producer Sandler AG again reports record sales: In 2013, the company generated a sales volume of 274 million Euros, manufacturing approximately 100,000 tonnes of nonwovens. This sales figure corresponds to a 10 percent year-on-year increase—a result better than expected, even to the company management. The Sandler team also grew in 2013: a staff of 600 now works in Schwarzenbach. Sandler achieved very good results in all market segments from nonwovens for hygiene applications and wipes substrates for care and cleaning to technical applications in the automobile, in industrial and household uses, in construction and technical insulation, through to nonwovens for home textiles and office acoustics. The first months of 2013 were characterized by an upward trend involving a high level of capacity utilization. During the second half of the year this trend gained further momentum.
The hygiene, wipes and automotive segments were major contributors to Sandler’s success last year. Long-term development projects were successfully implemented and established on the market:
Nonwovens for distribution layers quickly transport the fluid to the absorbent core and distribute it evenly. The soft surface remains dry, providing for high wearing comfort. Elastic nonwovens in closure systems such as diaper ears create room to move. These textile materials are extensible even at low force. They adapt to the shape of the body, facilitating a perfect fit of the diaper without wearing out. Sandler supplies these innovations and a product range comprising more than 1,000 nonwoven qualities for diverse areas of application to renowned producers worldwide. Sandler nonwovens form the base material for numerous popular brands available in our supermarkets.
Nonwovens have become veritable high-tech products, frequently developed in conjunction with customers and suppliers. Likewise, cooperations with universities and research institutes in fundamental R&D are gaining importance. These partnerships provide the basis for the implementation of properties such as fluid storage and transport or of energy savings during use of the nonwoven.
To also provide sustainable materials the conservation of resources and an efficient energy management are essential. Thus, continuous investment in machinery and processes has always been an integral part of Sandler’s philosophy.
Investing in a successful future
In 2013, the company again expanded its production capacities: With a 15-million-Euro investment in the production line “VS 32“, Sandler expanded its capacities for the manufacture of nonwovens for technical applications. Conceptualised by Sandler, the new line produces voluminous roll goods and sheet material. To this end, it employs thermal bonding, needle-punching and the combination of both processes, creating a versatile range of nonwovens. Filter media and nonwovens for home textiles are on the production schedule but the main focus is on lightweight, easy-to-handle insulation materials. In residential buildings, these nonwovens efficiently prevent heat loss through roof and walls; in offices they create a quiet working atmosphere. The common denominator is a large inner surface, facilitating excellent sound and heat insulation.
The nonwovens industry is becoming increasingly fast-paced, shorter lead times require a high level of flexibility in order planning and systems operations. Set-up times and downtimes have to be kept at a minimum to enable maximum flexibility and availability of production capacity. For this purpose, Sandler invested another 2.5 million Euros in the expansion of its technical service centre. The new building is serving as a hub for internal logistics and is a central warehouse for spare parts kept on hand twenty-four-seven for the production lines.
These projects are the conclusion of a five-year series of investments, in the course of which Sandler expanded its Schwarzenbach site to become one of the world’s largest locations for the production of fibre-based nonwovens and 115 new jobs were created in the process. Within these five years, more than 60 million Euros were invested, putting a 10-year investment plan into practice in half the time.
Qualification generates new impulses
Supplying nonwovens to markets as dynamic as the automotive industry or the hygiene sector, necessitates the adjustment of the product properties to the respective requirements more and more specifically. Continuously, new areas of application are being explored and requirements on functionality and price-performance ratio are increasing. Employee qualification has thus become a strategic factor of success. Sandler banks on continuing professional development of its longstanding staff members, who have detailed knowledge of the company and nonwovens. Moreover, apprenticeships in commercial, technical or business positions offer young people a career entry into this future-oriented sector. Internal training courses on nonwovens production, quality assurance or safety as well as seminars held by top-class consultants ensure that Sandlers high standards are maintained.
Advancement through innovation
In 2014 exploiting new areas of application for nonwovens will again be a main focus of Sandler‘s activities. New developments in the field of composite materials will also be of great interest. Just in time for the year of its 135th anniversary, Sandler invites visitors to experience the fascination with nonwovens on the re-designed company website. The new homepage acquaints the visitor with the versatility of the products and the possible combinations of properties. Likewise Sandler’s philosophy on topics like quality, safety and the environment and even the company itself come to life. And for the first time, members of the Sandler team introduce themselves as direct contacts.
The company location will continue to be characterised by the word “new“ throughout 2014—with the modernisation of the offices and the expansion of the training workshop that will further optimise the working environment.
Sandler‘s management assumes a bullish attitude towards the projects to come and estimates a moderate growth for 2014. „We had a very successful and eventful year”, says CEO Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler. “For 2014, we are well-prepared to seize new opportunities and to tackle any challenges that may lie ahead.“