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Sat, Oct 21, 2017 17:20
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Fort Smith Glatfelter facility to begin production in November

FORT SMITH, Arkansas (From news reports) -- Glatfelter, the York, Pa.-based global manufacturer of specialty papers and fiber-based engineered materials, soon will begin making its sought-after "airlaid" products in Fort Smith for the "wipes and hygiene markets."

The company announced in March 2016 it would spend $80 million to repurpose the unused Mitsubishi building at 8201 Chad Colley Blvd. in Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing for what has become its 13th manufacturing facility.

Glatfelter is creating at least 80 new, high-tech manufacturing jobs in Fort Smith. The company projected in March 2016 it would be up and running in Fort Smith by late 2017 or early 2018.

"Hopefully soon, and I have to catch myself, we'll stop calling it the former Mitsubishi building and start calling it what it is for Fort Smith," Chris Astley, a senior vice president for Glatfelter, told about 120 attendees of the monthly Q&A meeting at DoubleTree Hilton in downtown Fort Smith on Tuesday.

Astley, who also serves as president of Glatfelter's Advanced Airlaid Materials Business Unit, said ignition will be turned on for the first "airlaid" materials line in Fort Smith sometime next month.

In the past couple weeks, Glatfelter has hired about 20 more employees, Astley said. Earlier this spring, Astley wrote in a progress report to the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce that 13 of its new team members for the Fort Smith facility have been traveling to Glatfelter's "airlaid" facilities in Gatineau, Canada, and Falkenhagen, Germany, "to learn new skills in preparation for training new team members." It was also noted then the company anticipated hiring most of its new Glatfelter employees in the second half of this year.

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