Adhesive Technologies

Global number one through innovation, performance and sustainability

Our products serve many different markets, such as the automotive, electronics, aerospace, metal and packaging industries, the development of alternative sources of energy, and for maintenance, repair and overhaul. They help to make industrially manufactured goods more durable, lighter and more efficient. Our adhesives know-how also helps to protect buildings against cold and dampness and to repair items of daily use, while our glues and tapes are much appreciated in the home, in schools and in offices. The key consideration, however, is always that of combining economic benefits for our customers with responsibility toward people and the environment.

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

“Our ideas for innovative products must be just as flexible as adhesive is as a material. Today we are cooperating more than ever with industrial partners and external research institutions to meet tomorrow’s global challenges through innovation. For example, we assisted Tonji University in Shanghai, China, in developing a hydrogen-powered car which was presented at the Shanghai EXPO 2010.”

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

Read the complete interview with Prof. Dr. Ramón Bacardit

Generating added value for our customers

For us, sustainability is not an end in itself, but generates value for our company and for our customers. It gives us a competitive advantage when it creates economic, ecological or social benefits for our customers as well. We offer our customers first-class performance while simultaneously helping them to operate sustainably throughout their value chain. One of the ways we do this is by developing products that make production processes considerably more efficient than conventional solutions. Our Loctite brand maintenance and repair products, for example, can extend machine lifetimes. Technologies such as Bonderite NT, TecTalis, Aquence Co-Cure and Alodine for metal pretreatment cut energy and wastewater costs in processing lines and reduce the use of heavy metals. Our water-based solvent-free adhesives for athletic shoes help to significantly improve workplace health and environmental protection levels in athletic footwear production facilities.

We have developed numerous tools to demonstrate the advantages of our innovations transparently to our customers. One of these is the Value Calculator, which enables customers to include not only the price of the product in their cost calculations, but also the potential savings it can achieve in their process. Our customers can then calculate the economic and ecological benefits they gain by using our products. The Value Calculator is currently available for more than 30 brands, including Bonderite, TecTalis, and Macroplast.

Improvements based on analyses and discussions among specialists

Product innovations and systematic reviews of our product portfolio help to continuously improve the performance of our products and technologies. Here we draw on our years of experience with life cycle analyses to identify suitable starting points for improvements. For many years, we have pursued a policy of steadily replacing heavy metals in our products. We also substitute solvents with high-performing alternatives that make it possible to offer water-based and ultraviolet-crosslinking formulations. To optimize product characteristics, our researchers also make use of renewable resources. These form the central basis of our glue sticks, wallpaper adhesives and many packaging adhesives. The proportion contained in our bottle labeling adhesives, for example, is 45 percent. And the formulation of the Pritt Stick is based 90 percent on nature-based raw materials. But the composition of our own products is not the only area where improvements can be achieved: New product solutions can modify or improve the type of application and the production processes at our customers’ facilities. Our solutions are therefore based on a thorough understanding of our customers’ needs and are often generated by working as a team with customers, equipment manufacturers, and raw materials suppliers.

Photo Enric Holzbacher, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Adhesive Technologies business sector.

“We have defined Henkel’s focal area of health and safety as a major goal for product development in our Adhesives for Craftsmen, Consumers and Building segment. As part of our efforts in 2010, we replaced the solvents toluene and methylene chloride in our consumer adhesives with solvent-free alternatives. By 2020, we intend to decrease the use of solvents in our consumer adhesives by 50 percent overall.”

Enric Holzbacher
Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Adhesive Technologies business sector.

Read the complete interview with Enric Holzbacher

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For us, first-class product performance means that we also assume responsibility for the health and safety of our customers when they use our products. This is why we are working all around the world to set new standards for the health compatibility of consumer and contact adhesives – for example, in regard to the use of solvents. These are often the subject of controversy in public debate because of their possible negative impact on health and the environment. Replacing solvent-based adhesives by alternative systems has therefore been a goal of Henkel researchers for many years. Taking the situation in 2010 as our baseline, we have set ourselves the target of reducing the remaining amount of solvents in the consumer adhesives segment by half by 2020. As a first step in 2010, we replaced the solvent toluene in all of our contact adhesives for consumers around the world. To make sure alternatives will be available in time to shape a future without solvents, we are investing long-term in the development of new basic technologies. At the heart of our research are even more powerful water-based systems, as well as completely new cross-linking mechanisms.

