Interview with Dr Ulrich Hornfeck

Face2Face
Dr Ulrich Hornfeck
Dr Ulrich Hornfeck
Board Member & Chief Commercial Officer
Sandler AG
Sandler AG

Which domestic and global fairs do you plan to attend? What innovations will be at display?

In 2017, Sandler will be exhibiting at the Index in Geneva and will also be participating in the Filtrex conference, which will be held within the scope of the Index 2017. We will also be among the exhibitors at Techtextil 2017 in Frankfurt as well as Techtextil North America in Chicago.

How has your business grown in the last 2 years and what is your target growth for the next 2 years?

In recent years, Sandler has invested in a new production and warehouse building as well as a new production line in Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany. This year, we also set up our first foreign production plant-the Sandler Nonwoven Corporation in Perry, Georgia, USA. In September 2015, we officially announced the establishment of this new plant. A year later, the production of Sandler nonwovens "made in USA" started.

Sandler plans to continue to grow-both in Germany and in the US. To that end, we will also continue to invest.

What are your views on sustainability in nonwovens and how can sustainability be integrated into nonwovens manufacturing companies?

Sustainability continues to be a vital subject in all industries. Depending on the application, Sandler nonwovens contribute to sustainability and the conservation of resources in different ways:

In transportation, the textile materials contribute to lightweight construction. Nonwoven absorbers for application as engine covers, for example, insulate engine noise as well as heat, thereby slowing the cooling of the engine during a standstill and helping prevent cold starts. Both, their properties and functions contribute to lowering fuel consumption and emissions.

Nonwoven insulation materials for construction and technical insulation help reduce energy consumption by efficiently insulation heat.

In filtration, nonwoven filter media offer high efficiency and high dust holding capacity at a comparatively low pressure drop. In this way, they contribute to lowering the energy consumption during operation of the filtration plant. The new Sandler filter medium EnAIRsave was specifically designed to further optimise energy efficiency during use.

In our wipes segment, we reduced the basis weight of a product series, while maintaining established performance. Under the motto "Less is Best to Nature", these nonwovens help conserve resources.

Single-polymer polyester nonwovens for the transportation industry, for construction or office furnishings are also fully recyclable, even after many years of use. These materials - manufactured without any chemical additives just as all Sandler nonwovens are - can be integrated into a closed cycle of materials. Where the process and the end application allow, they are partially made from recycled fibres themselves.

In our own processes, we strive to keep energy utilisation and water usage as low as possible, we implement measures for environmental protection and we support environmental, social and charitable institutions in our home region.

With all new product ideas, we carry out preliminary checks with regard to the possible ecological impact of their production and use, and optimise them accordingly. We also test the energy consumption and emissions of all new machinery.

Our internal goods flows were restructured in 2007 in connection with this objective. Thanks to this initiative, we were able to achieve a significant reduction in CO2 emissions from internal transport. In shipping finished goods, we combine economically feasible optimisation of our transport operations with efficient route planning. In doing so, we aim to offer an optimal supply service while also avoiding detours and empty runs.

Our premises in Schwarzenbach an der Saale are in a truly "green" area: the Lamitz river runs between our factory buildings. In the mid-1980s, part of the river bed south of the company premises was restored to its natural state. Since then, a wetland biotope has developed here, creating a habitat for numerous animal and plant species. In order to preserve this habitat, we cooperate closely with the relevant authorities and cultivate the biotope extensively with minimal interference in its natural development. Today, almost a quarter of our land is classified as a biotope. Extensive protective measures and emergency scenarios have been put in place to protect the Lamitz habitat in the event of a production accident. Whenever we introduce new plants in the course of renovations and building work on the company premises, we use only native trees in order to preserve the ecosystem. To compensate for our construction activity, several areas have been set aside for extensive cultivation; some of these are also classified as a biotope.

What are the near future plans at Sandler AG?

Sandler plans to continue and expand our long-term partnerships with customers and other partners and to grow with them. Together, we will develop our products further and tap into new areas of application, conveying the fascination with nonwovens and enriching it through new, innovative uses.

Published on: 26/12/2016

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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