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Dominion Textile.

Dominion Textile

1950 Sherbrooke St. West Montreal, Quebec, Canada (514)989-6000

Worldwide Nonwovens Sales: $80 million Key Personnel: Charles Hantho, president and chief executive officer; Douglas Harley, director of business development (Zug, Switzerland) Nordlys 17 rue Emile-Hie 59270 Bailleul, France 28 49 29 29; Fax 28 49 16 76 Worldwide Nonwovens Sales: $50 million Key Personnel: Claudio Debernardi, president; Philippe Lambert, 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 Poly-Bond 8720 Red Oak Blvd., Water Oak Bldg., Suite 328 Charlotte, NC 28217 704-525-5113; Fax 704-525-5373 U.S. Nonwovens Sales: $30 million Key Personnel: Anthony Centofanti, president Plant: Waynesboro, VA Process: Spunbonded Brand Names: Poly-Bond Major Markets: Hygiene, Composites, Medical Disposables, Furniture & Bedding, Protective Apparel, Landscaping, Agricultural, Filtration Notes: The consolidation of its Nordlys nonwovens operations in France and the continued growth of its Poly-Bond unit in the U.S. has enabled Dominion Textile to increase its annual nonwovens turnover to $80 million this year.

Fueling much of this growth has been the output from the new Nordlys line at its Balleiul, France site. A new 3.5 meter chemical bonding line that has been up and running since the end of 1990 has been the final touch in a relatively smooth transition. The company is still refurbishing some of the equipment brought in from its old plants; there is also some finishing and converting operations left at the old sites. A new 3.5 meter thermal bond line with an annual capacity of 35 million sq. meters a year is scheduled to be in place by the third quarter of 1991 and be operational by early 1992. This marks the completion of just the first stage of the consolidation; the second, for which no timetable has been set, entails a capacity expansion.

The Nordlys nonwovens unit is part of the Technical Fabrics Group within Dominion Textile; the group, which encompasses all Dominion operations outside of North America, also includes its DHJ distribution company (DHJ's sales are not included in the corporate rankings in this feature). The Technical Fabrics Group had total turnover of about $200 million, about half of which is nonwovens. That figure used to be higher when DHJ handled all of Du Pont "Tyvek" sales in Europe; Du Pont brought its Tyvek sales in-house last year, although DHJ is still the agent for a significant portion of Du Pont's "Sontara" business in Europe.

The Poly-Bond U.S. operations are part of Dominion's Industrial Group, which also includes Industrial Fabrics, DHJ Plastics and the Wayn-Tex film extrusion business.

Douglas Harley, director of business development at Dominion Textile, explained the reasoning behind the Nordlys moves. "When we went into Nordlys it was located in three separate sites. You really cannot run an efficient operation where you have a physical separation, because that does not lead to an efficient use of resources. There was an embryonic plan among former Nordlys management to do something about that, but it took the impetus of the Dominion takeover to make that work."

Nordlys will continue to focus on its core strategic end uses of filtration, cable wrap, protective apparel, medical nonwovens, shoe materials and interlinings.

Dominion also recently announced it will construct a nonwoven manufacturing facility in Ipoh, Malaysia, scheduled to open in May, 1992. This is part of the $15 million expansion program in Europe and Asia that will serve the growing Far Eastern market.

"This all adds up to a fairly substantial investment in one group for a corporation at a time when, one has to admit, the going worldwide has been rough, especially in conventional textiles," Mr. Harley said. "This recognizes the success of the Technical Fabrics Group," he added. "Dominion is saying that TFG is successful, is turning in good profits. If we have the confidence to do this, Dominion will back us."

All of these changes have not affected the strategic direction of the European business, which is divided into four layers, Mr. Harley told NONWOVENS INDUSTRY. First is its manufacturing (dry laid and chemical bonded, as well as a spunlaced pilot line) in Balleuil; Nordlys has no intention of entering Europe with spunbonded technology since the group has that capability with Poly-Bond in the U.S. Next is its sourcing group, then the converting capabilities (the group has a full range of commission coating in Selestat, France (Alsace) that converts nonwovens, including Tyvek). The final piece in the puzzle is a worldwide distribution network.

