Henkel celebrates 100 years
EP&T MagazineElectronics Production / Materials Supply Chain anniversary Henkel materials production
Adhesive technology pioneer recognizes spirit, innovation
Exactly 100 years ago, Henkel began selling its first adhesive solutions to neighbouring companies. From the development of laundry detergent packaging adhesives for its own use to today’s advanced solutions in more than 800 industry segments the company’s world-leading adhesives, sealants and functional coatings are integral parts of countless consumer and industrial goods. Henkel Adhesive Technologies shares the visions of its customers and enables the development of groundbreaking innovations in areas such as sustainability, mobility and digitalization.
Adhesives, sealants and functional coatings
“With our pioneering spirit and innovative strength, over the last 100 years, we have become the world’s largest manufacturer for adhesives, sealants, and functional coatings, creating value for more than 100,000 industrial customers, as well as millions of consumers. Our next step to create value across industries around the world is to develop the sustainable solutions necessary that enable circularity and CO2 reduction,“ explained Mark Dorn, Executive Vice President Henkel Adhesive Technologies. “Then as now, we collaborate with our customers to turn challenges into opportunities and to innovate products and solutions.”
The success story of Henkel Adhesive Technologies began 100 years ago, because the company made a virtue out of necessity. After the end of the First World War, the occupation of the Rhine and Ruhr threatened to cause a shortage of adhesives at the company’s home base in Düsseldorf, which were needed to seal the own product packaging for detergents. In 1922, Henkel therefore started to develop and produce paper, cardboard and packaging adhesives for its own use. With the construction and start-up of its own adhesives factory, the company also began selling adhesive products to neighbouring companies on June 26, 1923. The first products included the painter’s glue Mala and the wallpaper paste Tapa, both based on potato flour.
A century full of highlights
Adhesive Technologies has globally pioneered through patented inventions, innovation power and strategic acquisitions. Inventions for example include the first Pritt glue stick in 1969, which took inspiration from the twist mechanism of lipstick and revolutionized papercrafts for more than 50 years. In 2001, Pritt was given a “Space-Proof” seal of quality and was sent to the International Space Station.
In the industrial sector, adhesive solutions from Henkel have transformed production processes and product designs in automotive, electronics, packaging and many more. The technologies provide tailored functionalities that include strong bond, sealing, coating, conductivity of heat and electricity, recyclability and many more. With the acquisition of the Loctite Corporation in 1997 Adhesive Technologies successfully integrated capabilities to move the business to a new level. Today, Loctite is the world’s largest adhesives brand.
Henkel has demonstrated the diverse performance capabilities of its solutions in many ways over the past 100 years. In 1987, for example, Ceresit products were used in the renovation of the Great Wall of China. And in 2015, Henkel developed a customized adhesive to professionally reattach the broken-off beard of Tutankhamun’s famous death mask.
“We are very proud of our success story of 100 years at Henkel Adhesive Technologies. A look at the last 100 years impressively shows the continuous development of our technological know-how and market expertise. With this strong history of innovation and remarkable achievements behind us, we look forward to a bright future where Adhesive Technologies continues to make history and create the solutions of tomorrow,” concluded Mark Dorn.
High-impact and sustainable solutions
The central focus of Adhesive Technologies’ innovation activities today is on developing sustainable solutions for its customers. The business unit is consistently working on products that enable resource efficiency in production and during use throughout the entire life cycle and that are based on renewable or recycled raw materials. In addition, Henkel offers a growing portfolio for the recyclability of, for example, packaging or consumer goods and the repairability of everyday products.
To take its innovation capabilities to the next level, Adhesive Technologies has opened its Inspiration Center Düsseldorf at its home site in 2022. In this modern innovation centre with more than 30 laboratories, over 650 Henkel experts work on highly effective and sustainable solutions in adhesives, sealants and functional coatings. At the same time, the state-of-the-art building serves as a global customer centre where Adhesive Technologies presents its entire technology portfolio and strengthens collaboration with its customers from over 800 industry segments. In 2023, the business unit will gradually open another global innovation centre in Shanghai.