Investing for future growth: Loparex doubles its poly-coating capacity
Once known as Van Gelder Coatings, Loparex B.V. in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, part of the Loparex Corporation headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, is a leading producer of paper and film silicone-coated and poly-coated release liners. As part of their corporate strategy, Loparex continues to align their operating and market strategies with changing market needs. The demand for poly-coated release liners has been growing rapidly in Europe. In order to address this growth in demand, Loparex has invested in a new high-speed tandem extruder. This investment will enhance Loparex’s capability to provide high-quality solutions to the global release liner market.
Poly-coated papers and films are liners that have been pre-treated for adhesion and then coated on one or both sides with a polymer. These polymers are typically LDPE, HDPE or PP for higher-temperature resistance. It is critical that the coatings are smooth, consistent and adhere well to the base substrate, as these semi-finished products are then used as the base for the next phase, silicone coating.
The new extruder will not only add capacity but also flexibility, improving Loparex’s service levels, response time, and efficiency/effectiveness of supply, allowing them to become an even better supplier to their customers.
After years of steady growth, Loparex had reached a crucial point at which a decision needed to be made: invest to create a significant change in capacity or optimise the existing business. After careful consideration, it was decided that investing in new capacity was the best solution to meet market demand and to support the growth of their customers. Poly-coated release liners are used in highly demanding segments and require a great deal of customisation. Being close to the customer for production and development is therefore a key attribute to success.
There is also an element of confidence and conviction when it comes to investment: the confidence in the future success of the market you are operating in, as well as the confidence you have in your own ability to address those needs. This investment is a clear message to customers and suppliers – and Loparex’s own team – that the Company is investing for the future.
Understanding the market
Before a decision could be made to invest in new capacity, there had to be a clear business case which could only be made with a good understanding of the market, the customers, the expectations and the real potential for growth. Loparex has a very good understanding of the market and the 3 major industry groups which are driving the demand for poly-coated release liners: graphics, medical and tape. Applications in these markets require high-quality release liners that provide excellent lay-flat, moisture resistance, dust-free slitting and die-cutting.
This segment continues to show attractive growth levels and new application developments which require poly-coated release liners. Adhesive-coated printed PVC films are used for the growing market of advertising used on trucks, buses and buildings. In addition, vehicle wrapping is used to provide enhanced vehicle protection and/or unique graphics for vehicle branding.
This market is growing fast and is expected to continue to grow ahead of inflation. Applications used in the areas of advanced wound care, ostonomy and transdermal drug delivery systems will drive a large portion of the expected growth. Many of these applications require high-quality and innovative poly-coated release liner solutions.
The specialty applications in the tape market continue to experience growth as self-adhesive solutions replace traditional joining methods. Though glassines are often considered to be the release liner of choice in the tape industry, there are many applications that require moisture resistance, lay-flat and special surface attributes such as embossing and air egress, for which poly-coated liners are the most suitable solution.
The decision was made to partner with Korean machine builder SAM for the new extruder. The SAM team has a global presence, supplying machinery to more than 30 countries and the knowledge and capabilities to ensure that the new extruder will be delivered and commissioned on time. The new high-performance line from SAM will be operational in early 2020 and will incorporate the latest printing, primer coating and extrusion technology advancements.
For more information, visit www.loparex.com.