As a leader in adhesive application technology, Henkel is committed to facilitate the development of the furniture & building components industry through innovative solutions, while laying a clear focus on sustainability as a core value. At this year's Interzum Guangzhou 2021 with the motto, “Empower Your Living Space with Leading Technology”, several innovative edge banding and mattress adhesive solutions were exhibited to meet customers' increasing demands for product quality, production efficiency and sustainability performance. FDM Asia & China interviewed Dr. Rajat Agarwal, Global Head of Lifestyle at Henkel Adhesive Technologies, and Nancy Huo, Market Strategy Manager, Furniture & Building Components, Henkel Adhesive Technologies on these market developments. They have delivered a detailed introduction of Henkel's strategy, cutting-edge adhesive product portfolio and technology, as well as the company's strategic layout for the Chinese market.
FDM: What kind of intelligent, environmental-friendly and innovative solutions does Henkel currently provide to meet industry 4.0 and future needs?
Dr. Rajat: As sustainability leader, Henkel takes sustainable development and circular economy as the focus of future adhesive technology. Sustainable development is particularly important in the furniture & building components industry we are rooted in. Within the research and development process of related product technology, we attach great importance to security. With our procedures we want to make sure that the VOC (volatile organic compounds) content is minimized, and potentially harmful substances can be ruled out. This helps our clients to achieve safe and clean production and optimize their facilities and production processes.
At the same time, Henkel has made great efforts to ensure processing plants are able to effectively implement the sustainable development strategy. By digitalizing and automizing manufacturing and shipping, paper in factories is arbitrary. Once paper is removed, it reduces the CO2 footprint of the production sites. Data collected from sensors in the factories through IoT applications alert employees which parts of the production line could be optimized, where filling line waste can be reduced and where incorrect labeling can be eliminated.
In the era of Industry 4.0, Henkel attaches great importance to digitalization and has developed corresponding technology tools, striving to upgrade the workflow of its global production sites with the latest technology. Therefore, we are investing in machine learning algorithms to further promote the application of artificial intelligence in the whole industrial manufacturing process. For example, we have launched the “virtual home” digital interaction to help customers easily and intuitively understand how Henkel adhesive plays a role in the field of the furniture and building components industry. We have launched an AI chatbot “Smart Zhi”, which is not only able to quickly provide product information according to the customer's questions, but also timely report customer problems to Henkel’s technology experts. In this way, users can really enjoy the 24/7 technical consulting service with improved communication efficiency. Through digital solutions, Henkel is committed to transforming its production base into an intelligent factory. Meanwhile, Henkel also opened 1688 flagship stores in China and launched various advanced digital platforms to continuously deepen digital transformation, providing customers with seamless and intelligent online and offline services.
FDM: Now China's economy is recovering rapidly. What's your view on Henkel's development in the Chinese market? Could you share your investment strategy or plan with us?
Dr. Rajat: China is one of the most attractive markets for Henkel. Its growing consumption power cultivates boundless opportunities for multinational companies like Henkel.
Henkel’s focus is in line with the national agendas and we are committed to contributing to China’s development. Under our new strategic framework of purposeful growth, we will continue our investment to accelerate impactful innovations, boost sustainability and digital transformation to create superior value for customers and consumers in China.
Looking to the future, we believe the trend towards high-quality development will continue, and that building an improved market system will deliver further economic transformation. This will increase demand for Henkel's high-impact and tailored solutions. By building end-to-end capabilities to better serve the China market, and implementing business initiatives under our strategic framework, Henkel will continue contributing to China’s development.
FDM: What kind of new products and adhesive technology did Henkel launch at Interzum Guangzhou 2021? What are their unique advantages for your customers and consumers?
Nancy: At Interzum Guangzhou 2021, Henkel exhibited two innovative edge banding applications and one mattress adhesive solution that can replace sol-agent. This directly addresses increasing customer requirements for product quality, production efficiency and environmental performance. At present, these products are very popular in the market.
Henkel TECHNOMELT KS 922, which can be used in traditional edge banding equipment, is a very innovative edge banding product. It can achieve an ultra-fine bond line, suitable for medium and high-speed production. Compared to previous products, the heat resistance, solvent resistance, and bonding strength have been improved.
Based on customer requirements for high-quality edge banding applications, Henkel has launched the new TECHNOMELT PUR 270/8. With its excellent performance, it has been awarded "20 PLUS 20 Annual List - Interzum Guangzhou Outstanding Furniture Accessories". With excellent initial strength, slow curing speed and zero bond line, TECHNOMELT PUR 270/8 can avoid frequent tank cleaning and reduce requirements for equipment maintenance. Meanwhile, with its high bond strength and low viscosity, TECHNOMELT PUR 270/8 can be used at a low application weight, effectively reducing energy consumption, and maintaining cost at competitive levels. More importantly, TECHNOMELT PUR 270/8 can also be applied at high temperatures in the summer with high initial strength. The white version TECHNOMELT PUR 270/8W can be perfectly integrated with white substrate and edge banding, without infringing with the looks of the furniture pieces.
As an adhesive solution for upholstery furniture, the new TECHNOMELT AS 3105 has is odorless, aging resistance, providing customers with a high performance and strong adhesion choice to enhance both mattress production quality and workers' health and safety.
Moreover, Henkel has released three innovative sustainable product series for the furniture and building components industry. With TECHNOMELT PUR MicroEmission series, up to 90% of isocyanate vapors can be reduced. The product complies with Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008, becoming the new benchmark for sustainable products. TECHNOMELT PW / KS series products offer safer operation, increased ease-of-use and a decreased amount of needed product, which makes them more economical, environmental-friendly and sustainable. LOCTITE PURBOND series products are specifically designed for zero-emission applications without using formaldehyde. Moreover, with a smaller carbon footprint, the products comply with the international standard.
FDM: Thank you very much for the interview. What else do you want to share with our readers in the end?
Dr. Rajat: We are very happy be at Interzum Guangzhou again and amazed by this year's visitor numbers. During this exhibition, we have showed the industry our revolutionary product portfolio and solutions and exchanged industry insights with long-term clients and partners to explore potential growth opportunities. Leveraging digital technologies such as AI, we hope to bring more comprehensive knowledge of adhesive applications to a broader client base and help them produce high-quality products. In the future, we will continue to invest, accelerate influential innovation, promote sustainable development and digital transformation, to create higher value for our clients and consumers.
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