Graphic Greenhouse gas emissions of Liofol adhesives

Carbon footprint of Liofol laminating adhesives for bonding packaging films/foils

In the course of the Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) project in Germany, we compared three different types of laminating adhesives from our Liofol brand in regard to their carbon footprint: a solvent-based, a water-based and a further solvent-free system. In all three systems, the largest proportion of greenhouse gas emissions is generated during the production of the base component used. Besides this, the type of adhesive essentially determines the laminating process and the related emissions. For solvent-based and water-based systems, the energy required for application and drying is the biggest factor in the emissions equation. Of the three adhesives studied, the solvent-free one had the smallest carbon footprint, since it requires practically no additional energy input during the actual laminating process. In overall terms, the proportion of emissions associated with the adhesives during the production of food packages is just a small percentage of the carbon footprint of the entire package: less than five percent.

User safety through dialogue, advice and training

Our understanding of quality does not stop with the development and sale of high-performance products. We offer service and advice throughout the world for customers. By sharing our technical know-how and competence, our main aim is to help our customers to use our products efficiently and safely. Our chemicals management concept in the USA, for example, helps them with the selection, processing and disposal of chemicals. The Henkel ProControl system – a measuring unit that is installed directly in production lines – allows our customers to precisely monitor adhesive consumption rates. With our Technomelt Supra Cool 130 hotmelt adhesive for industrial packaging, this can in some cases reduce the amount of adhesive that is applied by almost half. In Central and Eastern Europe, Ceresit training centers teach craftsmen how best to use our building products. In many markets, such as China, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil and the USA, Henkel is also a member of the national Green Building Council. The aim of this multi-stakeholder platform is to raise awareness and promote the development of standards for sustainable building methods and products.

Henkel as a sponsor of the German pavilion at the EXPO 2010 in Shanghai

EXPO 2010 in Shanghai, China, and the German pavilion as well, was staged under the motto “Better City, Better Life” – a slogan that is becoming more and more relevant, especially in Asia. Growing population figures coupled with increasing urbanization make sustainable development of the megacities of the future a vitally important task. By supporting the German EXPO pavilion, we also underscored the significance we attach to this topic in our product development. Our adhesives already help to drive forward the development of new technologies such as solar power plants and electric cars. Our professional products from the Thomsit, Pattex, Sista, Tangit and Metylan brands are consistently used by professional craftsmen and construction experts – from the cellar to the roof. Worldwide, we offer a variety of systems comprising joint sealants, insulating foams and panels, and waterproofing membranes that enable the professional sealing of windows, doors and façades, thus increasing the energy efficiency of buildings.

The following list provides a variety of product examples, which can be sorted according to their contributions to our focal areas. The brands referred to have been selected on the basis of their innovativeness, their relevance, and the way in which they reflect the work of the business unit:

Brazil: Ban on toluene in consumer adhesives
In 2006, Henkel took over Alba, a Brazilian adhesives producer. Some of its contact adhesives contained toluene as a solvent, and could therefore be misused by young people for glue sniffing.

Immediately after completion of the takeover, Henkel developed a strategy tailored specifically to the Brazilian market to replace toluene in the formulations of the contact adhesives. In March 2007, we publicly presented the first Cascola brand contact adhesives in toluene-free varieties – well before the legal deadline set by the Brazilian health authority. Products for the DIY market that contain ingredients making them attractive to glue sniffers have been banned since early 2008. Crucial to the success of the new toluene-free formulations is communicating the changes in a positive manner to consumers, in order to retain their trust in the performance of the products.

For this reason we already launched an initiative in December 2006 under the motto “Commitment to the future” and organized a joint meeting with adhesives industry associations, the press, non-governmental organizations, customers, and local authorities. From the very start we were able to profit from our positive experience in Chile, where we have been successfully marketing toluene-free adhesive products since 1998. In 2010, we replaced the solvent toluene in all of our contact adhesives for consumers around the world.

