02/08/2007, Düsseldorf / Germany
25th edition of the Fritz Henkel Award for Innovation
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Groundbreaking ideas for market success
In addition to 100 Years of Persil, Henkel is celebrating a younger but no less important anniversary this year: 25 years of the Fritz Henkel Award for Innovation stand for the systematic fostering of a very special innovation culture throughout the Company. “Henkel is so internationally successful today because we have succeeded again and again in creating forward-looking solutions. And once again, we have four teams whose new developments have been enthusiastically welcomed by consumers and markets alike,” said Albrecht Woeste, Chairman of the Supervisory Board and the Shareholders’ Committee of Henkel KGaA, on February 8 at the awards ceremony for the winners of the 2006 awards.
The ceremony also clearly reflected the broad diversity of Henkel’s businesses. The four winning innovations ranged from a fabric softener to a floor leveling compound and from a hair treatment to an industrial cleaner, all of which were launched simultaneously in several countries. And the multinational composition of the teams themselves underscored the global scope of the Company’s operations. The Fritz Henkel Award for Innovation was conferred for the following projects.
- Vernel and Silan Aromatherapy: This fabric softener with essential oils not only softens laundry but also imbues it with a fascinating fragrance.
- Gliss Kur Total Repair 19: A high-performance formula with 19 active ingredients restructures the hair and protects its surface.
- Thomsit XXL: Very low-emission floor leveling compound that creates mirror-smooth surfaces for installation of floorcoverings and parquet.
- P3 Disperse for LCD Color-Filter-Cleaning: A series of highly concentrated, water-based specialty cleaners for the manufacture of high-performance color filters for LCD flatscreens.
“Innovation is the key to the future,” asserted Prof. Dr. Ulrich Lehner, Chairman of the Management Board of Henkel KGaA. Congratulating the winners, he continued: “Companies that can empathize with their customers, anticipate their future wishes and be the first to provide an answer to them have the all-important ability to stay ahead of the competition and to enhance their corporate value.
Fascinating experience for the senses
Wonderfully soft laundry in a variety of exclusive fragrances has always been the quality promise offered by the fabric softeners that Henkel markets under the Vernel and Silan brands. The team that received the Fritz Henkel Award for Innovation has succeeded in creating a completely new dimension in this product category through a special combination of fabric softeners and essential oils. The positive effect of fragrances on body and soul is well known. In aroma therapy, essential oils are used to activate self-healing powers. Depending on their composition they have a soothing or stimulating effect. So the fabric softener provides that little extra which allows housewives to “pamper” themselves while doing the laundry. This insight, gained through dialoguing with many consumers, was the starting point for developing the new Vernel and Silan products.
The new line comes in four varieties, each of which contains two essential oils which interact to develop the fragrance effect. Hibiscus and rosewood, for example, produce a sensual fragrance composition, while water lily and lemon grass radiate freshness. From the moment the bottle is opened until the garments are worn, these long-lasting fragrance compositions develop their beneficial effects. At the same time, softening actives smooth the fibers and enhance the wearability of the items.
Vernel and Silan Aromatherapy have been introduced in 30 countries since the fall of 2005. Total sales achieved by the Henkel fabric softeners business and its market share have been significantly boosted by Vernel and Silan Aromatherapy. The products have also succeeded in persuading new consumer groups to purchase fabric softeners. This was due in no small part to the consistently emotional brand presentation which appropriately communicated the sensuous character of the products from the packaging design through to the TV spot.
Hair like new
With its steadily rising growth rates, Gliss Kur is one of Henkel’s most successful cosmetic brands. The specialty products for dry and stressed hair offer consumers tailor-made solutions for each hair problem. Highly effective active ingredients have already been used in these products to restructure the hair. The new series Gliss Kur Total Repair 19 provides ample proof that even an exceptionally high-quality product line can be optimized still further.
The development goal was to enable deep repair of damaged hair, achieving results that would be both objectively measurable and subjectively perceivable. After intensive research and development, this goal was achieved with a novel high-performance formula consisting of 19 active ingredients including amino acids, proteins, vitamins, botanical extracts, and a moisturizer. The patent-pending formulation is a technological advance. After treatment with it, the internal and external hair structure has been repaired in depth – resulting in hair like new. The innovative repair complex reduces hair breakage by up to 95 percent and makes the hair up to 95 percent more resistant.
The flagship of the new line is an expert system, Gliss Kur Repairist, consisting of three products: intensive cleanser, deep repair, and shine finish. The hair falls more naturally, feels softer and has an exceptional shine. Gliss Kur Total Repair 19 made a significant impact on the market and has substantially improved the position of the entire brand. Already a market leader in hair treatments, Gliss has now achieved this position in conditioners. And the shampoo has considerably expanded its market shares. Overall, 2006 was a record year for Gliss.
Flows like water, is as smooth as ice and as hard as granite
Floors are the most heavily stressed surfaces in any building. This calls for high quality floorcoverings, of course, but the best quality floorcovering will not last long unless the subfloor is appropriately prepared. Subfloors have to be flat, smooth and hard. The removal of old floorcoverings during refurbishing automatically affects the smoothness of the subfloor. The surfaces are generally uneven due to residues of old flooring adhesives. These irregularities can be smoothed out using floor leveling compounds – cement-based building chemicals in powder form that are mixed with water, then poured onto the floor where they dry to a hard layer. To obtain a very smooth surface, the layer of compound normally required grinding. The new Thomsit XXL Premium Levelling Compound makes work much easier for flooring professionals. In only one work step it creates a surface that is smooth as glass and ready to be covered.
The product is a soluble as instant coffee and flows like water, making it exceptionally easy to use. Once it has been poured over the substrate, Thomsit XXL Premium Levelling Compound smoothes itself and hardens completely within 24 hours.
In developing this product, the Henkel team worked with the University of Siegen, Germany, to perform an in-depth scientific study of the raw materials and the operating mechanisms of floor leveling compounds. Armed with these deeper insights into the chemical and physical processes involved, the experts went on to develop an innovative technology, patent pending, which is also transferable to further formulations. The new leveling compound also has very low emission levels and is therefore environmentally compatible. The product was initially launched in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK and the Benelux countries, where it has generated excellent sales. At the same time, Thomsit, the European number one in flooring technology, has increased its technology and market lead still further.
Better cleaning, sharper images
Henkel’s cleaning expertise is by no means restricted to laundry and home care. It also includes a very wide variety of specialty cleaners for industrial applications. Among the globally successful brands is P3. The P3 Disperse series was specially developed for specific cleaning steps in the production of modern flatscreens. It significantly improves the production process and enhances the image quality of the finished flatscreens.
The international development team is composed of employees from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The P3 Disperse series is used for partial removal of color resist layers applied to glass surfaces. The resulting grid structures act as color filters. In producing these color filters, the edges of the grid lines have to be as sharp as possible in order to produce sharp images. The new cleaners master this challenge easily, delivering significantly better results than predecessor products.
The patent-pending formulation of the P3 Disperse series is based on an alkaline cleaner with stabilizers and defoamers. The resulting super-high-performance cleaning system shows excellent temperature stability and very low foaming. The cleaner solution is more concentrated than other products conventionally used in LCD production. Instead of clouding, it remains transparent throughout the cleaning process. The new cleaning system reduces the manufacturing effort while significantly improving product quality and is therefore of enormous benefit to the LCD industry. Sales of this P3 series have grown considerably since the market launch.