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The 2023 agenda has been announced!

Meet the speakers from Mars, Dow Inc., Suzano America, Canopy Planet, Mohawk, Paradigm, Bim Bam Boo, Ingredion, Michelman, Ahlstrom, American Forest & Paper Association, Pro-Con, UMV Coating Systems AB, Trinseo LLC, and more!

Join the included pre-event happy hour, sponsored by Domtar. Included with your ticket! 

Add the workshop, An Overview of the Current Landscape: A More Sustainable & Specialty Paper-Focused World, for just $399! Featuring speakers from BASF, Ahlstrom, Smithers, and Mantech Enterprises, Inc. 

Attend in person or on-demand, more details below.

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Please click on the dates below to see each day's program!

An Overview of the Current Landscape: A More Sustainable & Specialty Paper-Focused World
Part 1
This part of the workshop will examine several aspects that influence the sector and highlight the main market trends in terms of principle products and end uses.

Topics will include:
  • Global factors and influences that will shape future development of the specialty paper business
  • Specialty paper’s position in the context of the overall paper industry
  • Overview of the key end use specialty paper market and the factors driving success
  • Sustainability considerations and credentials

Steve Ottone | Industry Expert
Networking Break – Sponsored by BASF
Part 2: Panel Discussion – Opportunities and Growth as the Industry Moves Forward
The specialty paper sector continues to develop and innovate so that it can utilize new opportunities in line with technological and societal changes. This panel will bring together representatives from across the supply chain and explore opportunities and challenges for the sector in a post-pandemic, sustainability-conscious, and climate changing world.
Moderator: Kelly Helein, VP Business Development, Pro-Con
  • Steve Ottone, Industry Expert
  • John Adams, Vice President, Precision Coatings, Ahlstrom
  • Simon Foster, Head of Global Marketing, Resins for Paper, BASF
  • More panelists coming soon!
Enhancing Safety, Accuracy, and Efficiency in Paper Machine Operations Through Automated Tail Threading Systems
Safety is a top priority for paper mills as they strive to comply with regulations and provide a safe work environment for their employees. To achieve this, mills are adopting automated systems for replacing manual tail threading. Mantech Enterprises Inc. has been a leading developer of reliable automated tail threading and cutting solutions since 1995. The presentation will highlight the positive impact of automated threading systems on safety records and operational excellence. By implementing these systems, mills can establish a secure workplace, meet regulatory requirements, and enhance overall operational efficiency in paper machine operations.
David Liem | Technical Sales Manager, Mantech Enterprises Inc.
Welcome Reception
Sponsored by Domtar
We're kicking off the 2023 Specialty Papers US Conference with an off-site welcome reception! Let us welcome you to Milwaukee with local craft brews, light appetizers and an opportunity to network with your peers prior to the conference.

This welcome reception is included in your ticket!

