Interview with Prof. Dr. Ramón Bacardit, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Adhesive Technologies business sector

What people expect first and foremost from Henkel adhesives is high performance and reliability. Are your customers at all interested in sustainability?

Prof. Dr. Ramón Bacardit: Our products naturally have to deliver first-class results. But at the same time, they help our customers to make their own industrial processes more efficient. In car manufacturing, for example, the use of Henkel technologies can lead to numerous improvements – by reducing the number of required process steps, by saving energy and water, and by helping to make cars lighter and safer. This reflects our all-encompassing understanding of sustainability. We offer top performance, the customer saves money and conserves resources, and the environment benefits as well. For our customers, that is a perfect combination, and for us, it is a significant competitive advantage.

How do customers know this?

Prof. Dr. Ramón Bacardit: To visualize the multiple benefits our products offer, we developed our Value Calculator. This allows us to show exactly how much water, energy and chemicals can be saved through the use of our products. Customers from the automotive industry, in particular, can visit our www.henkel-car.com website and see for themselves all the different applications where adhesive solutions and surface treatments from Henkel can be used and how they help to enhance quality and improve efficiency during car manufacturing.

Adhesives are used in many different kinds of industrial applications. What functions do the products fulfill?

Prof. Dr. Ramón Bacardit: The range of applications for our products is indeed vast, and we have a very broad portfolio. This may be surprising initially, considering that adhesives are essentially materials that join things together with the help of two forces – adhesion and cohesion. But when one looks at all the areas where adhesives are used and the fact that they can replace traditional joining methods such as welding, screw-fastening and riveting, it is easy to imagine how versatile this material is. Our ideas for innovative products must be just as flexible as the adhesive itself. With these new or improved products, high performance is no longer the only yardstick. Other factors play a role here, too, such as using renewable raw materials to make the products and ensuring they can be applied efficiently.

How do you generate your ideas for tomorrow’s sustainable adhesive solutions?

Prof. Dr. Ramón Bacardit: Today we are cooperating more than ever before with industrial partners and external research institutions to pursue global trends and meet tomorrow’s challenges with our innovations. For example, we assisted Tonji University in Shanghai, China, in developing a hydrogen-powered car. With sound absorbing materials from Henkel it was possible to reduce the driving noise levels inside this pioneering model to two decibels, which is a great step forward. This innovative solution was installed in the cars that were presented at the Shanghai EXPO 2010. We maintain a constant, creative dialogue with our customers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers. Through these partnerships we work together to develop new solutions, and we learn what is really needed.

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