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Hollingsworth & Vose: specialists in specialties.

Our 27th largest company, Hollingsworth & Vose, East Walpole, MA, celebrates its 150th year in business this year. With nonwovens sales in excess of $60 million, H&V is a closely-held company that consists of 10 manufacturing facilities in the U.S., England, Mexico and Italy. The company, which is made up of the Filtration Division and the Industrial Products Division, continues its specialty of specialty nonwovens, describing itself as the producer users come to with special requests.

The Filtration Division, which accounts for 65% of total sales, manufactures products for use in the automotive filtration, battery separator, high efficiency filtration and industrial filtration markets. Synthetic and composite nonwovens are manufactured with various H&V production technologies. The division recently introduced a cabin air filter product, which is a composite product utilizing three different web production technologies. The product is currently in test marketing. The division also introduced several new ASHRAE and automotive air filters this year, taking advantages of synergies with its traditional and nonwovens capabilities.

Synergy is also a term describing the relationship between the Filtration Division and the Industrial Products Division, the other H&V division, which accounts for about 35% of total sales. "There is a cooperation between the divisions," said Geoffrey Taylor, director of sales and marketing-nonwovens, Industrial Products Division. "It is really a unique relationship in the laminating and combining area. These composite materials take a great deal of cooperation." He added that this is a learning experience for both divisions and is currently "working well."

In the Industrial Division, the biggest news in the past year was the division's decision to form a new distribution network for its interlinings business. The system is based on exclusive distribution arrangements within assigned geographic areas, explained James Laurino, executive vice president. "The increasing sophistication of the marketplace and our expanding product line have made this change in philosophy a necessity," he said.

"Hollingsworth & Vose sells customers, not orders," said Mr. Taylor. "Our corporate style is imbedded in this and we needed dedicated people to do this for us," he said.

The new arrangement appears to be working well, since the company also recently initiated plans to expand its Floyd, VA hot point interlinings facility. Mr. Taylor commented on the time frame. "The purchase orders have been issued and the equipment should be operational in the spring of next year," he said. The additional capacity reflects a complete rebuilding of the current hot point line and will "dramatically increase capacity," according to Mr. Taylor. "This has been needed for a while and is the result of increased demand.

The Industrial Products Division, which also manufactures automotive gasketing, floppy disk liners and specialty industrial products, recently released a new series of products in the floppy disk liner area. The new products are based on new technology for which a patent is pending. H&V has also recently installed a floppy disk evaluation laboratory at its Floyd facility that, among other things, has the capability to produce 3 1/2 and 5 1/4 inch diskettes. The division has also developed new interlining materials with a softer hand and improved fusible systems and four new nonwoven embroidery backings in the wet process area.

Hollingsworth & Vose as a whole continues to move forward with its quality, business team and participative management programs begun in 1990, programs the company views as long term efforts. This year the overall focus at H&V is on internal improvements in three major areas: reduction of waste, improving on-time delivery and increasing customer product satisfaction. Regarding ISO certification, Mr. Taylor said, "It is the company's intention to focus on its own internal generated quality guidelines at this time; our cross functional business teams, work teams and quality groups are all now having a significant positive impact on our business." The company's facility in Winchcombe, U.K., however, is ISO certified.

Sales at Hollingsworth & Vose increased in a growth pattern "in line with the general trend in the industry," according to Mr. Taylor. Sales increased outside the U.S., where, despite an economy in trouble, "we did okay."

Indeed, H&V has made the decision to concentrate on overseas markets outside of the traditional European and Pacific Rim areas. "We've shifted people and added people to cover the |Rest of World' (ROW) area," said Mr. Taylor. "The company will be paying more attention to areas such as Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America."

In conclusion, "I still think product diversity will happen," said Mr. Taylor. "As nonwovens go on, they will become more specialized as people learn how to use the technologies. We'll be seeing a lot more composites and a lot of new sophisticated products," he said.

Hollingsworth & Vose 112 Washington Street, East Walpole, MA 02032 508-668-0295; Fax: 508-660-2168

Worldwide Nonwovens Sales: $63 million

U.S. Nonwovens Sales: $42 million

Key Personnel: Gordon Moran, president and chief executive officer; James Laurino, executive vice president, Industrial Products Division; Frank Fry, executive vice president, Filtration Products Division; Geoffrey Taylor, director of sales and marketing-nonwovens, Industrial Products Divisions; Val Hollingsworth, vice president, Filtration Products Divisions

Plants: East Walpole, MA (gasketing material); West Groton, MA (high efficiency glass media, battery separators, automotive filtration); Fall River, MA (melt blown, converting); Easton, NY (wet process nonwovens); Greenwich, NY (filtration); Floyd, VA (dry laid nonwovens); Hawkinsville, GA (filtration); Winchcombe, England (battery separators, general specialties, filtration); Apizaco, Mexico (filtratin and general specialties); Bagnasco, Italy (gaskets)

Processes: Parallel and Random Dry Laid, Chemical Bonded, Point Bonded, Flat Bonded, Heat Bonded, Wet Laid, Melt Blown

Major Markets: Industrial Specialties, Apparel, Battery Separators, Home Furnishings, Filtration Media, Electronics Specialties, Gasketing Materials
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:International Top 30
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Words:934
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