Main characteristics are:
- Soft, does not scratch.
- Non-linting, no dust, no static.
- Strong, even when wet, can be rinsed and reused.
- Clean, hygienic, can be sterilized.
- Textile-like surface and drape.
- Can be dyed, printed, embossed, coated and made solvent resistant.
Unlike the normal papermaking process, air-laid paper does not use water as the carrying medium for the fibre. Fibres are carried and formed to the structure of paper by air. The air-laid structure is isotropic.
The raw material is long fibered softwood fluff pulp in roll form. The pulp are defibrized in a hammermill. Defibration is the process of freeing the fibres from each other before entering the papermachine. Important parameters for dry defibration are shredding energy and knot content. Normally an air-laid paper consists of about 85% fibre. A binder must be applied as a spray or foam. Alternatively, additional fibres or powders can be added to the pulp which can then be activated and cured by heat.
The Danish inventor Karl Krøyer is considered to be the first who commercialized air-formed paper in the early 1980s. Others developed different processes independently at about the same time. A Finnish company United Paper Mills(now UPM-Kymmene Oyj) was one of the companies developing airlaid technology in the 1980's. In the 1980's UPM formed a new company called Walkisoft Oy and also built an airlaid factory to Kotka Finland which started in 1985. Walkisoft built several plants around the world (including the worlds largest airlaid-factory in Mt Holly, NC, USA) in the following 14 years before being sold to Buckeye Technologies Inc. The Walkisoft engineering team, which was responsible for the engineering and R&D of the airlaid machines became known as Buckeye Engineering Finland and from 2002-> as Anpap Oy, a private owned Finnish company.
- Disposable diapers as part of the inner absorbent
- Feminine hygiene
- Industrial wipes
- Personal care products
- Table top
- Wet wipes
- Paulapuro, Hannu (2000). "4". Paper and Board grades. Papermaking Science and Technology 18. Finland: Fapet Oy. pp. 95–98. ISBN 952-5216-18-7.
- Nonwoven Technology Conference 2002 – Ottawa 13-16th May, retrieved 2013-02-13