Ahlstrom commits to more sustainable abrasives

Ahlstrom commits to more sustainable abrasives

Large, medium and small size abrasive manufacturers, suppliers and distributors have joined the SEAM program to set an European sustainability standard and to find the right balance between environmental efficiency, production performance and labor safety.This program aims also to help consumers to identify more easily sustainable solutions thanks to a new label. 

A concrete commitment in favour of sustainability

As part of resource-intensive industry Ahlstrom has a particular responsibility to improve environmental performance throughout its operations and supply chain. We work in close collaboration with our suppliers and pursue continues improvement in our operations and are conscious that it is our people and communities around us that make it possible.

To support this direction, Ahlstrom has become a member of the FEPA's SEAM program. Ahlstrom is committed in the abrasive industry and also convinced that the program can bring forward positive collaboration throughout the value chain. It will facilitate progress in sustainability in the entire coated and bonded abrasives industry.


A front runner in the abrasive industry

Ahlstrom’s plant in Arches, France meets the sustainability performance requirement set by the SEAM label and is committed to go beyond them. The plant is undertaking day-to-day actions relating to energy and water consumption, including management of waste water and tight control of impregnation levels. Through third party audited internationally recognized certification system, the plant is certified in ISO 14001 environmental management and ISO 50001 in energy management.



Significant actions in Arches

Between 2009 and 2018, the rate of water recycling at Arches plant increased from 17% to 40%, which translates into an equivalent reduction in the quantity of water extracted from natural resources.

Formaldehyde was abandoned in 2015 and 100 % of abrasive backings produced are formaldehyde-free : a genuine industrial feat!

Our papers and composites are at a minimum certified as FSC® controlled wood. This certification ensures that wood fibers are sourced from responsibly managed forests. Going forward, Ahlstrom is planning to introduce an internal tool to help raise awareness and measure carbon footprint at new product developments.

Towards a more circular economy and sustainable everyday life

In the effort to transform the linear processes into regenerative circular processes, the abrasive industry has to investigate how to seperate and recycle the different components back in the supply-chain.

Paper backings may play an important role in fulfilling this objective. With our renewable and recyclable material, we can support our customers in their journey towards a more sustainable everyday life. Our range of paper is one ot the largest on the market and provides renewable alternatives, including for heavy-duty calibration.


TEX-STYLE™, the ideal substitute for cloth

The use of cloth backings has traditionally been justified for its strength in heavy-duty machines although being impregnated with resins containing high levels of formaldehydes, which are very volatile organic compounds.

In 2018 Ahlstrom brought to market TEX-STYLE™, the first innovation in the RE-VOLUTION abrasive range. This new composite with an impressively strong internal bond and tear strength is formaldehyde-free and match the performance measures of cloth backings and combination backings.

Latex papers, more sustainable than oil-saturated kraft papers

Ahlstrom has also developed alternative solutions to the oil-saturated kraft papers. Its Blue Line latex papers offer similar performance, such as wet strength and tear resistance, flexibility and rigidity, as well as stability, while at the same time providing larger environmental benefits over oil-saturated kraft papers. Ahlstrom’s latex papers simplify the production process for its customer by eliminating the impregnation stage while enabling new colors.

Surfaces and performances equivalent to polyester films

Choosing polyester films, a fossil-based plastic, for the quality of its surface is no longer justified. In this segment, Ahlstrom offers paper backings with ever more sophisticated barrier, surfacing and smoothness solutions. These alternatives are perfectly suited for coating of finer and finer grit, down to P5000, equivalent to 2.7 microns.

Supporting new sustainable developments in the abrasive industry

In the Abrasive business we work with our customers pushing back the boundaries of fibre to help them successfully negotiate necessary changes. Whatever the issues they face, we are is committed to supporting them with the implementation of solutions that will make their finished products more sustainable. We aim to move towards sustainable abrasives that are just as effective and economically viable as traditional ones.

In this segment, Ahlstrom has worked on backings that facilitate the use of low temperature resins, and we offer also new-generation multi-purpose barriers or custom backings that allow the use of aqueous binders rather solvent-based products.