Registration and Opening Remarks
Registration Open – Set the Stage Sponsored by Sekisui
Opening Remarks
Rebecca List, Conference Producer, Smithers
Session I: The Specialty Paper Sector – Current Landscape & Future Trends
< Session Description >
This session will discuss the current and future landscape of the industry, as well as opportunities for growth and collaboration.
The Future of Packaging: The Impact of PFAS and Single Use Plastic Bans
Current packaging solutions are under pressure by government legislation, NGO’s and brands. This presentation discusses these market forces and their impact on future packaging solutions in light of PFAS bans, SUP legislation, micro-plastic concerns, and the focus on recyclability and compostability. How does paper play into these solutions, and what does the industry need to do going forward to capture these new packaging opportunities?
Jim Fogg | NA Bus Dev Mgr - Barriers and Coatings, Solenis, LLC
Session II: Important Updates in Regulations & Legislations
< Session Description >
This session will address crucial regulations and updates within the industry.
PANEL: Regulations & Important Updates in the Specialty Paper Industry
This panel will explore the latest developments, challenges, and hot topics, discussing how they are currently affecting the industry and what we can anticipate moving forward.
Moderator: Abby Sztein, Senior Director, Government Affairs, American Forest & Paper Association Member
  • Panelists coming soon!
Networking Break – Sponsored by Majiq
Session III: Innovations in Coatings & Alternative Fibers
< Session Description >
This session will cover the importance of barrier coatings and alternative fibers, along with recent updates and new findings.
Designing Coatings Based on Waterborne Mechanical Dispersions for Sustainable Paper Based Packaging
Consumer demand for sustainable packaging is fueling interest and growth in paper packaging, but challenges remain for paper to deliver barrier and process performance equivalent to incumbent technologies. In this work, we present barrier coating solutions based on waterborne mechanical dispersions that solve multiple challenges in paper packaging applications. The composition and rheology of dispersions are tailored to achieve good film-formation and the right coating morphology for barrier to water (liquid and vapor). They also offer amenability to customization via formulation and yield coated paper with efficient processing on high-speed packaging lines with features such as high/broad heat-seal/hot-tack and low coefficient of friction (CoF), while balancing all other key metrics, such as block, shelf stability, foaming, calcium stability, and recoatability, etc. Papers coated with the new dispersions also meet necessary food contact requirements and are excellent for repulpability and recyclability enabling improved sustainability.
Hanze Ying | Associate Research Scientist, Dow Inc.
Breaking New Grounds with Eucalyptus Fiber: The Revolutionary Impact on Pulp and Paper Industry
In 1961, Suzano was the first company in the world to produce pulp and paper using 100% eucalyptus fiber on an industrial scale. Since then, eucalyptus fiber has become the most widely available market kraft pulp in the world, used in over 40 different types of paper. Suzano is at the forefront of the industry, leading in terms of both innovation and sustainability. In fact, the company has recently developed several new 100% eucalyptus-based products to reduce their carbon footprint and promote plastic replacement.
Suzano’s market pulp product portfolio now includes bleached, unbleached, and flash-dried market pulp, all made from sustainable, 100% plantation-based Brazilian eucalyptus. Furthermore, the company’s strength platform allows for added strength eucalyptus to be used, enabling the creation of new paper and packaging grades with reduced brightness levels and improved LCAs compared to standard high bright products.
Suzano’s in-house innovations in packaging, such as Greenbag and LIN products, showcase the potential of products produced with 100% eucalyptus fiber and 0% long fiber in areas typically dominated by long fiber in the product furnish. Additionally, today some specialty paper producers around the world prefer eucalyptus fiber for the production of grades such as glassine, decor, release liner, filtration, and specialty raw stock for coated materials.
This presentation aims to provide attendees with a comprehensive understanding of eucalyptus market pulp, including its growth and development, the different types available, and the various applications and possibilities it offers.
Bryan Gamble | Paper Sales Representative – North America, Suzano America
Networking Lunch – Sponsored by Kuraray
Presentation & Panel: The Future of Alternative Fibres Within the Paper & Packaging Industry

Neva Murtha, Next Generation Solutions Campaigner, Canopy Planet

As eco-conscious consumers and businesses look to reduce their environmental footprints, alternative fibre solutions such as hemp, wheat straw, barley straw, and rice stubble are becoming an appealing choice for leading brands and paper and packaging manufacturers. Through collaborative efforts with industry innovators, companies are making exciting strides in researching and developing more eco-friendly products, and in doing so, strengthening their market presence.
Join Canopy and industry experts from Mohawk Fine Papers, Nafici Environmental Resources, Paradigm, and Bim Bam Boo to learn more about these game-changing Next Generation Solutions. Hear from Canopy about their work with brands and producers to rethink packaging and create new tools to integrate greener, more sustainable materials that still deliver on quality and performance. From there, panelists will share their experiences navigating the world of alternative fibres – where we are currently, what the future can hold, and the many different avenues that can be gone down within the space, from trials and R&D to commercial scale production.