Poly-Bond: Little Company, Big News

The little company making big news this year is Poly-Bond, Charlotte, NC. With sales in 1990 of $30 million, the company continues to strengthen its spunbonding capabilities with the recent addition of Line Eight, on-stream this past May. The new 4.2 meter line has some interesting slitting capabilities, according to Poly-Bond president Anthony Centofanti, and has been producing high quality product for several months. "We have the capability for the first time to slit down to narrow widths," said Mr. Centofanti, "opening up a new range of possibilities for the company." Mr. Centofanti reported that Poly-Bond has also done some modifications on several of its older lines, allowing narrower slitting in the 12 inch range.

Poly-Bond appears to be content for now to stay with its current eight lines and is concentrating on other goals in the near future. "We are looking at broadening our polymer base," said Mr. Centofanti. "We are starting to examine new technologies for polyester and nylon-based products."

The hygiene markets still reign as Poly-Bond's largest segment, especially with new diaper constructions such as standing leg gathers and waist barriers calling for 25-30% more nonwoven material in each diaper. Poly-Bond's ability to produce lightweight materials has served it well in this market. "We get calls from potential customers who say they can't find manufacturers of 1/2 oz. products," said Mr. Centofanti. "Consequently, we have fine tuned our product in this range."

Although hygiene remains a core business at Poly-Bond, it, too, will change as some refocusing proceeds. "We continue to take a look at industrial markets, working on value added products," Mr. Centofanti said. "We believe polypropylene has not penetrated certain industrial markets where it can displace wovens and other materials." Poly-Bond will approach these markets with composites and laminated materials as well.

The company's color capabilities have also served it in good stead. "In the past, there were no real choices beyond pink, light blue, white, etc.," Mr. Centofanti commented. "Today, because of the flexibility of our machines, we can make changes less expensively and customers are beginning to use color to differentiate their products."

The medical market is a developing segment at Poly-Bond, especially with its laminating and additive treatment capabilities. Poly-Bond will continue to serve the garment, cap and shoe cover material areas, but will also develop products to meet the changing market for barrier protection requirements.

Filtration is another new Poly-Bond market. Automobile coolant fluid filters are one targeted application; the company is also doing research into several wet filtration areas. Composites in gradient filtration can also build value into the product and become a viable market for Poly-Bond.

While the company has historically concentrated most of its efforts on the U.S. market--exports still make up only about 1% of sales--Mr. Centofanti hopes to take advantage of opportunities in the world markets by combining efforts with Nordlys in the exchange of technology and market information.

Back on the home front, Poly-Bond has done some corporate restructuring of its own. Steven Chester has been promoted to technical services manager and a new product/market development manager, Allen Bodford, will pursue new markets and technologies. In addition, steps have been taken to further separate Poly-Bond administration from Wayn-Tex; although both still share a production facility in Waynesboro, VA.

Poly-Bond has also joined TANDEC, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's new spunbonded/melt blown center. The new association will give Poly-Bond access to laboratory equipment at the Knoxville facility.

Overall, Mr. Centofanti is extremely optimistic about the future, projecting increases in sales that will bring the company's sales to $40 million for the 1992 fiscal year.

Long Term Strategy

"The long term strategy of Dominion Textile is to look at the globalization of the business and we are now set up to do that," Mr. Harley said. "Producers such as Dominion Textile recognize that the trend will continue for the production of primary textiles to gravitate towards the developing countries. If you are in primary textiles, it is evident that the nonwoven technologies can play an increasingly important role in your core business."

Obviously, for Dominion Textile, through its Nordlys and Poly-Bond units, that is exactly what is occurring.
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Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Sep 1, 1991
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