In Europe, technical nonwovens are suffering from poor conditions in building & construction industry
Martin Kleinebrecht (40) is the Marketing Leader of Nonwovens Europe at Johns Manville. He heads Product & Market Management, R&D, Technical Service, Business Development and Marketing Communications departments at Johns Manville. Prior to that, Martin Kleinebrecht with a background in economics began his career in Bangkok with Hoechst AG. After moving back to Europe, he worked in the world of polyolefins in JV’s between Hoechst and BASF, Shell and BASF and finally in LyondellBasell as Polypropylene Europe Business Director. In business since 1858, Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company is ranked 7th (Source NI Aug 2011) in the list of top 40 nonwoven producers globally. It is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality products for building insulation, mechanical insulation, commercial roofing, and roof insulation, as well as fibers and nonwovens for commercial, industrial and residential applications. JM serves markets that include air handling, HVAC, filtration, waterproofing, building, flooring, interiors and wind energy, etc.
Yes, Johns Manville was a pioneer in the development of polyester spunbond nonwovens and glass nonwovens. The spunbond technology was developed by Hoechst AG and came to Johns Manville via an acquisition in 1999. The glass nonwoven technology is based on an invention in 1948 by a German, Werner Schuller, in response to the increased demand for roofing membranes during the reconstruction of Germany after WWII. JM acquired the family-run business about 40 years ago. Today we conduct nonwovens-related research and development in Europe in two technical centers: for glass nonwovens in Wertheim, Germany (close to Frankfurt) and for polyester spunbond in Bobingen, Germany (close to Munich). We see it as a big advantage that we have pilot lines for spunbond and for glass mats available in these locations, so we can easily mirror production conditions on a smaller scale. On top of that we are cooperating closely with the JM Technical Center in Littleton, Colorado, that supports all four JM divisions (Engineered Products Europe/Asia, Engineered Products North America, Roofing Systems, and Insulation Systems) worldwide with its vast technical knowledge and state-of-the-art equipment. At JM Nonwovens Europe all major technologies used are our own and not bought “off the shelf”, which makes it easier for us to optimize and further enhance our current and future production lines ourselves. This is very different from, for instance, the hygiene nonwovens business.
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