Moderator: Neva Murtha, Next Generation Solutions Campaigner, Canopy Planet

  • Gavin Gaynor, VP, Research and Development, Mohawk
  • Ralph Bianculli, CEO, Paradigm
  • NER
  • Zoë Levin, CEO/Founder, Bim Bam Boo

Neva Murtha | Next Generation Solutions Campaigner, Canopy Planet
Session IV: Paper Chemistries & Processing Advancements Leading Us into the Future
< Session Description >
This session will dive into new developments in chemistries and processes within the industry.
Paper based barrier products achieved in two coating stations by new concept
It is well known that multiple barrier layers give optimum performance. In this light, what can be done to get good barrier products if the production is limited to two blade- or rod coating stations, by means of minor modification. One concept, in the actual case, is to install simultaneous film transfer application in the first coating station, enabling double side differential treatment there. Applying barrier dispersion on the film side and coating color for print purpose or alternatively barrier on the other side. This station followed by a blade or Rod Coater. A concept still offering the possibility to produce existing products in the same way as before. Pilot trials are performed at UMV Coating Systems to demonstrate the properties for two different example products that can be achieved by the concept.
Daniel Ragnarsson | Commercial Director, UMV Coating Systems AB
Networking Break sponsored by Dow
Multi-Functional Barrier Coating Systems Created by Multi-layer Curtain Coating
Functional coatings are applied to paper and paperboard substrates to provide resistance, or a barrier, against media such as oil and grease (OGR), water, water vapor (MVTR) and oxygen, for applications such as food packaging, food service and other non-food packaging.  Typical functional barrier coatings can be created by applying a solid coating or extruded film, a solvent based-coating or a water-based coating to the paper substrate using various means of coating applicators.  Today, there is increasing interest in developing recyclable and more sustainable approaches to producing these types of packages. 
This presentation focuses on water-based barrier coatings (WBBC) for OGR, water, MVTR and oxygen barrier performance, with the emphasis on creating coated systems that can achieve more than one barrier property, using multi-layer curtain coating (MLCC), in one application step.  Curtain coating has emerged as the premier low-impact, contour coating application method for coated paper and paperboard.  Significant research work to date and production experience on specialty papers and paperboard has focused on conventional coating techniques or single layer curtain coating.  More recent work has shown that multi-layer curtain coating has many advantages over these other methods.  One advantage of lower material cost is accomplished with the use of functional chemistry in confined layers where performance is optimized within the coating layered structure.  This allows applying consecutive layers of different polymer types, in one step, to achieve the appropriate performance. 
Don Ventresca | Binders Sr. Application Development Specialist, Trinseo LLC
Primient introduces a functional, bio-based alternative for key OGR applications
With sales of C6 fluorochemistries (PerFluoro Alkyl Substances – PFAS) concluding in 2023, and single use plastic waste concerns on the rise, alternative oil and grease resistant (OGR) barriers are reaching new levels of demand.
OGR alternatives must meet a high standard for safety, performance, value, and sustainability. To date, starch has been found to meet these requirements for uncreased barriers; however, due to its brittle nature in ambient conditions, starch barriers typically fail when creasing is applied.
Primient researchers have recently developed a starch alternative which performs as a functional, biobased OGR replacement across both creased and uncreased applications.
Brad Hartong | Applications Development Scientist, Primient
Session V: SPUS Student Pitching Hour & Poster Session – Sponsored by Solenis
< Session Description >
Students will have 5 minutes to pitch their research. Following the Pitching Hour, students will have a space to display their research and answer any questions at the Networking Reception.
Introduction from Solenis and Moderator
Networking Reception – Sponsored by Archroma
Included in your ticket!
Registration and Opening Remarks
Registration Open
Opening Remarks - Set the Stage Sponsored by Sekisui
Rebecca List, Conference Producer, Smithers

Session VI: The Importance of Sustainability, Innovation, and Collaboration
Rethinking Sustainability: Bio-Based PHA Dispersion Technology for Sustainable Paper Packaging
Sustainability implies we are closing the loop on the cycle of a particular aspect of our life experience.  The cycle begins with the need and desire to improve performance in a responsible and renewable way.  One certainty is that this sustainable approach results in something different, different in how we must act, collaborate and think about our new sustainable solutions.  This discussion explores the collaborative development of innovative bio-based polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) aqueous disperison barrier technology to displace fossil based chemistries, advancing sustainability goals and providing end of life options for paper based packaging. 
PANEL: The Power of Partnerships: How Best to Keep Those Sustainability Goals
Companies across the supply chain are creating sustainability goals and moving toward more sustainable materials every day. This panel will discuss how working together to use E&D and innovations to create dynamic partnerships leads to better sustainability and achieving goals. This panel will bring together experts to talk about:
  • How mills, converters, and materials suppliers can all work together
  • A look at current goals within their companies and importance in the industry
  • How goals can be met and exceeded within sustainability plans
Moderator: Scott McNutt, Consultant, Nextep Partners LLC

