Ahlstrom Advances Base Paper Technology to Develop Replacement Solutions for Plastic and Film Packaging

Through continued innovation and collaboration with brand owners, Ahlstrom has identified specific technology enabling highly developed base papers – the key to solving the barrier requirements in flexible packaging, while still utilizing the inherent end-of-life benefits that paper has to offer. Ahlstrom has the unique set of capabilities and wide breadth of technical applications to allow them to develop some of the strongest performing base papers available.

“Paper substrates can be engineered to exploit the inherent value of cellulose itself,” explained Zack Leimkuehler, Vice President Business Development for Ahlstrom. “Cellulose by itself is a very good barrier, and highly developed base papers can deliver barrier properties.”

Paper is an ideal material for flexible packaging applications, and already has a broad field-of-use from good flexibility and folding characteristics to printabilty. Paper is easily sealable and glueable, laminating well to other structures. In addition, paper functions effectively through challenging converting processes.

Through their research, Ahlstrom has continued to advance its base paper development to achieve barrier properties which are fundamental to unlocking the sustainability benefits paper can bring to flexible packaging applications. Base paper development and optimization dramatically improves paper performance in barrier properties.

“The base papers we have developed and continue to advance, are the best to create flexible packaging with combined barrier technology,” Leimkuehler continued. “The end-use packaging applications we have commercialized are the first in the world to exhibit all the necessary attributes needed to replace traditional plastic-based structures. We have already developed and launched the ability to solve the substitution for PFAS with our proprietary FluoroFree® technology, demonstrating grease-barrier equivalent to that of historic performance. As an example, using this knowledge we have unlocked the potential of replacing plastic-based components in a traditional pet food bag with materials that can maintain freshness and storage while providing a curbside recyclable solution.”

“We are well positioned to push the boundaries of what fiber-based flexible packaging can do,” said, Robin Guillaud, Executive Vice President Sustainability, Innovation, and Marketing. “A constant process of base paper innovation, product development and design is in Ahlstrom’s DNA and enables us to respond to the needs of our customers, which in turn are affected by end-user behavior. This enables flexibility throughout the value chain and speed-to-market of sustainable packaging solutions and continues to position Ahlstrom as the preferred specialty sustainable packaging supplier in the marketplace.”

To learn more about Ahlstrom’s development journey, view their white paper at: https://www.ahlstrom.com/Media/articles/highly-engineered-base-papers

Ahlstrom in brief
Ahlstrom is a global leader in combining fibers into sustainable specialty materials. Our purpose is to Purify and Protect, with Every Fiber, for a Sustainable World. Our vision is to be the Preferred Sustainable Specialty Materials Company for all our stakeholders. We serve five growing and distinctive end markets, which form the basis for our five divisions: Filtration, Food & Consumer Packaging, Healthcare, Building Materials, and Technical Materials. Our pro forma net sales 2021 for continuing operations amounted to EUR 2.6 billion and we employ some 7,000 people. Read more at www.ahlstrom.com