A 7 million euro investment to set up three new centres
Henkel is expanding its R&D network in Catalonia, with a 7 million euro investment to set up two new centres plus the Afinitica spin-off, located in the UAB Research Park (Bellaterra) and in the Leitat Technological Centre in Terrassa. These new centres join their already existing facilities: one in the same UAB Research Park, and the other in the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), in Tarragona. With this expansion, Henkel creates 55 new research positions aimed at searching for new concepts and materials that adapt to the future needs of the company’s clients and society in general.
With this expansion, Henkel positions Catalonia as a strategic centre of the development of new, high, added-value adhesives on a worldwide level. According to Luis Carlos Lacorte, the president of Henkel iberica “Henkel chooses Catalonia thanks to its excellent infrastructures, its capacity to attract talent and the highly skilled researchers found here.”
He went on to say that the products developed in Catalonia will be for a wide range of sectors, such as electronics, the automotive industry, the diy channel, flexible packaging and general industry. The centres will be in constant contact with the Dusseldorf head office, as well as the production area in Montornès del Vallès. Henkel’s factory in Montornès is one of the firm’s largest facilities and produces over 300,000 tonnes of detergents and adhesives.
Collaborative R&D model
In 2010 Henkel set up collaborative R&D model in Catalonia working with the Catalan Institute of Chemical Research (ICIQ) and the Research Park of the Barcelona Autonomous University. With 20 researchers, the work centred on developing new reversible adhesives for applications in electronics and new resins for curable adhesives thanks to the effects of oxygen in air.
This research was given a national research award in 2012 and its success encouraged the company to open three new centres with Leitat (lubricants and surface treatments), Afinitica (high reactive monomes for new high end adhesives), and UAB (gel technologies, display technologies,organic ferroelectrics, reposicionable and ultra-removable systems)
Henkel also began various collaborations with different research centres such as:
- the Barcelona Institute of Material Sciences
- the Catalan Institute for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (nanofabrication and new polymers systems)
- the National Microelectronics Centre (electronics prototyping)
- the Alba Synchrotron light facility (polymer and adhesive analytical developments)
- Matgas (supercritical drying)
Henkel operates globally in the detergent, cosmetics and adhesive markets. The adhesive business represents almost 50% of overall sales, over 8,000 million euros, and supplies both products and technology to 5 strategic sectors: electronics, packaging, consumer goods, adhesives for consumer and construction, for transport and metal and for industry in general. The area of adhesive technologies has a global network of r&d centres where the next generation of adhesives are being researched and developed. The network has over 1,600 employees split into 11 work units and based in countries such as the United States, Brazil, Dubai, and its spanish base will create value for 4 of the 8 technological platforms in which Henkel works.
Henkel has over 47,000 employees in total and in 2012 showed sales of 16,510 euros. Its leading brands and technologies are present all over the world in three business areas: laundry & home care, beauty care and adhesive technologies. Established in 1876, Henkel holds a global level leading market positions in both consumer and industrial sectors, with such well-known brands as wipp express, schwarzkopf and loctite.
Its Catalan story began in 1961 after buying the Spanish firm Gota de Ámbar, and in 1970 it also entered the Portuguese market. The company has two production centres and 4 proprietary distribution centres on the Iberian peninsula with a workforce of 11,000.