  • Eadaoin Quinn, Sustainable Packaging Senior Manager – Americas, Mars
  • Scott Hyland, Applications Development Director, Ingredion
  • More panelists coming soon!
Presentation to be Announced
Abstract & Speaker Coming Soon
Networking Break – Sponsored by JOH Enterprises
Presentation to be Announced
MAJIQ Presentation
Networking Lunch – Sponsored by Majiq
Session VII: Thinking Outside the Box: Packaging Design & Materials
PANEL: Designing for Recyclability, Reuse, and Future Innovation in Paper Packaging
This panel will address struggles and comments from surveyed packaging engineers who are looking for innovative solutions for packaging design. How can the paper industry help provide or invest in new novel technologies to advance package design? How is the ever-evolving regulatory landscape changing the way that engineers design for recyclability? Panelists from different sectors will address opportunities for the industry to consider.
Moderator: Coming Soon
  • Carl Houtman, PhD, Research Chemical Engineer, U.S. Forest Service
  • More Panelists coming soon!
Session VIII: Technologies & Testing to Push the Industry Forward
< Session Description >
This session will dive into new and exciting technologies that are looking to transform the industry.
Bridging the barrier from plastic to paper; gas barrier technologies to meet sustainability and food packaging performance challenges
Additional Presenters:
  • Vitor Godoy, PVOH Technical Service & Development Engineer, Kuraray
  • David Chacon, PLANTIC Technical Service & Market Development Engineer, Kuraray
Regarding sustainability, ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) based plastic films, containers, and coated papers are common for cutting packaging weight, preserving food quality, extending shelf life, and reducing food waste. Additionally, EVOH resins have emerged as the gas barrier of choice for recyclability and monomaterial packaging, favored over foil and polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC). Kuraray’s product portfolio advances these sustainability value propositions to now include repulping, biodegradability, and bio-sourcing, through its polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) and PLANTIC™ starch-based natural polymer, aqueous and thermoplastic technologies. Case studies of coffee and dry food packaging demonstrate grease barrier, and the comparative high gas and aroma barrier properties of EVOH, PVOH, and PLANTIC™ coated paper structures. Third-party trial results have led to certified repulpability and recyclability performance. Kuraray therefore bridges its expertise from plastic barrier packaging to paper. It expands its commercial portfolio in gas barrier technology to help paper converters meet the food packaging performance and sustainability metric challenges being committed to by retailers and brand owners.
Pablo Garcia | Market Development Manager, Kuraray
Fireside Chat: The Relationship Between Recycling, Composting, and Technology – What the Future Could Hold
Technology is constantly evolving, and it can help companies improve recycling, become more sustainable, and effectively compost. This conversation will dive into the important relationship between technology and sustainability, addressing the current landscape and what could be possible as we look to the future.
  • Nuha Siddiqui, CEO and Co-Founder, erthos
  • More panelists coming soon!
Novel Corrugate In Machine Direction By Novel Technology Without Shrinking Web Width
The innovative paper technology Papermorphosis® was originally created for imparting tailor-made stretch properties to papers and make them at the same time more resisting before breaking under tear as also TEA values are dramatically increasing. This technology is not free to be licensed anymore for the North American Territory.
Apart from this, also a novel corrugate in machine direction was generated out of standard papers without the need of stretch in such base papers. The ingoing web width of the novel longitudinal corrugate is not shrinking by the treatment. The waves are stable, the resulting corrugate can be rolled up or can be directly combined to liners or traditional corrugate. The process can be carried out either in-line at the paper producer or off-line at the converter.
This opens an interesting perspective of cost and material saving in the growing and sustainability oriented area of corrugated packaging.
Marion Sterner | Head of R&D, Gruppo X di X Gruppo srl
Closing Remarks by Steve Ottone, Industry Expert