In Conversation with Henkel Adhesives Big Challenge: Search and Development of new Preservative Systems
The metalworking division Henkel Adhesives is committed to environmental friendliness and sustainability. In discussions with Gerko Odink, Head of Product Development Surface Technologies, and Christian Rosenkranz, Business Development Manager Surface Treatment, we take a look behind the scenes.
Tighter regulatory demands, ecologic and economic issues have challenged foundries to become more efficient in the use of their raw materials and waste production. The most important thing is that die lubricants need to perform better in:
- Producing a faster lubricating film on hot dies,
- Reducing the volume of liquid and air spray,
- Minimizing lubricant amount on the floor (less waste) or amount can be easily recyclable
- Protecting better from bacteria, according to the new upcoming EU classification (execution in May 2020)
What role do current trends such as Industry 4.0 and additive manufacturing play in the manufacture of your products?
Automatization and data collection trends have let to full automatization of the production Pressure Die Casting lubricants, production is centrally controlled by IT systems that visualize the production process and provide real-time feedback on what is happening to allow operators and supervisors to share what is happening and if needed intervene. This reduces production and quality deviations to an absolute minimum.
You define your die casting solutions as environmentally friendly. When do we start talking about environmental friendliness? Which criteria have you defined for yourself?
Development of highly efficient systems, based on patented siloxane technology, lead to reducing waste and scrap rates at our customers. In addition product development is constantly looking for more bio-friendly chemical substances reducing the impact on the environment. This is an especially challenging task as legislation and classification of substances are constantly changing. The most challenging aspect is probably the search and development for new preservative systems that on one hand can protect the diluted products in use, ensuring quality when used in central diluting systems where the house keeping may not always be optimal, and on the other hand should not have a negative impact on the (water) environment.
Your latest developments concentrate on the development of chromium and heavy metal-free products to meet future legal requirements. How big and current are these challenges and how far have they progressed?
Sustainability is a key value for Henkel since the company was founded. Therefore, we are working for many points on environmentally free products and solutions for our customers. We do have Chrome-free solutions available for most of our customer applications as well as some heavy metal free processes. This can be realized, e.g. switching to heavy metal and Cr-free thin film pretreatments or by reducing heavy metal waste by using innovative processes, like our 2-step-Phosphate process. This process enables our customers to process high amounts of Aluminum through phosphate lines, but generating significantly less heavy metal containing sludge which needs to be disposed or treated.
What makes Henkel products unique and distinguishable from others?
The combination of a complete portfolio along the entire metal value chain (ranging from casting, forging, metal pretreatment, steel & coil, machining to cleaners and lubricants), superior metal processing products together with application systems and technology support position Henkel as an interesting partner for our customers.
We provide a comprehensive analysis of our customers’ manufacturing process to identify both problem points and improvement recommendations in regards to product performance, validation, and environmental testing, among others. Our customers benefit from Henkel's Analytical Solutions Group comprised of 12 combined analytical and accelerated laboratories. Delivery of timely and accurate sample analyses and reports are key advantages of Henkel’s Analytical Solutions Group. We offer our customers strong processes and dedicated teams that allow us to create tailored solutions for their needs.