Global leaders through innovation, performance and sustainability

Our products are used in many different markets, such as the automotive, electronics, aerospace, metal and packaging industries, in systems to capture renewable energies, and for maintenance, repair and overhaul. They can make industrially manufactured goods more durable, lighter and more efficient. Our adhesive solutions enable professional craftsmen and DIYers to protect buildings against cold and dampness, for example, or to repair items of daily use, while our adhesives know-how is 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.

More value for our customers and our company

Throughout the world, our adhesives, sealants and surface treatments are known for their high quality and make us global market leaders – technologically, ecologically, and in terms of health compatibility. We achieve this through innovative products and processes which offer better performance, health and safety at work and consumer protection, with the least possible use of resources and less negative impacts on the environment. To do so, we work with strong partners, including raw materials suppliers, machine manufacturers and manufacturing companies from all sectors of industry. By cooperating efficiently, we are able to find innovative solutions together.

Our customers are always at the center of what we do. We continuously optimize our products to deliver more value to them and help them achieve their own sustainability goals. Often, our solutions combine economic benefits with progress in the areas of environmental protection, occupational health and safety, and consumer protection.

We have developed numerous tools to demonstrate these benefits transparently to our customers. One of these is the Value Calculator. It can be used to compare a new product or process step by step with an existing one. All process costs can be visualized clearly alongside each other, making it possible to identify savings potential in terms of maintenance effort and expenditure. The factors considered include energy, water and raw materials usage, and the costs for disposal. This makes it possible to show at a glance where process improvements can be achieved at our customers, as well as the resulting time and cost savings. We are now using the Value Calculator for some 20 brands and product categories, such as Loctite, Bonderite, Technomelt, Liofol and Mirafoil.

Value Calculator:
Example – Bonderite NT

Graph Value Calculator
This illustration gives an example of how the new process with Bonderite NT can cut the total costs by about 15 percent – despite higher expenditure for the product itself.

Improvement based on life cycle analyses

As the global leader in adhesives, we are aware of our responsibility and want to demonstrate our progress in sustainability in a transparent manner. We fulfill this goal by consistently reviewing and optimizing our product portfolio. Our extensive experience, in particular with the use of life cycle analyses, helps us to identify suitable starting points for improvements. Here we consider not only the composition and production of our own products, but also the applications in which they will be used and the production processes at our customers. Our approaches include searching for powerful alternatives to raw materials that are becoming ever scarcer and dialoguing with our customers to develop solutions that will enable them to modify and improve their own production processes.

Life cycle analyses also help us to identify potentials for achieving our sustainability goals for 2030 and to document our progress. We have thus grouped our products into some 50 categories in which we are determining the ecological footprint across the entire value chain – from raw material sourcing and production to use at the customer and waste disposal.

Safety as a top priority

The health and safety of our customers and consumers and their surroundings is a top priority for us. This is why we are working all around the world to set new standards with our products by focusing on areas such as the health compatibility of contact adhesives and threadlockers.

With our Loctite brand, for example, we are the only producer to offer a complete portfolio of anaerobic threadlocking adhesives and sealants that do not have to be labeled with any hazard symbols. We thus deliver a significant plus in added value to our customers, as this first complete range of anaerobic products actively supports companies in their efforts to promote health and safety at work.

Another important issue for us is the use of solvents in adhesives for consumers and craftsmen. 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 solvent-free systems has therefore been a goal of our researchers for many years. Taking the situation in 2010 as our baseline, we set ourselves the target of reducing the remaining amount of solvents in the consumer adhesives segment by half by 2020. One example is the solvent toluene, which we have replaced in all of our contact adhesives for consumers around the world. Where no alternative systems are yet available, we are working continuously on solutions using non-hazardous solvents as an intermediate step. Henkel Chile, for example, is replacing fossil solvents by more environmentally compatible ones, such as ethanol, in its “Cachaça” project. To make sure that alternatives will be available in time to shape a future without solvents, we are investing in the development of new basic technologies. Our research centers around even more powerful water-based systems, 100-percent systems like hotmelts, as well as completely new cross-linking mechanisms.

Partnering for sustainable product design

Sustainability requires knowledge-sharing and concerted action by all those involved along the entire value chain – from raw materials suppliers through to consumers. This is why we join forces with strong partners. Through efficient collaboration with them, we find new solutions for even better eco-compatibility and improved occupational health and safety and consumer protection. For example, thanks to close interaction between Henkel and Adidas, we were able to introduce innovative primers and adhesives that have not only improved the performance of many Adidas products, but also reduced their ecological footprint. By now, all manufacturers of athletic shoes are benefiting from our water-based adhesive solutions.

Advice, training and dialogue

Our understanding of quality does not stop with the development and sale of high-performance products. All around the world, we offer service and advice to our 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. 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.

Another example is the Henkel ProControl system – a measuring unit that is installed directly in production lines. It allows our customers to precisely monitor their adhesive consumption rates. When using a product like our Technomelt Supra Cool 130 hotmelt adhesive for industrial packaging, this can show how it is possible to reduce the amount of adhesive applied by up to 50 percent.

More efficiency in wind power

Bild Werkshalle

Our Macroplast brand polyurethane adhesive helps to optimize the production of wind energy plants. With its accelerated cure speed, the Macroplast UK 1340 adhesive makes it possible to manufacture rotor blades more efficiently, as it not only satisfies the high mechanical demands, but also significantly reduces the duration and temperature of the curing phase. Among other things, the adhesive thus helps to reduce energy consumption.

“Sustainability has been a constant focus of our work for many years when it comes to developing adhesive technologies.”

Photo Amélie Vidal-Simi
Amélie Vidal-Simi
Head of Consumer and Craftsmen Adhesives, France.
Photo Loctite in action
The threadlocking adhesives of the Loctite brand do not need to be labeled with any hazard symbols.
Photo Pritt bottle

The “Cachaça” project involves a novel kind of technology developed by Henkel Chile. In this project, Henkel Chile is replacing the fossil solvents in products such as Agorex Parquet and Pritt Liquid Silicone with ethanol. This is derived from sugar cane – just like the wellknown Cachaça alcoholic beverage after which the project was named.

Photo sports footwear
“Invisible” innovations: Our first water-based polyurethane adhesive, Aquace W-01, is used to manufacture sports footwear. It reduces emissions of volatile substances during processing by up to 90 percent.

Last updated: March 8, 2012