ALTANA

Ceraflour - a Success Story for 11 Years

In the brief space of 11 years, our micronized wax additive Ceraflour has written its own breath-taking success story. Up to the end of 2006, the company sold more than 1 million kilos of micronized wax additives.

The story begins in 1995. At that time, three years after the company's takeover by BYK Chemie, BYK-Cera started to develop micronized wax additives in powder form under the name Ceraflour. Prior to 1995, BYK-Cera's product range had consisted exclusively of liquid products: wax emulsions, wax dispersions, and wax precipitates with an aqueous or solvent base. The year 1995 marked a turning point. The company's decision to develop micronized products was driven by strategic considerations. We wanted to expand our business in the Far East and the USA - countries solid products are increasingly being offered. Another important reason for this decision was that micronized wax additives are an important component of powder coatings.

The raw wax is broken down in an air-jet mill which constitutes the technological basis for this development. Here the wax is accelerated, via whooshing air, to 600 m/sec in the grinding chamber of the mill. As they collide with each other at this ultrasonic speed, the particles micronize themselves (photo below).

The final product emerging from this process is a white, non-free-flowing, wax additive in powder form. The floury consistency of the product provided the inspiration for the name Ceraflour. This product is employed in coating systems for various purposes, such as improving scratch resistance, matting and surface structure.

The first four products were introduced in January 1995. One of these products is still a bestseller 11 years later. However, the other three did not survive the first five years.

After this, things happened fast. The really mind-boggling success story started one year later, however, with the introduction of the first wax additives for powder coatings. The company now offers seven products especially for this application. Two out of the seven have made it to our Top Ten List.

Today, 11 years later, this product group comprises 22 products. The three strongest members of this product series account for 19% of our total sales turnover. And we keep on growing - in 2006 by over 30%. This keeps our R&D staff on its toes. Three years ago, the company developed its own technology for manufacturing blend products. Moreover, we hold a manufacturing patent for Aquaflour, a further development designed especially for aqueous coating systems.

We have come a long way: from 1000 kg worldwide with four products in 1995 to more than 1000 metric tons worldwide with 22 products today.