A spunlace production line will be the first addition to Ahlstrom’s new plant in Paulinia, Brazil, which is currently being constructed. The new line will focus on products for the wipes market; the company is expected to participate in the baby, personal care, industrial and household wipes segments, as well as having production capabilities to manufacture medical and industrial spunlace products. Start-up is planned for the third quarter of 2008.
This move follows Ahlstrom’s October 2006 investment of €17 million in a new wiping fabric production line in Louveira, Brazil. “During the months following our announcement, we determined that this location was not suitable for our planning and ambitions,” explained Helen Viazmensky, business director, Latin America, Wipes.
In other recent company news, last month Ahlstrom celebrated the addition of a €30 million production line at its facility in Green Bay, WI through an official dedication ceremony. With its strategic location close to North American customers and converters, the new line offers innovative and technically sophisticated solutions for a range of wipes end user products.
“The new expanded capacity recognizes the strength and growth potential of the dynamic wipes market, as well as Ahlstrom’s intention to invest in technically superior products for next-generation applications,” said Martin Davis, vice president and general manager of Ahlstrom’s global wipes business. “We continue to invest in capacity and capabilities that give our customers a competitive edge,” he said.
The Green Bay plant was acquired in 2004 and became a key production site for Ahlstrom’s wipes product line. Ahlstrom made a number of investments at the plant with the aim of broadening and diversifying its product offering to the growing wipes market. Investments include a new capability for the production of cotton-containing products, as well as increasing capacity of its spunlace line.
The investment on the new line began in May 2006, and started up in December, two weeks ahead of schedule. In addition to producing rayon/polyester spunlace materials, the new machine enables hydro-embossing, in-line printing, cotton blending and the design of composite structures.