Research, innovation & collaboration: How Henkel experts work on tomorrow’s solutions today

A look at three sites where Henkel North America is driving innovations

Adhesive Technologies Beauty R & D Oct 19, 2023

Technology Center for Adhesive Technologies in Bridgewater, New Jersey

At our Henkel site in Bridgewater, NJ, more than 200 employees work on adhesive solutions and technologies, focusing on the Packaging, Consumer Goods, and Construction businesses. In 2023, we opened a new customer center, our Technology Center Bridgewater, that allows our adhesive experts to collaborate closely with customers across industries to develop innovations that fit their unique needs.

Three R&D experts standing in front of equipment and holding a smart adult care diaper.

At the Technology Center Bridgewater, customers and Henkel experts work on production challenges together to find innovative solutions.

With 70,000 square feet, the center provides an inspirational place supporting strategic partners and customers from over 800 industry segments. The objective is to encourage collaboration, co-creation, and joint value creation. By conducting research collaboratively, we find solutions to our customers’ most urgent challenges and long-term aspirations. By putting our products to the test together, we identify where to adapt them to meet their needs.

Portrait image of Michael Harwell, Head of Innovation for Consumer Goods Adhesives at Henkel

Our Adhesive Technologies innovation activities are focused on developing sustainable solutions for our customers. In the new Technology Center Bridgewater, we invite our customers from the U.S., Canada and Mexico to directly experience our innovative and technological power through collaboration with our experts, as well as digital technologies, exhibits, and labs.

While the center showcases Henkel’s entire technology portfolio of adhesives, sealants, functional coatings and specialty materials, the Technology Center also features an interactive infinity room, displaying the most innovative solutions in the region from Adhesive Technologies, ranging from sustainable packaging for consumer goods, to trends in palletizing, smart health solutions with printed electronics, digital solutions for maintenance, repair and operations of manufacturing equipment, to engineered woods solutions in building applications. Our Bridgewater location spans 150,000 square feet in total, including both offices and the customer experience space.

Henkel’s Hair Professional Hub in Los Angeles

With the intention of bringing our brands, our employees, and our customers and stylists closer together, we opened our North American headquarters for Hair Professional in Culver City, CA, in the Los Angeles area in 2018. By bringing several professional haircare brands into one technology-rich location, the teams also brought diverse expertise and inspiration together. Today, over 250 employees work in our Culver City facility. Hair colorations, hair care and styling products, and new salon techniques are at the focus of the team.

A view into the hair salon at the Academy of Hair showing hairdressing stations.

Modern styling stations with full salon capabilities are the perfect location for events and educational trainings to showcase our professional hair products to customers, influencers, and professionals.

Our Culver City facility offers an open-space work environment that fosters cross-branded collaboration and exchange. It also includes the world-class Academy of Hair which is a 3,200 square feet learning center. Showcasing all Henkel’s Hair Professional brands, the center empowers our teams to maximize their knowledge across brands and increase the speed of communication and best practice sharing. This in turn, allows them to deliver the best professional products and services to our customers, salons and stylists.

Portrait image of Stefan Mund, Regional Head Consumer Brands Professional North America

At the Academy of Hair we pool the strength and qualities of all Henkel professional brands and the diverse expertise of the teams working on these brands.

The Academy of Hair serves as a hands-on learning facility, allowing the Henkel team to introduce our products and services and to educate our salon and stylist customers on the newest trends and product technologies. Including a full-service test salon, a color bar and a digital trend lab, the academy connects the physical space with the digital, while connecting professional brands with customers in the region and globally.

From research to customer experience at Stamford, Connecticut for Consumer Brands

As our North America Consumer Goods Headquarters, the Stamford, CT, facility houses about 500 employees. It opened in 2017 and brought together experts from our laundry & home care business, as well as hair business. At the Stamford site, we have a 24,000 square foot R&D hub, which includes a formulation lab. Consumer-focused beauty care products are developed here and undergo clinical testing. As part of our R&D hub, we also operate Research@Elm. Here, we test products as part of our product development and compliance, such as moisturization, and handwash fragrance studies.

A scientist is applying a clinical test to the skin of a female research candidate.

“Working in our Research@Elm clinical studies lab is an incredibly rewarding experience,” says Eleanor Harding, Principal Scientist (right).  “I have such an appreciation for what it takes to get a product to the shelf and the strict claims testing regimen that has to be followed.”

Being closely connected across the value chain allows the teams to be involved every step of the way and by integrating direct consumer feedback and results from clinical studies, ensures that our quality of products fulfills consumers’ needs. Building on direct consumer insights and our knowledge of changing trends, we are able to leverage synergies within our R&D approach for hair and textiles.

Portrait image of Martina Spinatsch, Senior Vice President Research & Development for Consumer Brands North America

The proximity of our R&D labs to our marketing teams is allowing our teams to collaborate more closely and work faster on new product formulations and packaging. By accessing the same state-of-the-art workspace, all our brands benefit from our advanced technologies and scientific expertise.

Beyond the consumer-focused R&D approach, our Henkel Experience Center in Stamford invites customers from our Consumer Brands business to discover our brands and products. The interactive center offers strategic retail partners a place for joint value creation and showcases Henkel’s innovations in an inviting space. At 3,500 square feet, it comprises 10 different stations and many well-known household brands. The Henkel Experience Center in Stamford is a place for our retailers to get a first-hand look at our latest innovations, consumer insights, digital capabilities, marketing expertise and sustainability commitments. As interactive space, it fosters creativity, ideation and co-creation.

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Anyone who successfully manages brands over generations needs the right balance of tradition and innovation. By understanding change, we can shape the future. This is also reflected in Henkel's corporate purpose: “Pioneers at heart for the good of generations”.