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J&J AMC highlights healthcare and hygiene.

A new spunlacing technology and ongoing corporate restructuring provides the basis of news in the past year at Johnson & Johnson Advanced Materials Company (J&J AMC), New Brunswick, NJ, the seventh largest nonwoven manufacturer.

On the technology front, "Miratec," an advanced patented spunlacing technology, is the latest introduction from the company. Developed internally in conjunction with Johnson & Johnson Medical, Arlington, TX, Miratec is an innovative extension of existing spunlacing technology and, according to the company, is a breakthrough on the order of DuPont's initial "Sontara" spunlacing introduction.

While not being specific, Robert Munoz, executive vice president-manufacturing and marketing, hinted at the technology's characteristics. "Miratec allows us to provide nonwovens to make products not previously possible," he said. According to the company, the material is as strong as a woven product and yet often does not require a binder. Mr. Munoz added that other new products that utilize Miratec technology will be unveiled in the coming year from both the Affiliate and Specialty Divisions of J&J AMC. Miratec is the result of a three year, cross-functional joint research and development team effort, with members from three different J&J companies included.

The first product to be introduced that uses the Miratec process is a new packing and debridement sponge for the healthcare market. The nonwoven product, "Nu-Brede," is produced by Johnson & Johnson Advanced Materials Company for Johnson & Johnson Medical; the sponge is used for cleansing and removing scab material from wounds.

At the corporate level, the restructuring that began last year--which at its most basic changed the company name from Chicopee to Johnson & Johnson Advanced Materials Company--is by no means complete. "In today's environment, you can never be finished restructuring," said Mr. Munoz. Following the completion of the initial restructuring elements, the company has discovered lucrative new markets, while continuing to eliminate unsuccessful product areas and make nonwovens production as efficient as possible. While future modifications will not be of the scope of the previous changes, they will be driven by J&J Advanced Materials Company's Total Quality Management (TQM) program as it strives to continuously create an even more efficient company.

Two operating divisions make up the total J&J AMC nonwoven roll goods production; the Specialty Division supplies external markets while the Affiliate Division mainly serves J&J Medical and J&J Personal Products. These divisions are two separate initiatives but both report to the same vice president.

The ratio of internal to external business is estimated by sources in the industry at approximately 50/50 and J&J AMC reported that both sides of the nonwovens operation are performing very well. Overall, nonwoven sales increased across the board, to an estimated $255 million. On the internal side, while J&J companies are not prohibited from purchasing nonwoven roll goods from other suppliers, they do fulfill a great deal of their nonwovens needs at J&J AMC and many joint manufacturing and development teams between J&J AMC and its J&J customers attest to the fact.

Mr. Munoz acknowledged that J&J AMC receives a great deal of direction from its inhouse J&J customers. "We fully support their initiatives, and we put a lot of effort into this area," he said, although he added that sales to outside customers are also a major consideration at the company.

On the Specialty Division side, J&J AMC is looking to expand into select hygiene and healthcare markets. "We already sell to a number of healthcare and hygiene market niches," commented Mr. Munoz. "We are now looking into a few more possibilities."

Specifically, the company has recently and successfully targeted several new external markets. "Quix," a spunlaced treated nonwoven wipe that is activated in water, has been introduced to the food service industry as a sanitizing wipe. The wipe, which sanitizes and cleans in one operation without additional cleaners or bleaches, retains its sanitizing ability for eight hours. Sales and distribution of Quix began in June and it is currently available as a sanitizing cloth or as an all purpose hard surface wipe.

Strategic alliances with outside companies have been another way that the company looks to expand its external business and the Quix wipe is a recent example. A licensing agreement with Nordico, New York, NY, a product and market development company, has given J&J AMC the exclusive right to use Nordico's technology to produce the hard surface wiping material. According to Mr. Munoz, more products can be expected to come from this particular alliance in the future. J&J AMC also has in place a limited number of distribution alliances for its protective apparel fabrics.

Protective apparel is a new target area for the company; "AC 15," a spunlaced fabric designed for bloodborne pathogen control and "dirty work" is now in limited distribution. Offering lightweight protection and excellent comfort, AC 15 has also found use in the oil and petroleum industry.

The core technology at J&J AMC and its sister company Chicopee Europe, Cuijk, The Netherlands, continues to be spunlacing, with an increasing emphasis soon to be placed on fabrics manufactured with the Miratec process. The company is also into apertured film production and sees the extrusion of film products as a technology of growing importance. "We have the opportunity to leverage our growing extrusion film technology into niche markets in the healthcare and hygiene marketplace," said Mr. Munoz.

On the quality front, the TQM program that J&J AMC has in place in North America, complete with the corporate J&J Signature of Quality emblem, goes beyond all of the ISO 9000 requirements. However, Mr. Munoz noted that it is prudent when doing business in Europe to be ISO certified and in light of this, the company is in the process of achieving certification. Chicopee Europe is already ISO 9001 certified; the award was presented at last April's INDEX show.

In spite of a very tough European economic picture, Chicopee Europe has performed very well. In both internal and external markets, Chicopee Europe has seen very little impact from a sluggish economy. Mr. Munoz attributes this to Chicopee Europe's ability to be very selective in the markets it supplies and to become the dominant supplier in each.

On the environmental front, J&J AMC has a three tiered program in place. At the highest corporate level, there is an environmental group examining comprehensive options and proposing action. J&J AMC then has its own environmental group and finally, each separate location has its own environmental department. Effluent, emissions, solid waste reduction and the impact of products on the environment are all examined every step of the way. In fact, J&J AMC has a policy of conducting life cycle analyses on all of its products, including the ones in development. While the entire inventory has yet to be completed, the policy is further evidence of the company's dedication to the environment.

The key message that is currently the J&J AMC focus is a heavy emphasis on its healthcare and hygiene markets. "It has been said that the Johnson & Johnson corporation is a healthcare supermarket," said Mr. Munoz. "This is true and it is a supermarket that we want to--and will--become more a part of with new products and new markets."
COPYRIGHT 1993 Rodman Publications, Inc.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:International Top 30; Johnson and Johnson Advanced Materials Company
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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