Investing In Ceramics: MetaConsort - A New Name In Decal Paper

January 3, 2001
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The Donside Paper Co. in Aberdeen, Scotland, has produced paper since 1694. While it is a relative newcomer to the ceramic industry, it introduced a new waterslide paper, called Consort Decal, in 1999.

Several thousand miles away in Neustadt, Germany, a company by the name of Hoffmann and Engelmann has produced decal paper for more than 300 years. The company is known throughout the world for its Meta range of waterslide and heat release decal papers. Its coating facility in Neustadt allows for the application of several coatings and the conditioning of the paper in a single pass—a feat that remains unmatched by most other decal producers.

In the summer of 2000, Hoffmann and Engelmann and Donside decided to combine their experience and expertise to form a new joint venture in Neustadt, which they called MetaConsort GmbH.

New Opportunities

The new company immediately set itself to the task of producing one of the best waterslide decal papers in the world. To meet this goal, it hired John Wigzell, former business director for Tullis Russell, as one of its joint managing directors. Peter Stephan, previously sales manager with Hoffmann and Engelmann, was also recruited to serve as a joint managing director for the company.

U.S. distribution of the company’s paper will be handled by dmc2/Degussa Metals Catalysts Cerdec Corp., Washington, Pa. dmc2 also distributes the Hoffmann and Engelmann decal paper, including products like Meta Supra, Meta Supreme, Meta 2000, Meta SB, Meta AHT and others.

The Multi-Layer Coating Technology

The construction of waterslide transfer paper is a complex arena of conflicting requirements. The base paper must be open and porous to allow water to soak through when the decals are released from the paper. This high porosity also causes the coatings to sink in during the manufacturing process. To mitigate this effect, a barrier coat or pre-coat of clay and/or carbonate is applied to the paper to support the subsequent coatings of starch and gum. Donside uses its multi-layer coating technology to achieve a very smooth surface, which provides an excellent support for the starch and gum. This support allows for a reduced coating weight and provides an excellent printing surface. As a result, customers have seen enhanced yields in some of their more difficult applications, such as precious metals and blues.

“The pre-coat technology allows us to select the most dimensionally stable pulps for the base paper, which gives significant printing benefits in terms of a flatter sheet and better registration,” said Dr. Wigzell. “However, the real advantage has come in the form of significantly improved firing yields. The move to faster firing technology and leadless colors places much greater demands on the decorator. The smoother surface finish of the Donside product allows for a better contact between decal and ware after application of the transfer. This more intimate contact reduces the tendency for trapped air, which, when present, burns through the decal during the firing process and disrupts the decoration.”

Trials with the new decal paper* have confirmed these benefits. According to Glyn Davies, commercial director at Precision Studios (part of the Wedgwood Group), “Extensive trials of MetaConsort’s products at Precision Studios have clearly demonstrated superior quality in the areas of stability, registration and firing. I am confident that their company will prove to be an extremely competitive force within our industry over the coming years.”

For More Information

For more information about this new company, contact Alex Wenzel, dmc2/Degussa Metals Catalysts Cerdec Corp., P.O. Box 519, Washington, PA 15301; (724) 223-5900; fax (724) 228-3170; e-mail alex_wenzel@dmc-2.com.

*MetaConsort WS170

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