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Suominen embeds digital features in nonwovens

Feb '19
Embedding digital features into nonwovens, Suominen Corporation introduced the Intelligent Nonwovens concept to the market in 2018. The first of its kind in the world of nonwovens, the concept makes it possible to set in digital features into all its products. All these features are machine-readable with a smartphone or any such similar devices.

These Intelligent Nonwovens offer improved product safety and traceability to the converter customers and a new kind of sophisticated marketing platform for brands, said Suominen in its 2018 Annual Report. Suominen Intelligent Nonwovens is something that customers have never seen before and has put Suominen in the top position in combining digitality with nonwovens. The concept was made possible by Suominen’s unique capability to produce nonwovens with extremely high definition patterns wherein all kinds of digital features can be coded without deteriorating other functionalities or changing how nonwoven looks to the naked eye.

The second key launch of the year was Sustainable Product Portfolio, which aggregates all Suominen nonwovens that address different kinds of sustainability needs, be it plastic-free, biodegradability, recycled content or something else. Sustainable Product Portfolio was our response to increasing concerns of how environmentally friendly single-use products are, a discussion that has been bubbling under the surface for some time but surfaced when the European Commission published its proposal for the SingleUse Plastics directive. With Sustainable Product Portfolio, the company is taking this environmental issue head on and offering its customers nonwoven products that perform as well as conventional products but, in addition, respond to changing regulation and the needs of environmentally conscious consumers.

In 2018, Suominen’s net sales increased to €431.1 million. The net sales of the Care business area totaled €35.1 million in 2018 (€37,5 million in 2017), representing 8 per cent of Suominen’s group net sales "Our firm measures taken in pricing had a positive impact on our top line, even though they were counteracted by the weakening of the USD compared to euro. Our profitability development was clearly a disappointment, as operating profit decreased to €4.6 million and profit for the period was negative. Suominen’s cash flow from operations remained strong in 2018 and was €32.1 million. We worked throughout the year to overcome our troubles by introducing new initiatives and decisively executing our strategy, which I believe builds a foundation for better results in 2019," said Tapio Engström, interim president & CEO from August 3, 2018 to January 7, 2019.

The year 2018 was a tough one from the start. The company experienced price pressure and overcapacity on the market, primarily in two of our biggest product applications, nonwovens for baby wipes and flushable products as well as significantly increased costs of several key resources, particularly raw materials and transportation. On the positive side, its new production line in Bethune, SC, US, was ramping up and turned positive on gross profit in the second quarter.

"Suominen is a globally leading player in the nonwovens industry and it has decisively further improved its capabilities in the past few years. I see a lot of long-term potential in the company and it is obvious that expectations for future success are high – both inside and outside of Suominen. Clearly, we have challenges to tackle but having now had the chance to start to truly familiarize myself with the company and to meet personally the members of Suominen team, I could not be more excited. We are determined to take necessary measures in order to improve the company’s profitability." Petri Helsky, president & CEO

2018 was the first implementation year of Suominen’s sustainability agenda for the years 2018–2021. This Suominen’s second sustainability agenda defines its stance on sustainability through the three focus areas: improve the quality of life of people throughout the value chain, decrease environmental impacts of Suominen’s manufacturing processes, and measuring and managing more comprehensively the environmental footprint of Suominen’s product portfolio. The sustainability agenda defines concrete longer-term goals related to environmental and social responsibility. It has initiated activities under all three focus areas and each focus area has longterm targets to be accomplished by 2021. (RR)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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