ALTANA Innovation Conference 2009

Around 120 participants attended the ALTANA Innovation Conference 2009 held in the ALTANA building

The second ALTANA Innovation Conference was held in Wesel on November 11 and 12, 2009. Dr. Georg F. L. Wiessmeier, CTO of ALTANA AG, welcomed a total of 120 members of the international “Innovation Community” in the new headquarters. The new building provided excellent conditions and opportunities for spending two days discussing trends and topics from the areas of research, development, technology and innovation together under one roof — and finding common ways of moving forward.

Participants at the ALTANA Innovation Conference 2009

CFO Martin Babilas opened the event with an overview of the company, in which he once again emphasized the importance of innovation to the company’s growth strategy. The following speakers turned their attention to the core topic of innovation by examining “Innovation and Strategy,” the “ALTANA Competence Map” and the “Cross Divisional Development Program Innovation” before the key innovation projects in the four divisions were presented. A poster session with more than 40 posters provided an opportunity for an intensive and detailed exchange of expert knowledge on specific current research and development topics. One of the conference’s major elements consisted of a total of nine workshops on cross-cutting or platform-related subjects whose content was also discussed in individual working groups putting more flesh on the bones after the conference. They included a workshop on nanotechnology, for example, and one on ALTANA’s newly created technology platform entitled “Industrial Biotechnology.”

The social highlight of the ALTANA Innovation Conference was doubtless the ALTANA Innovation Award 2009. The ALTANA Innovation Award was presented for the first time on the evening of the first conference day at a ceremony held in the specially decorated foyer of the headquarters. Achim Struchholz, Head of Corporate Communications, acted as master of ceremonies for the evening.

Last year a total of 20 entries were submitted from around the world. The main requirement for awarding the prize is that the projects nominated must already have led to significant additional sales for the company. The ALTANA Innovation Council nominated five teams altogether for the ALTANA Innovation Award.

The winner of the ALTANA Innovation Award 2009 was the team from ECKART/BYK consisting of Baerbel Gertzen (BYK), Dr. Wolfgang Pritschins (BYK), Dieter Proelss (ECKART) and Dr. Stephan Roth (ECKART). The winning team enabled a new procedure to be launched on the market for manufacturing and stabilizing highquality mirror-effect pigments through the targeted development of a process additive.

The cross-divisional cooperation between BYK and ECKART paved the way for the development of a completely new production technology. Special block copolymers were developed using a native raw material and then adapted to the procedure. This led to a new generation of high-quality metallic effect pigments. The pigment pastes and printing inks thus created enable our customers to manufacture products with optical mirror effects in a quality that could not be achieved with the PVD pigments or metallic films previously used. This new production process has opened up a new dimension of brass pigments. The coatings obtained have excellent optical properties such as high gloss and extremely high image distinctiveness (mirror), along with improved mechanical properties, for example adhesion and the possibility of overprinting. Metallic pigments achieving the brilliance of a mirror offer customers new design options that can be realized in a wide range of industrial applications (e.g. in vehicles, packaging, cosmetics, print media, etc.).

The ALTANA Innovation Council presented the award in recognition of this outstanding innovation that owed a great deal to interdisciplinary and cross-divisional cooperation. A multimedia cube was installed in the foyer of the headquarters on the occasion of the first ever ALTANA Innovation Award. It shows the award and its winners to all the employees and guests visiting the building — in an unusual way. The ALTANA Innovation Conference is an annual forum providing the most important basis for maintaining
innovation networks within the company and is thus a major element in ALTANA’s culture of innovation. This culture is made visible by such activities as the annual presentation of the ALTANA Innovation Award.