Oerlikon Neumag and Teknoweb Materials joining forces in the future

Oerlikon enters into a strategic partnership in the high-growth market for disposable nonwovens

Remscheid/Neumuenster, Germany, Palazzo Pignano, Italy – April 4, 2017 – The Manmade Fibers segment of the Swiss Oerlikon Group is entering into a strategic partnership with the Italian company Teknoweb Materials s.r.l. aimed at extending the nonwovens production systems portfolio to include the high-growth market for disposable nonwovens. Within the context of the most important international trade fair for the nonwovens industry – the ‘Index’ in Geneva, Switzerland – opening today, Oerlikon announced that the two companies have come to an agreement in principle on establishing a new, jointly-owned company. This is expected to be completed within the next few weeks. With this development, Oerlikon strengthens the Oerlikon Neumag nonwovens systems business within the Manmade Fibers segment and expands into the attractive disposable nonwovens market.

Teknoweb Materials is an established technology provider focusing on nonwovens used in disposable products. The company has – in the form of the LEVRA Technology – its own patented and particularly energy-efficient manufacturing process, with which wipes can be produced using an efficient spunbondairlaid nonwovens process instead of the complex carded-spunlace process. The LEVRA Technology dispenses with hydroentanglement and subsequent drying, which results in considerable energy and hence cost savings for customers. Together with Oerlikon Neumag’s know-how and equipment for manufacturing technical nonwovens (durable nonwovens), both partner companies will in future occupy a significant position within the nonwovens production solutions market. The newly-created, combined technology platform offers considerable synergy potentials and the ideal prerequisites for launching innovative products.

Advance into a CHF 300 million market
As a result of the partnership, the Manmade Fibers segment further advances its interests in the attractive disposable nonwovens market. With a market volume of around CHF 300 million and average growth of between 4 and 5 percent expected over the next few years, the disposable nonwovens market is particularly interesting for Oerlikon Neumag. In addition to the markets for technical nonwovens production solutions in which it already operates, this will also allow Oerlikon Neumag – with its machine and systems solutions – to participate more actively in one of the, in terms of volumes, fastest-growing areas within the overall nonwovens market in the future. Drawing on Oerlikon Neumag’s innovative airlaid, meltblown and spunbond technologies and the Teknoweb’s innovative nonwovens solutions, the newly-formed company will have excellent market access with a global sales and service network. Together, it will be possible to tap into market potentials more swiftly.

Georg Stausberg, CEO of the Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment, comments: “We are pleased to be announcing this strategic partnership with Teknoweb. With this, Oerlikon Neumag gains access to innovative technologies, hence expanding its product portfolio as a total solutions provider for nonwovens production systems. This allows us to expand into an attractive new market. Not least, the collaboration underlines our strategy of broadening the Manmade Fibers segment product offerings, with the aim of making its overall portfolio – currently with its primary focus on the filament business – more balanced in the long term.”

Fabio Zampollo, CEO Teknoweb Materials, explains: “Our objective was to join forces with a strategic investor with outstanding know-how, excellent technologies and machine and systems solutions. Oerlikon offers all these from a single source. Furthermore, we will in future also profit from professional engineering and the global service network of the entire Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment.”

Joint presentation at the Index 2017
At this year’s Index, taking place in Geneva between April 4 and 7, Oerlikon Neumag and Teknoweb Materials will presenting a broad range of technologies for the efficient manufacture of nonwovens. At trade fair stand 2314, the experts of both companies will be providing information on process solutions for industrial applications such as filtration, roofing, geotextiles, automotive, medical and hygiene applications and also disposable nonwovens.

For further information, please contact:

logo Oerlikon
André Wissenberg
Marketing, Corporate Communications &
Public Affairs
Tel. +49 2191 67-2331
Fax +49 2191 67-1313
andré.wissenberg@oerlikon.com

logo Teknoweb materials
Herbert F. Gerlach
Marketing & Sales Director
Teknoweb Materials s.r.l.
Via Verdi, 23/bis
I - 26020 Palazzo Pignano (CR) Italy
Tel. +39 0373 350511
Fax +39 0373 350599
h.gerlach@tkwmaterials.com
www.tkwmaterials.com

About Oerlikon
Oerlikon (SIX: OERL) is a leading global technology Group, with a clear strategy to become a global powerhouse in surface solutions, advanced materials and materials processing. Backed by the key ability to intelligently engineer and process surface solutions and advanced materials, the Group is committed to invest in value-bringing technologies that provide customers with lighter, more durable, more efficient and environmentally sustainable products. A Swiss company with over 100 years of tradition, Oerlikon has a global footprint of over 13 500 employees at more than 180 locations in 37 countries and sales of CHF 2.3 billion in 2016. The company invested CHF 94 million in R&D in 2016 and has over 1 000 specialists developing innovative and customer-oriented products and services.

For further information: www.oerlikon.com

About the Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment
With its Oerlikon Barmag and Oerlikon Neumag brands, Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment is the world market leader for manmade fiber filament spinning systems, texturing machines, BCF systems, staple fiber systems, nonwovens and artificial turf systems and – as a service provider – offers engineering solutions for the entire textile value added chain. As a future oriented company, the research and development at this division of the Oerlikon Group is driven by energy-efficiency and sustainable technologies. With the expansion of the product range to include polycondensation systems and their key components, the company now caters to the entire process – from the monomer all the way through to the textured yarn. The primary Oerlikon Barmag markets are in Asia, and – for Oerlikon Neumag – in the USA, Turkey and China. Correspondingly, Oerlikon Barmag and Oerlikon Neumag – with just under 2,500 employees – has a worldwide presence in 120 countries as part of the Oerlikon Manmade Fibers network of production, sales and distribution and service organizations. At the R&D centers in Remscheid, Neumünster and Chemnitz, highly-qualified engineers and technicians develop innovative and technologically-leading products for tomorrow’s world.

