Sumittra Duangkaewmanee proudly sports a lab coat now and again, but the 3M Thailand scientist is quick to point out that it’s what happens outside of the lab that has the biggest impact on her work.
“At 3M, we are encouraged to go out into the real world and talk to customers about how they use products,” said Sumittra. “Those interactions are what inspire us to do things differently – to come up with a new solution to a challenge.
That’s how she created a new Repulpable Fiber Adhesive Transfer Tape for the local pulp and paper industry. The special tape is used in paper mill manufacturing to adhere large rolls of paper to the roll core, and to help in the roll-closing step of the paper winder process.
Her inspiration came from taking field trips to her customer’s plant, discussing pain points and getting a better understanding of the unique requirements.
Sumittra worked closely with her team in the U.S. to create a new tailor-made tape that specifically addressed her customer’s needs, and it is now available to the paper mill industry worldwide.
“When we understand customer-inspired innovation,” she said, “we become a partner to our customers, and we solve problems in the process.”