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AWA conference maps the status quo and future directions in the different market segments

Specialty papers are today a focus for growth in the paper industry -- a reflection of their diversity, profitability, and environmental credentials, which together make them a competitive alternative to petrochemical-based substrates. The AWA Specialty Paper Industry Conference – this year to be held in Chicago, USA, 8-9 October – is a real opportunity to review current industry status, across the many and varied market segments that specialty papers serve, from packaging to decorative laminates. All concerned, at a variety of levels, in the market -- pulp and paper producers, chemical and equipment suppliers, converters, distributors, end users, and industry consultants -- can benefit from attending the event.

Future opportunities

Says conference chairperson Corey Reardon, President and CEO of AWA Alexander Watson Associates: ‘The global specialty paper and paperboard market exceeds 22,500,000 tonnes annually and accounts for approximately 7% of all papers and paperboards. It is growing, thanks to the increasing preference for renewable-source-based and recyclable materials, especially for packaging and food service applications. This is a significant opportunity to compete with the alternative substrates that have eroded paper’s overall market share as developments in raw materials and process equipment come online – improving quality and reducing manufacturing costs while maintaining paper’s environmental credentials.’

Conference program

The formal conference program opens with an expert market analysis and overview from Corey Reardon, signaling keynote presentations on various markets and applications from such luminaries as PwC’s European Leader, Forest, Paper and Packaging Practice, Ian Murdoch; Sappi’s Fine Paper’s Dr Laura Thompson, Director, Technical Marketing and Sustainable Development North America, and UPM Specialty Papers’ John Smedley, Vice President, North America.

Materials and processes

The program goes on to consider a broad platform of materials and processes, including a paper on the use of renewable nanotechnology to improve release base paper performance from Robert Hamilton, President, Stirling Consulting; and case studies on the acoustic drying technology for paper and film coating developed by Heat Technologies Inc., presented by HTI’s President, Gene Plavnik.

Major market segments

Moving on to major market segments on the second day, the conference hosts a paper from Gorham Paper and Tissue, and goes on to examine in depth the extensive challenges and opportunities for paper in packaging and foods. David France, Packaging Research Fellow at ConAgra Foods, contributes an end user’s viewpoint. A review of current status in security papers and a panel discussion on new developments in the industry complete the agenda.

Complementary tabletop exhibition

Complemented by a tabletop exhibition and networking opportunities – particularly the cocktail reception on the first evening – the conference is sponsored by market-leading companies in the industry, including Platinum Sponsor UPM Specialty Papers and Silver Sponsor Heat Technologies Inc.

Full details of the Specialty Paper Industry Conference 2013, taking place at the Hyatt Rosemont Hotel, Rosemont, Chicago, USA, on 8-9 October 2013, are available via the AWA website,, where it is also possible to register online. The brochure can be downloaded here.

The event is a timely complement to AWA Alexander Watson Associates’ recently-published in-depth Specialty Papers & Paperboards Global Sourcebook 2013, which may also be ordered via the AWA website. Conference participants will receive a special 20% discount on the study.

For any questions concerning the conference, please contact Ingrid Bakker,