UPM and the US-based pulp and paper producer Domtar Paper Company LLC have signed an agreement for UPM to acquire the total annual kraft lignin production of Domtar’s Plymouth Mill in North Carolina, USA as of January 2021. This step enables UPM to expand its role in the growing lignin business and different application segments. Following the agreement, UPM will increase its supply of kraft lignin by more than 20.000 metric tonnes annually. Part of the supply will be used to complement the existing UPM BioPivaTM product family. UPM lignin products will be sold globally through UPM’s sales network and are supported by strong technical expertise. “We are very pleased to have agreed this new supply agreement with Domtar. It enables us to expand our lignin business in the growing biochemicals market before the start-up of our Biorefinery in Leuna, Germany,” says Juuso Konttinen, Vice President, UPM Biochemicals.
Walk into the absorbent hygiene section of your local pharmacy or grocery store and you’ll see our Engineered Absorbent Materials (EAM) airlaid products everywhere.
“We produce absorbent cores for many hygiene products including diapers, adult incontinence products, sanitary napkins and bed pads used in hospitals and nursing homes,” says EAM facility manager Kim Sumner.
EAM is poised for continued growth and success for many years to come thanks to an expansion project announced earlier this year that will add a large-scale airlaid nonwovens production line to the Jesup, Ga.–based facility. When complete in 2022, the expansion will make Domtar the second-largest airlaid supplier in the United States and third-largest in the world.
Airlaid is a nonwoven material that falls between paper and textiles, according to Lori Venn, vice president of airlaid sales and marketing. Airlaid nonwoven products are widely used in today’s absorbent hygiene products because of their superior absorption properties.
“The fibers are made from fluff pulp, but they’re laid on top of each other instead of woven together,” she says. “And they’re bonded together using air instead of water, like in traditional paper and pulp making.”
Since opening in 1998, EAM has grown into a 132,000 square-foot facility with five production lines.
“We started with a handful of suppliers,” says Sumner. “Today we’re a large global company with 50 percent of our products shipped outside the United States.”
Lewis Fix, Domtar vice president, commercial pulp and airlaid, says EAM’s expansion project is an integral part of our long-term strategy to become a leading nonwovens provider.
“We are growing our position as a leading global absorbent materials and technology business that offers our customers both fluff pulp and airlaid nonwoven materials,” he says. “Combining EAM’s expertise with our world-class fluff pulp business will allow us to deliver value to our customers, and Domtar, for many years to come.”
EAM is widely known throughout the industry for its high-quality and innovative products, which are designed and tested by team of scientists and engineers in the facility’s state-of-the-art research complex.
“Our innovation is known worldwide,” says Venn. “Others have tried to copy it, but haven’t figured out how to do it.”