SCHWARZENBACH/SAALE – Sandler managed to increase its turnover in 2020 to €328 million, from €322 million in 2019, and also welcomed 60 new members of staff to its international team.
The company now employs 940 people, including 19 apprentices who started their professional careers in 2020.
To contribute to the fight against coronavirus, Sandler drew on its decades of experience in filtration to effectively utilise as much of its capacity as possible for nonwovens for face masks.
In the wake of the first phase of the pandemic, however, demand was dramatically exacerbated.
“In April last year, we rapidly decided to invest in a new production line for nonwovens for face masks,” said CEO Christian Heinrich Sandler. “This was set up in record time at our headquarters in Bavaria. Production started in August 2020 and by September, the line was running 24/7.”
In May 2020, Sandler became one of the founding members of the Mask-Alliance Bavaria which has set up a fully Bavarian value chain, manufacturing these medical products for use in fighting the coronavirus.
The pandemic also rapidly changed the requirements of Sandler’s markets.
Production orders for materials for the automotive and furnishings markets declined while demand in other segments such as nonwovens for disinfection wipes or personal protective equipment increased markedly.
At the same time, Sandler substantially invested in the modernisation of workplaces and factory buildings, while also introducing new products for applications in construction and hygiene products and expanding its range of efficient sound-absorbing materials for interior acoustics.
At Sandler Nonwoven Corporation in Perry, Georgia, a new production line was being set up inside a new purpose-built building. Advancing the strategic expansion of the US site, specialists from headquarters had regularly travelled to Perry, but travel restrictions imposed by the US Government delayed this on-site support.
The US team, however, steadily continued the assembly and since late 2020, German experts have been able to join their colleagues in person again. In late December, the first trial runs of the new production line were conducted, and commissioning is now in its final stages.
In addition to concerns about maintaining supply chains, 2020 was characterised by significant fluctuations in raw material prices and freight costs.
“The cooperation and team spirit of staff are the reason we were able to successfully navigate this tense situation,” said Dr Sandler. “In all areas of the company, staff members working in divisions affected by declines in orders took on new tasks with determination to assist their colleagues in segments where demand was increasing rapidly. Growth and innovation continue to be our predominant focus in 2021 and building on the experiences and knowledge gained from the crisis year of 2020, the Sandler team is excellently equipped for this.”