In June 2013, Archroma launched Leucophor® ACK, at that time the most concentrated, urea-free, disulpho liquid available to paper makers in Europe. The patented, new-generation optical brightener is primarily intended for stock application in sized and unsized papers. This unique product quickly gained strong acceptance in the market. Since then it has been selected by more than 30 leading producers of printing and writing paper for use in their regular production.
Encouraged by this success, Archroma has continuously extended its portfolio of concentrated OBAs over the past three years. The company launched several new concentrated products to supply the other regions and cover the most important application areas. Today Archroma produces concentrated OBAs in its plants of Resende (Brazil), Martin, South Carolina (United States), and Prat de Llobregat (Spain) as the market trends towards concentrated products.
Substantial benefits for paper makers beyond reduced transport costs
While reduced transport costs and related CO2 emissions are obvious benefits for paper makers, concentrated optical brightening agents also offer many more advantages compared to conventional products. Customers need significantly less storage space for such materials at their sites, allowing them either to store more of the same product or to use precious storage space for something else.
The new chemistry also generates new opportunities for application cost savings. From an efficiency perspective, paper makers will benefit from using less active agent whilst achieving good brightness or whiteness for their application. The highly substantive, ultra-concentrated stilbene brightener Leucophor® ACK liq is an excellent illustration, as it exhibits impressively high build up, even at extremely low concentrations, thanks to its strength and high affinity to the paper fiber.
A recent trial at a European producer of high-white-grade office paper demonstrated that the mill could save an estimated USD 150,000 annually by switching from a conventional OBA to a concentrated disulphonated product (keeping runnability and whiteness level of 170 CIE constant). Besides state-of-the-art effectiveness, concentrated OBAs also are satisfying the most demanding environmental requirements. As an example, Leucophor® ACK is REACH registered and fulfils the requirements of Nordic Swan, EU Eco Flower and BfR (Bundesamt für Risikobewertung).
Continuously innovating around concentrates
With the aim of offering customers further innovations in the area of concentrated OBAs, Archroma’s research and development team based in Reinach, Switzerland, is continuously testing new concepts and developing new products. For example, in June 2016 Archroma launched Leucophor® ACS liq, a concentrated, urea-containing, disulphonated OBA that had been missing for paper makers in the European market. This product is particularly suited for stock application and for use in coating formulations that contain PVOH, CMC or casein as a secondary binder. With this latest product launch, Archroma is complementing its range and further strengthening its position as the expert in concentrated optical brightening agents.