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A Focal Point interview with Emily Williams

Early registration savings end Friday, September 29! 
Save $100 off the full registration fee  by registering online for the seventh annual Focal Point conference, set for October 24 at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Early bird registration is $300. See below interview for more information about the conference.

Emily Williams, Product Development Engineer for Michelman, leads their technical efforts for creating a compostable-coatings platform within the paper food service packaging industry. At Focal Point 2017, she'll be discussing the opportunities and challenges of recyclability and compostability as it pertains to barrier coatings.

WIST: Not all our audience may have heard of Michelman. Please can you give us a brief overview of the company and the solutions you provide in coated paper and films for food packaging and service? 
Emily Williams
Emily Williams: As a global developer and manufacturer of environmentally friendly and water-based advanced materials for industry, Michelman offers solutions for the coatings, printing and packaging, and industrial manufacturing markets. We are well known as an innovator in the development of barrier and functional coatings, as well as digital press primers that are used in the production of consumer and industrial packaging and paper products, labels and commercial printed materials. We maintain production facilities in North America, Europe and Asia, product development and technical service centers in several major global markets, and a worldwide team of highly trained industry experts.

For example, we have recently launched two new barrier coating solutions that provide oxygen and mineral oil migration protection for food packaging and service. Not only do these barriers help packaging extend shelf life and increase food safety, they also provide the packaging industry with sustainable options.  
WIST:  Demanding applications in oil and grease resistance have been met in large part by fluoropolymer formulations in the last few decades. There is currently a lot of innovation in fluoro-free oil and grease resistant solutions and a shift from fluoropolymer as being the go to coating. What are your observations of this movement and how are you responding to customer needs and requirements? 
Emily Williams:  Fluoropolymers have a perception issue with consumers, and in some cases, legislative action and/or regulatory concerns in regards to what materials are permitted for use. Brand owners and manufacturers are feeling significant pressure accordingly to move to alternative solutions.

Michelman is already in a position to offer water-based coating solutions that provide oil and grease resistance that are recyclable.  We are also aware of the desire for solutions that are recyclable and compostable and see that as an area of opportunity for the industry.
WIST:  We're delighted to have you in our speaker line-up for Focal Point 2017. Without giving away too much, can you preview what we can expect to hear from you on October 24?
Emily Williams:  From an industry perspective, I would like to open the dialogue and discuss the opportunities and challenges of developing barrier coatings that offer both recyclability and compostability. The industry as a whole has talked about creating recyclable and compostable packaging, but there is a real impetus for the value chain to collectively work together (from raw material supplier to brand owner) to create solutions that provide good performance at a reasonable cost. 
  • Brand-owner perspectives on paper-based food packaging and serviceware items
  • Insights from leading converting companies about future needs and trends in paper and           paperboard packaging
  • Innovations targeting superior performance 
  • End-of-life management practices that improve environmental footprints
  • Regulatory insights on paper-based food packaging and serviceware

  • Focal Point 2017 Sponsors





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