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Dominion Textile does double nonwovens duty.

The 19th largest nonwoven roll goods producer is comprised of two very different nonwovens manufacturers that are making effort--despite focusing in different markets and technologies--to work together on various nonwovens projects. On their own, both continue to do well in nonwovens with unique outlooks on their individual markets.

At the European-based Nordlys, Bailleul, France, continued success based on historical strengths and extensive plans for reorganization mark the past year. The consolidation of Nordlys operations in France as part of Dominion Textile's $29 million capital investment plan--with $10.5 million earmarked for Nordlys--has just begun, according to Claudio Debernardi, president. The expansion, announced last November, includes the extension of one building and the modernization of equipment and is expected to be completed by the middle of 1994. The equipment modernization phase is being kept on a loose schedule to keep customers happy and schedules uninterrupted.

According to Mr. Debernardi, a new line will be installed at the facility, replacing an existing one. "These are not new technologies we are installing," he said. "We are employing our traditional technology with substantial modification, especially following three to four years of intense research and development." In other new product and technology news, innovations for interlinings and industrial applications are in development on Nordlys' foam bonding line.

The target of the consolidation is to improve quality and capacity, with the emphasis on quality. Although a 30% increase in capacity is predicted, the primary goal is to have all operations under one roof while achieving higher quality and a greater ability to manufacture new products at the same time.

Worldwide nonwovens sales at Nordlys for fiscal 1992 reflected a strong 10% growth to $62 million. The primary markets for the company are protective apparel, medical, cable wrapping, interlining and filtration applications, with special interest in the laminated products area. Resources and efforts have been geared towards serving these markets and in developing customer relationships. "We must work closely with the customer in new product development," Mr. Debernardi emphatically declared.

Working closely with another company in a slightly different situation, Nordlys is part of a joint venture with the French-based Ceca Tapes. Under terms of the venture, which involves high performance soluble tapes, Nordlys is devoted to product development and production while Ceca Tapes handles converting and marketing. The cable wrap market is one of the major applications targeted by this venture.

Having a long history as a distributor has been a great help to Nordlys as it increases its exporting efforts and it has just started exchanging products with Poly-Bond. By utilizing its distributor heritage, Nordlys has begun importing and selling specialized Poly-Bond products, with product flow to the U.S. to begin shortly.

Nordlys' distributor background is definitely not something the company will soon be changing. "We will continue the original strategy to be manufacturer and distributor at the same time. It gives us some specific advantages," Mr. Debernardi said, although he added that it is important not to compete directly with suppliers.

Eastern Europe is a geographic area that Nordlys is keeping a close eye on. "While the markets are still naive in terms of capacity to absorb sophisticated durable end products, we are starting collaborations to source products with Eastern European nations and to allow them to sell our products," said Mr. Debernardi. The initial goal of this activity is to set up a distribution network to be used in the future.

In other international news, Mr. Debernardi said that the official opening of the 100,000 square foot Nordlys Far East facility, located in Ipoh, Malaysia, occurred in October of 1992. The site is already running nearly to capacity, about 20 million square meters, primarily targeting the interlinings market. The company is following a practice of having very few expatriate workers on the site, making it a true international facility.

On the environmental front, the company has put into action a policy declaring that every possible effort to develop environmentally friendly processes be made and that all sites comply with local environmental rules. The company has already started monitoring all of its solid waste production and is recycling a portion of the waste stream in an attempt to reduce solid waste to the lowest possible level.

ISO registration is also in the works at Nordlys, with ISO 9002 registration expected by the end of 1994. Several other quality procedures, including an MRP2 system, have already been implemented to manage planning and control features at facilities. With many customers now requiring ISO certification, Nordlys is wholeheartedly working towards the achievement. For the time being, Mr. Debernardi noted that ISO registration is an advantage. Soon however, companies will need it to survive.

Poly-Bond: U.S. Success Story

Continuous upgrading of capacity resulting from the $23 million investment has highlighted news from Poly-Bond, the U.S. subsidiary of Dominion Textile, in the past year. The company, which reported 1992 fiscal sales of approximately $40 million, has undertaken a major investment program that will be completed through the next two years.

The Dominion Textile investment program originally allocated $18 million to Poly-Bond for the upgrading of two 3.2 meter lines and relocation to a new facility under construction in Waynesboro, VA. In July, 1993, an additional $5 million was allocated to upgrade a third 3.2 meter line and to add a state-of-the-art rewinder/slitter. This new equipment includes electronic setting of knives for very accurate slitting down to narrow widths.

The expansion and relocation is continuing on schedule, said president Alec Hay. "The building is nearing completion and we began relocating the first line in August. The output of our upgraded line is increased by 40% over current levels. We are reviewing a further upgrade to our 4.2 meter line, which would convert it to a double beam line, incorporating melt blown capability," said Mr. Hay. "The increased capacity represents an extension of our activity in hygiene and protective apparel for medical and industrial end uses."

Currently hygiene represents the majority of Poly-Bond sales, a situation that the company sees continuing as spunbonded materials continue to make inroads in market share. Although medical markets represent only 10% of current sales, Mr. Hay said, "We are working to increase our sales in this area with our laminate products that became commercial this year." Several interesting laminates have been developed at Poly-Bond, targeting medical needs for breathable barrier fabrics that can be gamma sterilized. These new products are now undergoing extensive field trials.

Poly-Bond continues to run all its lines to capacity, although Mr. Hay admits this was more difficult to achieve this year than last "The short term outlook has improved, however, and strengthening of orders is occurring," he said. Sales at Poly-Bond are concentrated in North America and this is not projected to change significantly "We will continue to work with our Nordlys group in France, however, which is now selling Poly-Bond composites in Europe."

Poly-Bond plans to be ISO certified by next March; the company has a committee in place leading the process. Also, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification is in progress for the composites facility.

Dominion Textile 1950 Sherbrooke St. West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada 514-989-6000

Key Personnel: Charles Hantho, president and chief executive officer Woldwide Nonwovens Sales: $102 million

Nordlys Z.I. de la Blanche Maison, BP 109 Avenue de l'Europe, 59270 Bailleul, France 28-49-29-29; Fax: 28-49-16-76

Woldwide Nonwovens Sales: $62 million

Key Personnel: Claudio Debernardi, president; Philippe Lambers, managing director

Plant: Bailleul, France

Processes: Dry Laid, Chemical Bonded, Thermal Bonded, Spunlaced (pilot line)

Major Markets: Interlinings, Cable Wrap, Medical Apparel, Electrical Insulation, Oil and Milk Filtration

Nordlys Far East P.T. 101886 IGB International Park, Jalan Kuala Kangsar P.O. Box 515, 30750 Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia 60-5-56-71-23; Fax: 60-5-57-51-85

Key Personnel: David Wong, managing director; Donald Belisle, production director

Major Market: Interlinings

Poly-Bond 250 West Main Street, Suite 230, Charlottesville, VA 22902 804-295-6300; Fax: 804-295-1744

U.S. Nonwovens Sales: $40 million

Key Personnel: Alec Hay, president; C. Allen Bodford, director-business development and technology

Plant: Waynesboro, VA

Process: Spunbonded

Brand Names: Poly-Bond

Major Markets: Hygiene, Composites, Medical Disposables, Furniture & Bedding, Protective Apparel, Landscaping, Agricultural, Filtration
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Title Annotation:International Top 30
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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