Ceresit Microgranular Tile Adhesive – No more dust
When craftsmen and DIYers opened, poured and mixed tile adhesives, they often used to find themselves surrounded by a cloud of cement dust. This sometimes resulted in annoying coughing, skin irritations, and dust in the eyes. In the newly developed Ceresit microgranular tile adhesive “Highly Flexible,” the dust particles are bonded together in fine microgranules. This means up to 90 percent less dust compared with conventional tile adhesives. This not only spares the user’s health, but results in far less dust in the work environment and neighboring areas. Another advantage is the 30 percent higher coverage per kilogram of adhesive. 18 kilograms of Ceresit “Highly Flexible” microgranular tile adhesive can cover an area that would otherwise require 25 kilograms. Moreover, far less effort is needed to apply the new tile adhesive.

Epsilon Technology – Innovative engineering adhesives
The next generation of aircraft, such as the Airbus A350 or the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, will contain about 50 percent fiber composites. Up to now, the uncured fiber composites had to be stored at below-zero temperatures and then thawed before they could be processed. Thanks to our new Epsilon technology, fiber composites can now be stored at room temperature. This simplifies processing, reduces the amount of rejected material, and cuts the energy consumption during aircraft manufacturing. Additional advantages are the greater thermal resistance, stability and toughness of the materials. Approval procedures are currently in progress at all major aircraft manufacturers. Compared weight for weight, modern fiber composites are ten times stronger than a steel or aluminum wire. This enables the engineers to increase the strength of parts while reducing their weight. And lighter aircraft consume less fuel.

Frekote 915 WB – Soft cleaners for soft energy  
In Europe and the USA, wind energy is second only to hydroenergy as an alternative source of power. The rotor blades of wind turbines, which can be up to 60 meters long, are made from fiber-reinforced plastics using special molds. The molds subsequently have to be cleaned, usually manually, with the help of a variety of solvents. Drawing on its experience of surface cleaning technologies and the processing of composite materials, Henkel developed the surfactant-based cleaner Frekote 915 WB. It contains 70 percent less solvent and is gentle to the sensitive surfaces. Frekote 915 WB leaves no residues and cleans the molds much more efficiently and quickly.

Hysol Underfills
Underfill adhesives form a uniform, void-free underfill layer, which ensures, for example, that microchips in electronic devices like mobile phones are better able to withstand impact shocks. Our Hysol UF3800 underfill can be processed at room temperature and cures at low temperatures. Hysol UF3800 is also a reworkable material and contains no hazardous ingredients. This enables our customers to reduce energy consumption, scrap material and process costs during manufacturing.

Imperfácil – Latent heat storage system for Mexican roofs
Climatic conditions in many regions of Mexico are extreme. In the north, the days are often very hot, with temperatures climbing far above 40 degrees Celsius. Air conditioning and fans bring some relief, but are expensive and consume a great deal of energy. As an alternative, Henkel has developed a roof coating that not only reliably seals the roof, but also protects the house against heat and thus helps to save costs. The coatings, which are applied directly to the roof like thick paint, lower the temperature in the building. Imperfácil, aimed at the DIY market, can bring about a reduction of up to eight degrees Celsius, and Acriton, for professionals, up to twelve. This is partly achieved through more efficient reflection of sunlight. The crucial element, however, is the use of a latent heat storage system. Small wax spheres in the coating melt and store the heat during the day. When the temperature falls, the wax releases this heat and is ready for the next hot day. Air conditioning and other thermal protection measures are therefore no longer needed or can be considerably scaled down.

Liofol – Top standards for flexible food package safety
The safety of flexible packages is a top priority in the food and packaging industry. The systems used must not only protect foods from external influences, but also exclude contamination from hazardous substances in the packaging materials themselves. Fourth-generation Liofol laminating adhesives enable an unprecedented standard of safety through their exceptionally fast curing.

Loctite 2400 and 2700

The two new Loctite threadlockers not only retain the customary high Loctite performance, but also have a “white” material safety data sheet. This means that the safety data sheet contains no risk phrases, as neither of the two products contains declarable substances or has to be labeled with hazard symbols.