For further information: www.oerlikon.com\manmade-fibers

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We are a small company, but very experienced and
committed to innovation

Although it has been developing technologies for the production of nonwoven based substrates for four years, Teknoweb Materials somehow became a new player in the world of Nonwoven Technologies, as it is now an independent company. We spoke to Herbert F. Gerlach, Marketing and Sales director, about the latest developments.

With the eco-friendly so-called LEVRA Technology, the company offers a particularly competitive alternative to existing substrate technologies for the wipes sector, such as spunlace, airlaid etc. The company focuses on development and innovation and is constantly engaged

in research of new technologies to keep a competitive edge without forgetting the sustainable aspect. High level technologies, products and services in continuous evolution for the substrates and a diversified range of product lines such as Packtek, Airtek, Lamitek, Spintek,

and Multitek have allowed Teknoweb Materials to become one of the most diversified suppliers in the field of nonwoven machinery.
“We concentrate our forces on technologies with low energy consumption, easy operation, process predictability, and ergonomic design” says Managing Director and owner Fabio Zampollo.

“...we want to grow steadily but always
keeping in mind where we come from...”

 

Headquarter close to Milan, Italy

Mr Gerlach, Teknoweb Group underwent a restructuring at the end of last year. Please describe the background and reasons for this step?

Herbert F. Gerlach: During the last year of growth and development of the Teknoweb Group, it became clear that a separate focus was required in its two divisions: ‘Materials’ – manufacturing lines for the production of disposable substrates – and  ‘Converting/Packaging’ – manufacturing lines for wet wipes conversion and packaging.  We directed the relative work groups into the specialties required by the two markets, also considering that they represent two different categories of customers: roll good producers and wipes co-packers.

In the light of these conditions, we came to the conclusion that separating our two divisions and devoting specific resources to each one of them would ensure the focus necessary to achieve these results. Therefore, we decided to separate the two companies and the related ownerships: Teknoweb Converting S.r.l., focusing on the development of lines for converting and packaging wet wipes (owned jointly by IMA and Piero Mandotti) and Teknoweb Materials S.r.l., focusing on the development of technologies for disposable substrates (owned solely by Fabio Zampollo). Teknoweb Materials is situated 30 km south-east of the Milano-Linate airport, so it is easy to come and see us.

 

Teknoweb Materials is now concentrating on R&D of innovative technologies. Please describe how this company is organised to do so?

We are about 50 talented engineers and technicians from various industries guided by a very experienced management team. On top of that we are collaborating worldwide with exclusive partners, always bearing in mind that selecting the best technologies among those existing on the market and upgrading them with our own technical solutions is the way for Teknoweb Materials to ensure the continuous availability of innovative and sustainable nonwoven substrates.

 

Could you please describe one or two innovative technologies you are currently working on?

We are mainly working on new generations of LEVRA and similar technologies and a new and innovative spunbond technology mainly for emerging markets under the umbrella of Spintek.


Please describe special features and advantages of the LEVRA technology.

LEVRA is our leading technology and as I said above, after having placed the first lines, we are already working on the next generations. Unfortunately, I can’t provide more details, since we have some patents pending.

How is this technology embraced by your customers?

Here is some of the feedback from a recent market survey:

  • Very interesting innovation – it is what we looked for in our categories
  • Material is very soft and nice to touch
  • Structure of the material is very positive
  • Looks very nice, like a premium product
  • Structure of this material feels very special when held in hand
  • This 3D surface is great
  • It is great that you have these ecological arguments
  • Ecology is very important for us
  • It holds liquid very well – not leaking
  • Structure of the material is very distinctive
  • We are really interested in this material
  • We are very interested in ecological benefits – can we claim them on packaging
  • Fantastic softness
  • As a father I appreciate the strength of this material
  • Product is softer but also much thicker
  • It is stable in both directions
 

LEVRA substrate


In general: Which customers, markets or regions are of specific significance to you?

Teknoweb Materials has neither area nor application limits in terms of nonwovens and similar technologies. We are a company that is ‘small but very experienced and committed to innovation’.

 

When will you launch further innovative technologies?

This is a continuous process where we are listening to our customers and their needs.


Do you plan to attend important industry events this year, such as IDEA?

Yes we will attend IDEA with a small booth and present ourselves for the first time as Teknoweb Materials.

How will Teknoweb Materials have evolved five years from now?

Our 5-year plan? What a question for a newcomer in the nonwoven technology industry! We want to grow steadily but always keeping in mind where we come from and the financial resources we have available. We will surely have five times more ideas than machines we can realise.

 

Which opportunities do you see for the nonwoven industry in general in the future?

I see innovation with market-sized capacities at affordable capex as a key to success.

 

A personal question: What is your professional background? How and when did you enter this industry? And what do you consider the biggest advantages of nonwoven products?

I started as a youngster (which I still think I am) in 1973 at Freudenberg Spunbond in Kaiserslautern. In 1986, I wanted a change in country and mentality and moved to Italy to a company called Neuberger, a very small spunbond producer at the time. When Neuberger became part of Fiberweb/BBA, I started my own company called Korma in 1994, making laminated absorbent cores for a leading producer of feminine hygiene panty liners and pads.

This was a very challenging time that taught me a lot about international company management - the company had 60 employees in Italy and 25 in the US. Since 2013, I have been with Teknoweb Materials and enjoy learning more every day about the nonwovens industry from a technology provider perspective.

Thank you for the interview!