Customers are the real winners in Henkel’s recent acquisition: The merging of Acheson’s Forging and Pressure Die Casting competencies into the Henkel fold is creating an exceptionally broad portfolio of solutions for the metal industry.
Specializing in lubricants, coatings and lubricant application equipment, Acheson operated independently until 1998. It was then acquired by National Starch & Chemicals/ICI. In the spring of this year, when ICI itself was taken over by Akzo Nobel, Acheson was part of a package of businesses sold to Henkel.
Before they joined forces Henkel has focused mainly on steel coil and aluminum can producers in this industrial sector, whereas Acheson’s expertise was in lubricants for forging and die casting applications, thus targeting component manufacturers. But this has changed substantially: “Up to now, we viewed the value chain at our customers from a small niche position”, says Global Marketing Director Nico den Ouden, “Now we can offer them high-quality products for many more applications. This broadens our range of competencies, enhances our already excellent reputation, and opens up completely new possibilities.”
State-of-the-art solutions The Henkel portfolio includes an advanced range of products to satisfy the needs of the metal industry. Brands like Bonderite, Granocoat, Alodine and Cleanox are well known to customers all over the world. Henkel offers a variety of solutions for aluminum and steel container applications, including beer and beverage cans, food cans, aerosol containers and the new aluminum bottle can with a product line including post lubricants, cupper lubricants, bodymaker coolants and washer chemicals.
Henkel’s coil coating products provide solutions for the cleaning, pretreatment, lubrication and coating of cold rolled steel, galvanized steel, Galvalume and aluminum substrate for later processing. Innovative coil coating products help customers stay ahead of the competition by offering solutions with specialized cleaners, conversion coatings, passivates, dried-in-place coatings, functional organic coatings and final rinse materials. In addition, Henkel supplies support equipment such as chemical feed pumps, mixer and spray nozzles, all of which are compatible with its process chemicals.
Enhanced to a full range With the Acheson business two complementary areas have now been added to the Henkel portfolio: forging and pressure die casting. Dirk Wouters, Managing Director Metal Business, EMEA: “This enables us to offer solutions in a wider range of production steps to our customers, generating opportunities to gain additional business.”
For the forging, extrusion and drawing of steel and non-ferrous metals, Acheson die lubricants and release agents are outstanding performers under the most extreme conditions of temperature and deformation. They help extend die life, reduce the number of rejects and increase productivity, however harsh the processing environment.
Acheson’s Deltacast® series of water-based release agents are specifically designed for the pressure diecasting of aluminum and other non-ferrous metals. They can also be used for the related processes of squeeze casting and thixo casting. Whatever the process, these lubricants give superior lubrication and release at extremely cost effective dilution ratios, cleaner castings and improved surface finish, while protecting expensive tooling from the effects of thermal fatigue.
A win-win-situation “Who says the lubricant industry isn’t exciting?” says Nico den Ouden, dismissing an often-voiced prejudice. A look at current surveys by energy management research institutes and calculations performed by universities shows that every year, companies have to foot astronomic energy bills due to poor lubrication or lubricant issues.
If all these drawing and forming processes in heavy industry were properly lubricated, it would be possible to save an enormous amount of energy and improve productivity. Dirk Wouters: “So, although the industry might not exactly be clean, it’s a highly interesting one which can generate a series of very positive effects. Henkel and Acheson teaming up – that’s a clear win-win-situation for us and our customers.”