Preserving values with Loctite
Plant and machinery represent considerable financial investments. Downtimes in production due to malfunctions or other disturbances usually entail costly consequences. The long-term conservation of production equipment is therefore of utmost importance. Loctite products make a significant contribution toward keeping the equipment in good condition and avoiding risks.

Loctite 5810A – Less pollution from cars
Our sealants support the automotive industry’s efforts to produce increasingly efficient, energy saving engines, and so to reduce harmful emissions. Oils for engine lubricants make a major contribution to cutting fuel consumption and help to minimize wear. However, some oils contain very aggressive ingredients that can corrode the sensitive sealing materials in the engine. To satisfy the needs of the automotive industry, we have developed Loctite 5810A, a polyacrylate-based elastic sealant. It is nine times more impermeable to harmful volatile organic hydrocarbons than conventional sealants and far less sensitive to aggressive ingredients. With the help of Loctite 5810A, one of our customers in the automotive sector has already succeeded in satisfying the stringent demands of the U.S. standard for low-emission vehicles (“partial zero emissions vehicles”). These are vehicles whose level of emission is 90 percent below that of an average new car.

Loctite Power Grab – Abundant strength – Without solvents
Up to now, the building industry has been faced with the problem that solvent-free construction and assembly adhesives could not satisfy the requirements of the market. Henkel has established the first high performance, water-based assembly adhesive in the North American market. The instant adhesion of Loctite PowerGrab is nine times higher than that of conventional assembly adhesives. The low-odor adhesive can also be cleaned up with water. The use of Loctite PowerGrab instead of conventional, solvent-based assembly adhesives can significantly reduce the level of emissions released in adhesive construction work, for example by 430 tons in 2006 (measured by market unit sales).

Loctite Ultragel – The world’s first flexible instant adhesive
Loctite Ultragel super glue forms instant, high strength, water-resistant bonds between wood, metal, plastics, rubber and leather surfaces and is therefore suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The product’s flexibility is based on microscopic particles of rubber. The fast and reliable repair of durable goods extends their life and conserves resources.

Multan cutting fluids
The new Multan cutting fluids prevent the typical and often problematic build-up of bacteria in industrial applications. The water-based formulations achieve their excellent performance without the help of toxic bactericides. This significantly reduces the health risk to employees in production facilities.

Osi Green Series – “Green” building and healthy living
With our Osi Green Series we have launched a number of green adhesives and sealants in the U.S. market. Throughout the product range, we have cut the percentage by weight of volatile organic compounds from 25 to 35 percent to less than 2 percent while simplifying ease of use. We were therefore able to meet the requirements for certification by the Greenguard Environmental Institute, an independent organization in the USA, which establishes indoor air quality standards for various kinds of products. The use of the Osi Green Series also helps to qualify buildings for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification of their energy efficiency. LEED is an officially recognized assessment system which exclusively certifies green buildings.

Pattex – Removable assembly adhesive 
Assembly adhesives are a powerful alternative to tiresome and dirty operations such as drilling and fastening with screws or nails, and are gaining in popularity. There is just one thing that often puts DIY enthusiasts off. Once the components have been bonded, they are very difficult to separate again. Under the Pattex brand, Henkel is presenting a new, removable power assembly adhesive. The specially developed formulation allows the bonded surfaces to be separated with a simple kitchen knife or spatula, even after several years. Residual adhesive can then simply be washed off a smooth surface using an ordinary household cleaner, or painted over if the surface is porous. This is an unbeatable advantage for DIYers who want to furnish and fashion their homes flexibly.

Pattex Power PU foam
Polyurethane foams are found in the toolboxes of many DIYers. In December 2010, some member states of the European Union issued a ban on the self-service sale of PU foams containing more than one percent methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) in retail outlets. The new Pattex Power PU foam contains less than one percent MDI – and is therefore still freely available on the shelves.

Pritt – Natural adhesion
Renewable raw materials such as starch, cellulose, dextrins and proteins are used in many consumer and craftsmen adhesives and in industrial adhesives for a large range of applications. For example, we utilize renewable raw materials in glue sticks, wallpaper pastes, and packaging adhesives. Bottle labeling adhesives contain as much as 45 percent. In the year 2000, we switched our Pritt Stick to a formulation based on renewable raw materials, which now account for 90 percent of its dry weight.

