We want to be leading in everything we do. This particularly concerns our innovative products, which conserve resources and protect the climate. We help our customers manufacture with low emissions and energy-efficiently. Furthermore, we help them enhance the safety of their products, for example with our PVC-free and thus plasticizer-free sealing materials for crown corks.
Sustainable Product Strategy
ALTANA offers companies around the world specialty chemicals solutions that make products used in daily life better and more sustainable. We convince our customers with added value and give them a competitive edge through our work. Some solutions improve, for example, the functions of end products and increase their shelf life. Others optimize our customers’ value chain in terms of energy and resource consumption. And still others enable our customers to reduce the amount of critical substances in their end products or to replace them with less critical ones. Innovative, environmentally friendly, safely processable products play a key role. They help ALTANA’s customers implement their own sustainability concepts. Based on this understanding of sustainability, the Group continuously leverages new fields of business and paves the way for further profitable growth.
Due to their strong customer orientation, many ALTANA companies gear their innovation strategies systematically to a catalog of sustainability criteria at a very early stage of product development. This includes responsible handling of resources (water, energy, and raw materials) as well as the goal of developing products whose effects on the environment are as low as possible without detracting from the product’s function. This is reflected by the increasing number of coatings, additives, and pigment formulations that are conceived for water-based applications and therefore do not contain organic solvents.
Another aim of ALTANA’s product strategy is to replace critical components with less critical ones whenever possible. For products that need classifications due to national or international hazardous substance regulations, ALTANA’s companies have special data sheets on hand that provide consumers with important information on safe storage and further processing. Moreover, certified lifecycle analyses are available for certain products.
In 2016, our companies made further progress in their sustainable product portfolios. Outstanding examples are discussed below.
Success with Seals of Approval
The EU Ecolabel introduced in the 1990s informs consumers about environmental and health hazards posed by products and services. The products have to be certified by institutions commissioned in the respective member states of the manufacturers. The ALTANA Group supports its customers’ efforts by providing them with products that meet the specifications of the Ecolabel.
In 2016, BYK achieved such convincing successes with its Ecolabel portfolio of defoamers specifically for paints and coatings that the division supplemented its offer with further additives. These additives include water-based wax emulsions, which improve the surface properties of coatings as well as those of care products and finishes.
ALTANA products often help make customers’ end products more sustainable. This applies, for example, to BYKSILCLEAN 3701, which was introduced in 2016. The additive was specially developed for coatings of tanks and containers, but can also be used in tunnel tubes. It helps keep surfaces clean for a longer time and makes it easier to clean them. Thanks to longer maintenance cycles, operational costs are cut and less resources, for instance water and cleaning agents, are consumed.
Reduction of Emissions
Many customers attach importance to gaining competitive advantages in their markets with the help of environment- and climate-friendly products. ALTANA’s companies support this in manifold ways, for example with special additives for lightweight construction of motor vehicles. Products were added to this additive family in 2016. Further measures concern the reduction of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). ELANTAS made important progress in this area in 2016.
For coatings of motors, generators, and transformers based on unsaturated polyester resins, at its U.S. site in St. Louis ELANTAS developed a technology that needs virtually no styrene or vinyl toluene. As a result, the products’ VOC emissions will sink from currently more than 20 % to less than 2 %. In addition, unlike coatings that contain styrene, the new, water-based products have no flashpoint. That makes their processing significantly safer.
The successful work ELANTAS is doing on solvent-free powder coatings for wire enamels also constitutes great progress. The company is developing these coatings as a modification to the currently used formvar coatings. The powder coatings produce virtually no emissions and, moreover, contain no phenols or cresols. This makes coatings processing safer and reduces health hazards for consumers. Initially, the powder coatings are to be offered for wires with a diameter of more than 75 mm.
Our Supplier Network
ALTANA’s companies obtain the raw materials they need to manufacture products from a group of a total of 4,200 suppliers, which did not change significantly compared to the previous year. 1,700 companies supply to a number of Group sites worldwide.
Of the 2,500 companies that only supply regionally, 55 % come from Europe, 29 % from Asia, 26 % from North America, and 3 % from South America. With this far-reaching network, the individual companies together with ALTANA’s Strategic Purchasing department ensure that dependencies or supply bottlenecks are avoided wherever possible. All suppliers are asked to commit themselves to the United Nations Global Compact principles delineated in the Group’s purchasing network on ALTANA’s website. Nearly 500 companies have complied with this wish.
Guidelines and Their Effects on ALTANA
International guidelines and national laws determine the framework for the Group’s entrepreneurial activities. Both at the Group level and the level of the individual companies, ALTANA swiftly implements any changes relevant for the company. In 2016, the EU REACH Regulation for chemical substances was still the focus of attention. All ALTANA companies continued to push ahead preparations for the third registration phase in 2018.
We assume that BYK will have some 50 additives registered as raw materials within the framework of individual registrations. ECKART and ELANTAS will apply for so-called joint registrations together with partners. Thirty pigments and 20 insulating materials are affected.
Products That Are Suitable for Contact with Food
Special guidelines in the U.S., the EU, and Switzerland specify which materials are permitted for food contact. This also applies to paints and coatings for packaging materials. For the first time, ECKART developed highly brilliant silver pigments for aluminum-based offset printing that comply with the specifications of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the EU Directive 10/2011, as well as Swiss specifications. A big challenge had to be met: On the one hand, it was a matter of producing gloss and glitter effects with extremely small powdery particles, which are required for offset printing. As a rule, pulverization leads to the opposite effect, a grayish color shade. On the other hand, a substance that was suitable for contact with food had to be identified that would meet the technical challenges that these particles pose. In the end, ECKART researchers succeeded in developing pigment formulations that produce different visual effects depending on the size of the particle (between 5 µm and 10 µm).
ACTEGA agreed to a partnership with the world’s largest brewery group, Anheuser Busch InBev, for the Chinese market. The company set up a production line in the southern Chinese city of Foshan expressly for this purpose. ACTEGA is manufacturing PVC-free sealing materials for crown corks there. These sealing materials have set worldwide standards for food packaging, because they can dispense with harmful plasticizers and at the same time hermetically seal the bottles.