02/12/2007, Düsseldorf / Germany
Henkel presents Research/Technology Invention Award for the third time
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International, interdisciplinary, and successful
31 Henkel experts from six sites in Europe and the USA, 14 cooperation partners from four universities and research companies as well as two firms have all pooled their expertise in chemistry, biology and engineering, from basic research to product development to manufacturing, in three different Henkel projects, thus paving the way to new Henkel products and production technologies.
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Lehner, Chairman of the Management Board of Henkel KGaA, and Dr. Wolfgang Gawrisch, CTO Research/Technology, honored the three research teams at an awards ceremony in Düsseldorf on February 12. In choosing the winning projects, the jury’s decision was based mainly on the far-reaching benefits for Henkel and the inventive character of the work.
“I firmly believe that it is our intensive use of available knowledge that makes us competitive,” said Lehner at the awards ceremony. “But we also have to make this knowledge work for us. The award-winning projects demonstrate the success of this strategy for Henkel.”
Gawrisch added: “Knowing about knowledge is one thing. But the real challenge of the future will be to turn that knowledge quickly and effectively into practical solutions with high quality value. With these awards our intention is to set signals for everyone, showing them the course we want to take – an international, interdisciplinary, and successful one. With their projects the three teams have given us shining examples to follow.”
Henkel has a long tradition of recognizing outstanding research results and innovations with inhouse awards. The Fritz Henkel Award for Innovation has been presented annually since 1982 for innovative processes and products that have achieved exceptional market success. The Research/Technology Invention Award is another instrument that Henkel uses to honor excellence in research – with a special emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration.
The Research/Technology Invention Award 2006 was conferred on three teams composed of Henkel scientists and cooperation partners for the following innovations:
- Chrome-free primer: A resource-conserving and environmentally compatible corrosion protection system (primer) for metal pretreatment in aircraft construction has been developed.
- HELIOZ - Henkel Line Optimization Planning Cockpit: HELIOZ is an innovative, mobile diagnostic and planning tool with which Henkel optimizes packaging lines in production quickly, easily and reliably.
- Systems for controlling industrial fermentation (BioChips): This project involves the development of a DNA-based diagnostic tool for monitoring fermentation processes, e.g. in the production of enzymes for Henkel laundry detergents.
The award-winning research projects in detail:
In aircraft manufacturing, metal pretreatment products known as primers currently still contain chromium in order to protect the aircraft-grade aluminum from corrosion. Bonding primers not only provide the desired corrosion protection, but also improve the adhesion of structural adhesives on the metal surface.
With the first chrome-free, water-based primer, Henkel is now offering aircraft manufacturers a genuine alternative to conventional products. The chrome-free primer offers just as good corrosion protection as chrome-containing products and also has excellent material properties. Compared to the existing technology, the Henkel primer offers the following advantages:
- Chrome-free and solvent-free.
- Excellent corrosion protection.
- Significantly better coverage.
HELIOZ - Henkel Line Optimization Planning Cockpit
Tomorrow’s factories need to be highly flexible, in order to maintain the long-term competitiveness of industrial companies. The conditions for this flexibility are created at the planning stage by using modern simulation techniques. These technologies take account of all boundary conditions and processes. Interactive networking of all such systems during planning can radically shorten the time to market for new ideas, as well as saving costs. The newly developed HELIOZ system represents an important step on the way to the “digital factory.”
Henkel specialists collaborated with external cooperation partners to develop technologies allowing three-dimensional computer simulation and optimization of filling and packaging lines. The HELIOZ system has already been implemented in pilot projects in Henkel’s Laundry & Home Care, Consumer and Craftsmen Adhesives, and Henkel Technologies business sectors. Further applications are planned.
Simulation makes it possible to significantly improve the performance capability of existing and new packaging lines.
Systems for controlling industrial fermentation (BioChips)
The high performance of modern laundry detergents and household cleaners cannot be achieved without a variety of high-performance enzymes. Henkel has many years of experience in developing washing-active enzymes and itself manufactures a number of the required enzymes using biotechnology processes in a joint venture with the Sandoz company in Kundl, Austria. In these biotechnology processes, microorganisms (bacteria) produce the powerful laundry detergent enzymes. The microorganisms are cultivated by fermentation. In order to achieve the highest possible yield, the production strains need optimal growth conditions.
Up to now, biotechnologists have been able to measure the rate of product formation and determine the physical and chemical parameters almost in real time as fermentation progressed, but it was only at the end of the process that they were able to determine how the microorganisms themselves had changed. This involved complex molecular-biological analyses, the results of which were often only available several days later. Now, a team of Henkel experts, working together with a group of internationally recognized scientists in a cooperation network, has succeeded in developing a BioChip that makes it possible to determine online if the fermentation process is progressing as desired. The BioChip is a kind of sensor which analyzes the condition of the production strains at the gene level. It has been successfully tested in the enzyme production facilities in Kundl.
- The BioChip allows concurrent monitoring of industrial fermentation processes, giving biotechnologists their first opportunity to actively control the process and so avoid fluctuations in productivity.
- Ease of use.
- The BioChip is inexpensive and suitable for routine diagnostics.