Purmelt MicroEmissions – Vapors reduced to a minimum
To improve occupational health and safety when hotmelts are used, we have created an alternative. Purmelt MicroEmission hotmelt reduces vapor emissions during processing to a minimum. Compared with conventional polyurethane hotmelts, Purmelt MicroEmission releases 90 percent less vapor, and therefore does not have to be labeled as hazardous. Purmelt MicroEmission thus makes a major contribution to improving occupational health and safety in plants where adhesives are processed. This is confirmed by workers’ compensation funds and other independent bodies, such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing and Advanced Materials.

Sista Mold Blocker – Mold-free joints
When silicone sealants have been attacked by mold, they not only look unaesthetic, but can also degrade grout joints. And the mold spores are also a risk to health. Indoor mold is caused by increased humidity due to changed habits such as frequent showering, and the increasingly efficient insulation of homes. The silicone products available up to now contained active substances that washed out over time. To rob the mold of any chance of survival, our researchers analyzed the total life cycle of a mold fungus. The result is the Sista Schimmelblocker (mold blocker) with innovative triple protection. Biologically active substances specifically inhibit the spore formation of the mold fungi, and surfactants reduce the surface tension of the silicone so that mold spores are unable to settle. Inhibitors – fungicides – that are especially resistant to being leached out provide additional protection to prevent germination and growth. The Sista mold blocker will be launched in Germany in mid-April 2008 and will then be rolled out worldwide.

TecTalis – Henkel redefines the metal pretreatment process
Effective, economically attractive and environmentally sound – TecTalis is Henkel’s innovative new technology for protecting metals against corrosion. It replaces the conventional zinc phosphating pretreatment method in the automotive and durable goods industries, cutting process costs and significantly reducing both the burden on the environment and energy consumption

EMICODE – Quality label for flooring adhesives
As a leading supplier of flooring adhesives, Henkel Bautechnik joined with eight other producers in 1997 to found the Gemeinschaft emissionskontrollierter Verlegewerkstoffe (quality association for emission-controlled flooring adhesives). The objective was to promote extremely low-emission and low-odor adhesives for indoor use by means of uniform controls and labeling. Today, about 40 manufacturers from nine countries work with the EMICODE label. It provides assurance to planners, craftsmen and home owners that products carrying the EMICODE EC1 label are their best safeguard against indoor air pollution. Today, more than 80 percent of Henkel flooring adhesives sold in Germany carry the EMICODE EC1 quality mark, as for example Thomsit T440 carpet adhesives.

More than 90 percent of the Henkel flooring adhesives sold in Germany bear the EMICODE EC1 quality mark, denoting especially low-emission flooring adhesives. In addition, eight products from the Thomsit specialty brand for flooring technology obtained the “Blue Angel” environmental label in 2010.

Solutions for windows and walls
Buildings lose heat, especially through windows, doors and façades. As the only supplier worldwide, we now market two certified insulation systems – WINTeQ window sealing and insulation and Ceresit façade insulation – for the three key problems of energy loss, humidity and noise. As a comprehensive approach to preventing heat losses, WINTeQ provides modular individual solutions for each problem: In addition to flexible insulating foams and sealants for joints and cavities, it offers compressed foam sealing strips and vaporpermeable sealing films for the outside of windows, as well as vapor-impermeable sealing films for the inside. Heat bridges and drafts are thus efficiently avoided, while buildings are simultaneously protected against dampness and mold. The heat that escapes through windows and doors, whether in old buildings or new, is reduced to a minimum. Flexible system solutions from Ceresit can be readily customized to meet all of the individual requirements of insulating boards, adhesive mortar, and external plaster in a particularly effective way. The result: More comfortable housing and savings of up to 30 percent in heating costs. The system can also be used to provide buildings with heat protection, therefore cutting the energy costs of air conditioning units.

Products from the Teroson and Sista brands show how the timely renewal of the joint sealant can achieve significant savings in heating costs. If high quality, durable sealants are used and the joints are regularly maintained, the amount of emissions prevented by the sealant over the lifetime of a window is up to one thousand times greater than the emissions attributable to the original production of the sealant.