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Nonwovens/​Converting

Freudenberg PMA plans competence centres in Europe

As a result of massive market changes, the company is planning to concentrate on manufacturing base materials for interlinings in Weinheim.

25th January 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Weinheim, Germany

Clothing/​Footwear

Freudenberg Performance Materials Apparel produces interlinings for all segments of the apparel industry. At present, the company manufactures interlinings for the European mass market at its site in Weinheim, Germany, while high-quality canvas interlinings for the European luxury market are made at the site in Sant´Omero, southern Italy.

As a result of massive market changes, the company is planning to concentrate on manufacturing base materials for interlinings in Weinheim. Base material finishing and coating is to be bundled at Sant´Omero. For this purpose, two lines are to be relocated from Weinheim to Sant´Omero. The company plans to conclude this measure by the end of 2022.

Massive market changes

The middle price segment of the mass market has been particularly hard hit in recent years, Freudenberg reports. More and more consumers are following the trend towards casual wear in many areas of life, the company explains. Generally speaking, it adds, casual garments only require very few interlinings, or none at all. According to Freudenberg, the global pandemic has dramatically accelerated this trend. Suits are worn to work in the office, but loose clothing is the favourite for working from home, the company says. Moreover, the apparel industry in general has seen a sharp fall in demand as a result of the pandemic, and recovery is likely to take quite a few years, it adds.

Even though the apparel industry has been moving out of Germany and Europe for many years, Freudenberg Performance Materials Apparel says it has always sought to strengthen the production location in Weinheim – out of a sense of loyalty to the birthplace of Freudenberg’s nonwovens business. Time and again, the company has launched initiatives designed to successfully run the core business in interlinings for the mass market middle and lower price segments from Weinheim, it says, adding that it has not been possible to completely offset the massive market changes.

European competence centres for base materials and finishing and coating

Freudenberg Performance Materials Apparel is planning to bundle its technologies in competence centres in order to enable its European interlining business to thrive in future and to better fulfil the needs of European customers. Existing base material know-how is to be developed further in Weinheim. The Sant´Omero site is to be expanded to become a competence centre for finishing and coating. According to the company, customers would enjoy many advantages such as more flexible solutions, faster lead times and swifter delivery. At the same time, it adds, they could continue to benefit from the ‘product originating in Europe’ designation.

To accomplish this forward-looking ambition, Freudenberg Performance Materials Apparel is planning to relocate two lines for finishing and coating from Weinheim to Sant´Omero, along with one line from the site in San Martín, Argentina. This line was decommissioned and disassembled in 2017. Sant´Omero has a long tradition and extensive expertise in processing textile base materials for the manufacture of interlinings. The lines to be relocated are designed for all types of interlinings.

The existing modern facility for base nonwoven production in Weinheim provides the ideal foundation for a competence centre, the company explains. Furthermore, weft production will continue in Weinheim, it says. The groundwork for this was laid with the acquisition of the woven and weft specialist Hänsel in 2015. It is planned to relocate the lines to Sant´Omero in the course of 2022. Until relocation commences, production in Weinheim would continue unchanged – at least for the full twelve months of 2021, the company concludes.

Freudenberg Performance Materials

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