APPLETON, Wis. (AP) - When Appleton Papers Inc. changed its name to Appvion Inc. last year, the company told the world it was much more than a paper company.
The name is derived from the words “applied” and “innovation.”
“Our roots are definitely in the paper industry, and paper is still a big and important part of what we do, but it’s not the only thing we do,” Appvion spokesman Bill Van Den Brandt told Post-Crescent Media (https://post.cr/1o1VrVg). “Our focus is not really making paper. It’s making paper special.”
Appvion, an employee-owned company, applies coatings to paper to give it special properties. Its thermal paper, which changes color when exposed to heat, often is used for cash register or gas pump receipts.
“When they ask if you want a receipt, yes or no, we always say yes because typically that’s our paper,” Van Den Brandt said.
One of Appvion’s signature products is NCR Paper, a carbonless paper the company introduced 60 years ago. It uses microencapsulation to form an image on multipart forms through the use of pressure.
Microencapsulation is the process of encasing a core material like a dye inside a tiny shell. Van Den Brandt compared encapsulation to an M&M, in which chocolate is encased in a hard candy coating.
Appvion’s NCR Paper is the world’s No. 1 selling brand of carbonless paper, but since the mid-1990s, demand for carbonless paper has declined with advances in digital technologies.
The company’s expertise in microencapsulation, though, has created inroads to other products and industries. Appvion contracts with Procter & Gamble to encapsulate perfume for laundry products produced by the consumer-goods company.
Appvion also is working to encapsulate phase-change material for use in the walls or ceilings of a building to help regulate the temperature. The material absorbs heat during the day and releases the heat at night.
“We’re not the only ones that do this,” Van Den Brandt said, “but it’s a technology that we feel has a lot of promise.”
Van Den Brandt said an emphasis on research and innovation allows Appvion to stay abreast of changes in the paper industry and to expand into new industries.
Appvion has been working with the city of Appleton to build a new research center on its East Wisconsin Avenue campus to bring its three research and development labs under one roof. The center would accommodate about 80 scientists, engineers and technologists.
The company hasn’t given the go-ahead yet. Van Den Brandt said the decision could be made next year, depending upon financing and business conditions.
“It would be a showcase facility that would support our efforts in product innovation,” he said.
Information from: Post-Crescent Media, https://www.postcrescent.com
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