Innovation and Investment - Sandler reports successful year 2014
Sandler AG from Schwarzenbach/Saale again increased its annual result, registering a record turnover of € 286 million for the year of its 135th anniversary. The company manufactured approximately 101,750 tonnes of nonwovens for customers around the globe. Sandler recorded high level of capacity utilisation in its production and partly reached capacity limits. The Sandler team also grew in 2014 to now 650 members of staff. Sandler achieved very good results in all market segments: from nonwovens for hygiene products, to technical applications, through to nonwovens for home textiles and office acoustics. The nonwovens industry is becoming increasingly fast-paced and for Sandler, the past year was also characterized by international competition in a highly competitive market. In this sector, Sandler is one of only few companies that are still family-operated and its global customers value the company’s high level of quality, innovation, flexibility and service.
In 2014, Sandler put particular emphasis on innovation for sound insulation in offices and industrial buildings. Sound-absorbing nonwovens in partition walls or suspended ceilings help minimise machine noise in production facilities or the noise level in open-plan offices, creating a quiet working atmosphere. Sandler develops such products in cooperation with renowned manufacturers of office furnishings and acoustics experts, further expanding these fields of application.
In the construction industry, energy-efficient insulation of building is a major aspect. For these applications, Sandler banks on „the textile building“: In walls and the roof, 100% polyester insulation nonwovens of the fibercomfort® product line are used. Their open pore structure features a large inner surface and provides for low thermal conductivity, making them excellent heat and sound insulators. fibercomfort® is easy to handle, do not shed and do not cause skin irritation. Being flame-resistant, the nonwovens also fulfill safety requirements. Permeable, resistant to moisture and UV-light, they provide optimum insulation in the long term. Even after years of use they can easily be recycled and put to new use as raw materials. In January 2015, Sandler received the German building inspectorate approval for major product groups for these applications.
Sandler nonwovens for interior wall insulation insulate heat and dampen sound. Cold walls are being decoupled from the room and the noise level is reduced, creating a comfortable quiet home. At the same time, the insulation reduces the need for heating; the heating bill is lowered in the long term. In roof construction Sandler supplies nonwovens for insulation between the rafters: Owing to their flexibility and their high recovery rate these materials can simply be clamped between the rafters, even if distances between the rafters vary. They optimally adjust to the roof construction; keeping heat inside the building during winter and preventing the rooms from heating up too much during summer. In 2014, Sandler introduced another innovative product for this field of application: sandler fibercomfort® – tread- and waterproof roof insulation. Applied directly on top of the rafters, the nonwovens prevent construction-related thermal bridges, thus reducing heat loss through the roof. They withstand even harsh weather during construction and dry quickly. The nonwovens are self-supporting, yet provide a certain degree of elasticity. They are flexible and resistant to breakage, bearing a worker’s weight. Their special surface is non-slippery, preventing workers from skidding when walking on the roof. Applied as an all-in-one solution for roof insulation or in combination with insulation between the rafters—these nonwovens are ideal materials, particularly for renovation and reconstruction.
This textile innovation was awarded the prestigious INDEX Award on occasion of the 2014 INDEX exhibition. At the INDEX as well as nine other international fairs and symposia, Sandler showcased nonwoven innovations in 2014 and took the opportunity to set the course for the future in consulting with customers and partners on new projects.
Being a supplier to the biggest manufacturers worldwide, Sandler continues to advance the market for hygiene products with soft yet absorbent or elastic products: Nonwoven distribution layers quickly and efficiently spread out the fluid and transport it to the core. The soft surface remains dry for high comfort in use. Elastic nonwovens for closure systems such as diaper ears ensure the ideal fit of the diaper, adjusting to any movement without wearing out. In cooperation with customers and other partners, these nonwovens are continually being developed further and have become veritable high-tech products.
With regard to technical products, efficient synthetic filter media that contribute to indoor air quality were in high demand, as were acoustically efficient nonwovens for the automotive industry that provide for a quiet and comfortable ride. In these markets, product characteristics are increasingly being tailored to specific application requirements in joint developmental work with customers and partners and new areas of application are constantly opened-up.
Sandler’s management and staff are looking toward another eventful year in this dynamic and innovative industry. “It is difficult to say what 2015 will hold for Sandler”, says CEO Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler. “Just as research institutes find it increasingly harder to make reliable medium- and long-term forecasts, this is not an easy task for companies either. On one hand, the economic trends are generally positive, yet on the other hand, rising energy costs, fluctuations in raw material prices as well as the current crises in Europe and other parts of the world could affect our economy and the development of individual companies adversely. In light of worldwide crises, sinking oil prices, continuously high costs for energy in Germany and overall increasing expenses that cannot easily be apportioned to our markets, the new year will bring large challenges. Notwithstanding, our outlook on the future is optimistic: We will be developing new technologies at our Schwarzenbach location and expand our international business activities. This ongoing development also shows at our company premises. Already in 2014, we began preparations for the construction of a new office building in Schwarzenbach. New parking spaces were put up at the end of last year and the ground works for the new building have also started already. We will be investing approximately five million Euros. The new building will comprise four stories, offering a total area of 1,600 square meters. The building will thus provide new workplaces for our team. Our company started our 135 years ago, producing shredded waddings for the upholstery and fashion industries. To this day, we continue exploiting not only the future potential of these markets, but established a wide range of nonwovens for the hygiene industry, wipes and technical textiles in the automotive, filtration and construction industries. We achieved this development in close cooperation with our customers. Through various combinations of raw materials, manufacturing and bonding processes, nonwovens continue to offer great potential for innovation. And in this thriving market, we are already looking forward to new, exciting projects.”