Release liner papers are coated with silicone by AhlstromMunksjö’s customers to carry self-adhesive labels or materials used in labeling of food, beverages, consumer goods, or for manufacturing and assembling adhesive components in industrial processes.
Overall demand for these products was robust through the year, and our production facilities have been running at full capacity, while several initiatives are underway to increase production efficiency and output. The release liner market growth has a good correlation with GDP growth, and it is also strengthened by substitution of other labeling technologies with self-adhesive labeling that requires a release liner.
The market for technical release liners for specialty industrial applications such as composite materials is enjoying even more solid demand, and Ahlstrom-Munksjö is strengthening its position and is well placed to exploit further opportunities in this growing segment.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö continues to explore innovative technologies to deliver even more reliable, better performing and more sustainable products to meet customer’s demand.
Insulation paper, thin paper and pulp
Ahlstrom-Munksjö produces specialty papers that include creped or smooth grades supplied to manufacturers of transformers and high voltage cables, where they are used for electrotechnical insulation. Another product segment is thin papers delivered to the steel, aluminum and glass manufacturing industries, which use them as interleaves between different layers of their products.
Beyond papers, the company also offers specialty long fiber cellulose pulp manufactured at a dedicated unit in Sweden and supplied to a number of industrial users in diverse sectors spanning from hygiene and sanitary products to filters and electrotechnical papers.
Growth opportunities for these businesses are healthy thanks to the technical characteristics of the products coupled with the needs of both infrastructure expansion and maintenance or upgrades of existing power grids.
Abrasive backings and fine art paper
Abrasive backings are specialty papers that are used as a substrate for abrasive products used both in industrial and do-it yourself (DIY) sanding applications ranging from grinding to super fine finishing operations. Ahlstrom-Munksjö is well positioned in this market and offers a complete range of backings, including a variety of grades tailored for each application.
A large customer segment for abrasive backings is the automotive industry, which was extremely strong in 2017. Growing sales of new vehicles drive demand for grinding and sanding products that require backings from Ahlstrom-Munksjö. The construction industry represents another important customer segment where demand strengthened. As a consequence of growing demand, one paper machine in France was converted in order to expand available capacity.
The business also includes fine art papers under the brand name Arches, used for watercolor, oil painting and drawing as well as art publishing and paper for writing and printing.
At the Brazilian unit in Jacarei, Ahlstrom-Munksjö manufactures coated label and flexible packaging papers, as well as printing and writing papers, which primarily serve the South American market.
The customer base for these products consists of manufacturers of self-adhesive laminates for label, tape, graphics applications, convertors of flexible packaging, and printers, publishers and distributors. Although demand in Brazil remained soft during the year, Ahlstrom-Munksjö was able to replace domestic sales with exports to other markets in South as well as North America