Keeping Up with Consumer Demand

A new airlaid facility in Fort Smith supports Glatfelter’s position as a world leader in the personal care market.

Glatfelter’s purchase of a former Mitsubishi Building in Fort Smith set the groundwork for a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that will add much-needed capacity to meet North America’s strong demand for airlaid materials.

“Airlaid” refers to the paper-manufacturing process in which fibers are carried and formed to the structure of paper by air, rather than by water (as is used in traditional paper-making processes). The soft, dust-free, highly absorbent airlaid materials are used to produce household, personal care, and baby wipes; feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products; food pads; and napkins and disposable table coverings.

“Locating in Fort Smith puts us in with closer proximity to key suppliers and customers, and links us to highly efficient transportation routes across the [U.S.] South,” says Chris Astley, senior vice president of Glatfelter and president of the company’s Advanced Airlaid Materials Business Unit.

“The new location allows us to tap into the area’s high-quality workforce,” adds Astley. Up to 83 highly skilled manufacturing jobs will be created when production at the facility begins in early 2018.

This will be Glatfelter’s fifth North American manufacturing operation and first U.S.- based operation for its Advanced Airlaid Materials Business Unit.