DuPont buys White Knight’s non-woven line

White Knight will still maintain cleanroom market presence

By Mark A. DeSorbo

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—White Knight Engineered Products, a manufacturer of reuseable and disposable textile products, has sold its non-woven apparel line to DuPont Nonwovens (Wilmington, Del.). But the sale doesn't mean the member of the garment roundtable is out of the contamination control industry.

“We have chosen to focus on one side, and that is the woven side,” says Scott Banks, president of White Knight. “We are absolutely still in the cleanroom industry. We expect to be a very important part of the controlled environment for a very long time”

The agreement includes the sale of White Knight's full line of non-woven cleanroom apparel, including bouffants and caps, lab coats, frocks, coveralls and shoe covers.

Inside a DuPont ISO Class 6 cleanroom. The multi-faceted company now offers a comprehensive line of cleanroom apparel with its recent acquisition of non-woven apparel from White Knight Engineered Products.
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White Knight, Banks says, saw an opportunity to hone in on key initiatives in the woven area when DuPont management approached the company about the possibility of purchasing the non-woven apparel line. “We thought that if we are going to truly be a long-term supplier for the controlled environment market, we needed to choose a focus and do it very well,” Banks adds. “The woven apparel line made the most sense, and we see it as our greatest opportunity.”

For DuPont, buying White Knight's non-woven division complements such prior acquisitions as Kappler Safety Group Inc.'s line of protective garments for industrial safety applications.

Peter Gabele, global integration manager for DuPont Contamination Control, says the purchase lets the multi-faceted company bring a more comprehensive line of cleanroom apparel to the market. White Knight's Summus garment line, SureStep shoe and Gripper boot covers, along with Sierra facemasks will be integrated into an existing DuPont product line that includes Tyvek, IsoClean and ProClean brands.

“We can now offer protection for the whole body,” Gabele says. “This gives us a much better global position. We picked up an outstanding product brand of foot protection, which we had been looking to develop on our own, but [White Knight's non-woven product line] gives us something we didn't have before and it complements our entire portfolio.”

While the acquisition includes hiring the White Knight non-woven sales force, DuPont will continue to work with its key distributors, with no plans to sell directly to the end-user.

“We plan to partner closely with our distributors to define and measure appropriate service levels, allowing them to be more competitive in today's marketplace,” Gabele adds.

Moreover, Banks says, DuPont has the resources to take White Knight's non-woven products “to the next level,” while White Knight will continue to supply its Ultima, Conductor and Spectra woven products to the pharmaceutical, semiconductor, microelectronics and automotive industries.


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