The worldwide casting business, as we know it today, had a somewhat simple beginning. It all started as a direct result of a “Flowered Shower Curtain”. Up until the mid 1940s all vinyl (PVC) webs were either coated, directly onto a fabric, or calendared, as an unsupported web. A PVC calendaring company, in Plainfield, Connecticut, by the name of Pervel Industries, wanted to make a calendared, unsupported PVC shower curtain with a floral print. However, it was impossible to align the individual printed colors correctly because the PVC film stretched during the printing process. The Pervel engineers found a unique way around the problem. If unsupported PVC stretches, what could they print that would not stretch? --- PAPER !!! Paper was designed to be printed on.
The concept of reverse printing the floral pattern on a paper web -- coating a liquid PVC plastisol on top of the print, fusing the PVC in an oven, and stripping away the fused PVC film away from the paper was totally novel. The ink should adhere to the PVC and maintain color registration. However, the paper needed a unique set of performance properties, namely release, that were all but unknown in the paper industry. S. D. Warren Company, as Sappi Warren was known at the time, was recognized as the leader in paper technology and was, as we still are today, driven by innovation and design. Between the unique problem solving of Pervel Industries and the innovative release paper design of S. D. Warren Company, a new industry was born.
S.D. Warren Company was started by Samuel Dennis Warren in 1854 in Westbrook, Maine. The company started by making newsprint out of old rags but with a dedicated focus on research and innovation, it grew to the second largest printing paper company in the United States. By the 1960’s S.D. Warren was operating 4 pulp and paper manufacturing operations throughout North America. The research center was staffed with more than 125+ scientists and has been responsible for some of the most influential technical advancements in the paper industry. The Warren Release Paper business, benefiting from this core focus on R&D, developed a release paper that allowed the “Wet Look” of patent leather to sweep the fashion markets of the mid 1960’s.
In 1967 Scott Paper company purchased S.D. Warren Company. Building on the continued R&D focus, a new breed of release papers was introduced in 1983. The Warren scientists developed a technology that for the first time allowed 100% micro-replication capability to exist within large scale paper web manufacturing. Ultracast® was born! Replicating every detail, every hair cell, and subtle gloss shift, it became near impossible to distinguish synthetic leather from its full grain counterpart. Sappi, a South African pulp and paper company, purchased the S.D. Warren Company in 1994. As part of Sappi, Sappi Warren Release papers continues to revolutionize the quality and availability of texture for the coated fabric and decorative laminate markets and remains the largest supplier of release papers globally.