A s a niche market in the textile recycling industry, nonwovens quietly continue to keep hundreds of millions of pounds of materials out of landfills. One company has grown over the past five decades to become one of the largest in the industry in purchasing nonwoven "seconds" from major U.S. mills. Established in 1968, Fibematics Inc. began manufacturing Scrim Reinforced Material (SRM) and converting nonwoven wiping products in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and has since expanded its business to include wiping product conversion in southern California. The company is celebrating its fifty-year anniversary in 2018.
Fibematics' principal location in Philadelphia operates in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) and is a Small Business Administration (SBA) HUBZone employer. Currently employing 70 workers, the company has experienced steady growth in revenue in recent years, including its California location, which has been successful since the factory opened in 2014.
"We repurpose an average of five million pounds of nonwovens per month," says David Bloovman, vice president of Fibematics. "Our work centres around manufacturing SRM, converting nonwoven wiping materials and trading specialized industry products."
SRM is a material composed of high-wet-strength tissue laminated to polyester scrim threads, and is typically run to tight specifications for medical applications. For industrial applications, this material often begins as parent rolls of towel and tissue rejected by mills for their primary applications, and as industrial SRM. It is utilized in industries such as janitorial and sanitation as an absorbent wiping material.
"Manufacturing SRM is one of the oldest practices in the nonwoven industry," says Bloovman. "This material remains in high demand due to its strong durability, and it continues to be an economical choice for wipers [manufactured products used to clean surfaces]."