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Laboratory Services and Consulting

Right from the first contact we work with our customers to ensure they achieve total security of outcome. As the industry leader we unrivalled knowledge and experience.

Our teams have the expertise to analyse customers’ requirements, recommend the most appropriate solution and work with them to design and refine processes that are cost effective, environmentally sustainable and offer a flawless, efficient workflow.

Application areas

At Henkel we work with our customers right from the start to create processes that are efficient and effective. When the process is still in its development stage and during normal running, we monitor the process at every stage by continual testing against key parameters.  These tests will track conditions in the system tanks throughout the process and may include: standard analytical tests such as titrations to establish the bath concentration; the analysis of residues, measuring the layer thickness of the coating on workpieces, etc.

Once gathered this data is shared with customers to provide a clear picture of the process, its performance and its consumption of raw materials and resources such as water and energy. Close monitoring of the process in this way also provides an early warning should the design parameters deviating. This allows operators to take remedial action quickly and effectively.

Tests conducted during the start-up and operational phases of a process may include:

  • Acid/alkaline titration to determine, for example, the level of cleaner present;
  • Surfactant titration;
  • The on-site measurement of the thickness of the pre-treatment layer;
  • Analysis of sludge and residues;
  • Photometric determination of active ingredients;
  • An analysis of impurities in the bath.

Specialists in Surface Analysis

At the Henkel headquarters we have extensive experience in analytical chemistry that is available for the benefit of our customers when designing processes and to aid with new product development. Our VSA Corporate Analytics has the experience and know-how to work with customers, analyse any operational problems they may have and create practical and cost-effective solutions.

The in-house analytics department uses the combined scientific analytical expertise, product knowledge and industry experience of the technicians to provide a comprehensive time- and cost-optimised service. Our corporate analytics is accredited according to DIN EU ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and certified according to DIN EN ISO 9001:2008 & 14001:2004. We are also able to provide analysis to GLP, REACH and GMP on request.

The types of analysis performed in our laboratory include:

  • Inorganic and organic trace analysis;
  • Waste water analytics;
  • A range of surface analytics including: xps, RFA, and electron microscopy.

Customer Support

Sample Treatment

We base our recommendations for products and processes on our long experience and our market-leading position. Our testing facilities are unrivalled in the industry and can be relied upon to perform practical sample treatments, using laboratory-scale equipment, that can be reliably scaled up to full production. 

As well as using small-sized equipment for comparing product performance on test panels and small customer parts (e.g. the performance of cleaners) we also operate medium-size, pre-treatment lines in our application technology building. This allows us to run multiple-step processes under near practice conditions; analysing the results and refineing the parameters for optimum performance.

Processes analysed in our research facilities include zinc-phosphate treatment and cutting-edge autodepostion technologies. As new techniques and materials emerge, and as our customers’ demands change, the range of sample treatments we have available evolves too.  As our industry moves forwards, we move too, sometime following but often leading the trends.

Types of tests performed in our laboratory include:

  • Cleaning tests on customer parts;
  • Foam testing of bath solutions to help with defoamer selection;
  • The determination of remaining carbon as a measurement of soil deposits;
  • Spray/immersion and ultrasonic cleaning tests;
  • Simulation of pre-treatment processes on lab-scale;
  • The verification of processes in our application technology centre;
  • The reproduction of customer problems with the aim of eliminating disruptive factors.

Approval Testings

Our laboratories frequently carry out testings of the coated material to establish the effectiveness of the treatment. These tests can also include the testing of pre-treatment processes.

Pre-treatment testing is usually followed by an extensive evaluation of the performance of the corrosion protection and the capability of the adhesion promotion. Test panels are treated according the practice parameters and painted with the customers paint system. The panels are then placed in test chambers within a monitored aggressive atmosphere. The conditions may, for example, mirror the conditions on a overseas transport allowing for changes in temperature and humidity, or mimic the atmospheric conditions found on land, close to the sea taking into account the salt-laden, humid air found near the shore.

After a prescribed period the panels are removed and checked for corrosion. In some cases we purposely damage the surface, for example by scratching it, to simulate mechanical defects which may accelerate the effects of corrosion.

In some cases we have the treated surfaces checked by official organisations such as GSB or Qualicoat. These independent organisations check our products to assess how they comply with their published Standards. After being assessed as complying with these Standards, the test panels coated by using our products and processes carry an approval label which is often mandatory: e.g. in the aluminum working industry.  

Technical Customer Service

Our experienced Technical Customer Services (TCS) team specialises in the application of surface technologies such as cleaning, corrosion protection and surface enhancement by traditional iron phosphate treatment or many other state-of-the-art metal pre-treatment processes that are currently used by today’s manufacturers.

Members of our TCS team perform line audits to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of coating lines and provide recommendations on process parameters and monitoring methods. TCS is present right from the start of a project, during ramp-up to ensure that all key objectives are met and continuing to work with customers regularly to ensure that the process continues to meet their needs.  Should problems arise the TCS team is always on hand to provide a rapid solution and get the process back on track in the shortest possible time.

TCS also works in close cooperation with our laboratory teams, both in application technology as well as in product development. This ensures that we are always able to provide prompt trouble shooting for our customers and helps us to monitor market expectations and customer requirements so that we can refine processes in line with developing trends. This conditions also help us to work closely with customers to design new products and bring them to market, fast and profitably.


Our Consulting and Technical Customer Service work together to provide the comprehensive support customers need throughout the process from start-up as well as continually throughout the life of the project. 

Although the two functions are complementary, our consulting service is often first on the scene for a new project to offer advice and assistance to customers at the very first stage and ongoing as long as it’s needed. Our consultants can provide help on all aspects of our technology, process execution, project management and process control. This might be for a new production line, or to add greater functionality or performance to an existing instillation. 

Our process engineers are available to support the project offering the benefit of their experience, process know-how and ingenuity that can often find a relatively simple solution to a tricky problem. This might include providing support to a customer when choosing new equipment to help analyse the most appropriate technology to meet production specifications in the most economic way. Our consultants also have extensive experience in ensuring that customers fully understand the environmental and sustainability aspects of their project and help them to make appropriate choices in line with current regulations and social responsibility. 

Consultants provide continuous support throughout a project and are especially helpful should parameters or production requirements change along the way. Our consultants have access to our well-established value calculator that clearly demonstrates the advantages of new processes compared with more traditionally accepted methods.

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