100 years of adhesives at Henkel

How Henkel became a global market leader for adhesive technologies

Innovation May 17, 2023
Eine Frau hält mit ihren Händen eine Schraube an eine Mutter und blickt konzentriert durch ihre Laborbrille.

Adhesives are more versatile than you might think: From smartphones, airplanes, books, cars to even Tutankhamun's mask or the Great Wall of China – products and solutions from Adhesive Technologies, which have been part of Henkel's product portfolio for more than 100 years, are in use here.

The success story of Adhesive Technologies began with an impending supply shortage of adhesives at the company's headquarters in Düsseldorf after the First World War. As a result, the company decided to manufacture adhesives for sealing its own product packaging, for example, for our laundry detergents. In 1922, Henkel started developing and producing paper, cardboard, and packaging adhesives for its own use. With the launch of a very own glue factory in June 1923, the company also began selling adhesive products to neighboring companies.

The first products included the painter's glue ‘Mala’ and the wallpaper adhesive ‘Tapa’, both based on potato flour. What began as a solution to meet the company's own needs grew into the world's largest supplier of adhesive technologies. With brands such as Loctite, Bonderite, Technomelt, Pritt and Pattex, Henkel is now active as a market leader in more than 130 countries and in over 800 manufacturing sectors and has expanded its portfolio far beyond traditional adhesives to sealants, functional coatings, and specialty materials.

Portrait of Mark Dorn, Executive Vice President Technologies at Henkel

A look at the last 100 years impressively shows the continuous development of our technological know-how and market expertise. Then as now, we stand for creating innovative solutions together with our customers to turn challenges into opportunities. Our focus is particularly on comprehensive sustainability solutions that, for instance, contribute to CO2 reduction or new solutions for electromobility.

Adhesive Technologies' Inspiration Center in Düsseldorf in the evening.

The Inspiration Center Düsseldorf (ICD) of Adhesive Technologies unites modern research facilities, digital technologies, and an inspiring working environment.

In an automated lab, a robotic arm works on new adhesive solutions.

The ICD comprises 30 highly modern laboratories and four technology centers.

In a modern showroom, a Adhesive Technologies expert meets a customer.

In the ICD, Adhesive Technologies collaborates with customers and partners to develop innovative solutions for megatrends such as sustainability, mobility, and connectivity.

Inside the Inspiration Center in Düsseldorf, one sees various laboratories and technology centers where the latest adhesive solutions are created.

The ICD offers a modern working environment for more than 650 Henkel experts on 47.000 m².

From wallpaper glue to high-tech adhesives

As the global market leader for adhesives, sealants and functional coatings, Adhesive Technologies has for 100 years represented high-performance technologies that meet the demanding requirements of ever-changing industries and markets. With an open approach to innovation, Henkel, as an industry and application expert in manufacturing industries worldwide, works with customers and partners to create value with highly effective and sustainable solutions.

This happens at places like the Inspiration Center in Düsseldorf (ICD), which unites our technical experts under one roof. In data-driven laboratories, new formulations are automatically prepared, tested, and verified, while Henkel experts work with advanced digital tools and processes to improve knowledge sharing. This enables Henkel to create future-oriented solutions along the entire value chain for customers and partners from diverse industries.

Portrait of Mark Dorn, Executive Vice President Technologies at Henkel

We are very proud of our success story of 100 years at Adhesive Technologies. With our pioneering spirit and innovative strength, we have become the world's largest manufacturer for adhesives, sealants, and functional coatings, creating value for more than 100,000 industrial customers, but also for millions of consumers.

Adhesive technologies are an integral part of countless consumer and industrial goods – for example in the mobility and electronics area. Henkel provides international customers with tailor-made high-impact solutions, a comprehensive technology portfolio, and specialized technical services. In automotive construction, for example, metal rivets and screws are increasingly being replaced by adhesives, which not only increases the vehicle's accident safety but also contributes to lightweight construction. In addition, adhesive technologies and thermal materials are an integral part of batteries in modern electric cars and ensure greater performance, safety and sustainability in future mobility.

Adhesive technologies and thermal materials from Henkel drive e-mobility by significantly improving the range, safety, and sustainability of electric vehicles.

Developed by Graphic Packaging International (GPI), KeelClipTM uses adhesive technologies from Henkel to make the packaging for can multi-packs more sustainable. Instead of using plastic rings or wrap, KeelClipTM is made from recyclable cardboard that keeps the beverage cans together, thereby reducing both plastic and CO2 emissions in the packaging lifecycle.

Numerous packaging and consumer goods are also glued together by Adhesive Technologies. Henkel supports small and medium-sized manufacturers as well as large international companies in the consumer goods, packaging, and furniture industries with leading innovative solutions for global consumer trends and provides answers to the growing demand for sustainable products. With solutions for recyclable packaging, refill solutions, functional coatings, and solutions for packaging design that enable resource-saving application without plastic, for instance, as well as other technologies, Adhesive Technologies demonstrates that sustainability is inseparable from innovation and efficiency.

With Adhesive Technologies, Henkel is helping to preserve cultural heritage: A large section of the Great Wall of China was restored using state-of-the-art adhesive technologies. Today, a memorial stone commemorates the work. Henkel was also able to help when the beard on Pharaoh Tutankhamun's death mask broke off during cleaning. After intensive cleaning and restoration measures, the mask could be fixed with a high-tech adhesive specifically developed for this purpose.

In the craftsmen, construction and professional business area, Henkel supplies an extensive range of brand-name products for private consumers, do-it-yourselfers, craftsmen, and trade from more than 800 different industries. In addition to adhesives and sealants for use in private households, Henkel supplies customers with building materials and adhesive, sealant and insulation systems for use in the construction industry, as well as a comprehensive portfolio of high-impact solutions for the assembly and maintenance of machines. When developing new solutions, Henkel focuses not only on the needs of customers and consumers, but also on climate protection. Sustainable raw materials such as wood are bonded quickly, precisely and cleanly with special adhesives from Henkel.

A look at 100 Years of Adhesive Technologies

YouTube Thumbnail Henkel A 100YoA (Thumbnail)

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