When Bill Reif moved to Wausau, WI, in 1975 to work for a local paper company, he knew virtually nothing about the pressure sensitive label business. But over the following five years, his product development responsibilities introduced him to the intricacies of pressure sensitive adhesives, emulsion silicones and label material manufacturing. During that period, he also met Lawrence Wokatsch, who was in charge of the company’s R & D coater. Together, they developed a body of chemistry that allowed them to manufacture pressure sensitive label materials completely from water-based raw materials, which was unique at that time. Concurrently, they both were involved with the development of specialty papers which were, by definition, high value, low volume products. Paper manufacturing techniques had to be developed that would allow for rapid change from one paper product to another…not an easy task on typical paper machines. In time, it was the combination of these two concepts, i.e. water-based raw material chemistries and specialty, short-run manufacturing techniques, that lead to the evolution of what eventually became a new pressure sensitive label manufacturing company.
Reif and Wokatsch decided to take that step in 1981 when they founded Wausau Coated Products. Using their previous experience, they designed manufacturing equipment that would allow for short manufacturing runs which was required to focus on high-end, specialty label products. A key component of this approach was the use of only water-based adhesives and silicones, which put them on the right side of all water and air regulations in effect at that time.
Some 45 years later, this short-run manufacturing technology remains at the core of Wausau Coated Products’ specialty product focus, though we have since expanded our chemistries to include hot melt and uv adhesive coatings and uv silicone coatings. Thus, we have remained true to the original vision of our founders; Specialty, high-end label products come from a specialty manufacturing mentality, and it's a mentality we continue to have and work on every day. This core philosophy has been the key to our ability to adapt to the fast changing marketplace of new and emerging print technologies and has allowed us to thrive in to becoming a market leader in a large and diverse end use and application areas such as HP Indigo, On-Demand Inkjet, UV Inkjet, Wine Label, Shelf Marking as well as many others.
Our vision is to be the preferred source for specialty and custom products to our customer base of label and packaging converters. Our efforts are defined by our ability to safely work as a team delivering value through innovation, quality and service. Satisfied customers will provide the means to allow us to reinvest in our people, customers and capabilities, sustaining our broader financial goal of being profitable and preserving private ownership.