Polyurethane, foams and adhesives have been the primary focus at Arkel in the Netherlands for more than 40 years now. tremco illbruck's technology centre is also able to demonstrate great experience and combined expertise in areas other than foam systems, too. Premium products such as masonry adhesive PU700, wood adhesive PU08 and joint filler JF100 – which is compatible with creating a healthy living environment – are all manufactured here too.
Goslin van Herpen leads the team of over fourteen research and development (R&D) experts in Arkel. He also takes an active role as the chair of the “Technical Task Force for Single-Component Foams” within FEICA, the association for European adhesives manufacturers. He shares knowledge with other industry experts on the latest trends and developments in relation to sustainable development as well as improved health and safety standards. In this way, the Head of R&D at Arkel is making an important contribution to sustainable and healthy living environments within a key body.
Enthusiastic research and pragmatic implementation
The Arkel location ensures that tremco illbruck expands its role as an innovation leader for foams through its work in developing top-quality, innovative products – and not only do the figures stack up, they provide a solid foundation for this position. “We are passionate inventors and developing new technologies and applications fills us with enthusiasm”, says van Herpen.
“Quite simply, we enjoy seeking out a challenge."
Our goal is to make progress in developing completely new product families in addition to PU foams. The challenge here is ensuring that our new developments meet user requirements while also remaining financially viable”, explains the Head of Research. “The Stage Gate model supports us in optimising our product development process – from the idea through to market launch.”
A market pioneer
Market changes pose a particular challenge for R&D. The mandatory changeover as a result of legislation from non-combustible hydrochlorofluorocarbons to more environmentally-friendly propellants has meant that manufacturers of sprayable polyurethane foams have been faced with new rules. The challenging task: finding substances which produce the same mechanical effects without negative consequences for the usage and storage properties of the products. tremco illbruck was one of the first manufacturers to launch a complete product range of CFC-free foams to the market – long before the legally-required deadline in 2004.
Finding alternatives for a healthy living environment
A large proportion of the research activities are concerned with finding ecologically viable alternatives to PU foam. “It is not easy to replace tried and tested technologies such as PU. However, each time we develop a new product, we learn something that we can continue to optimise in the next product development process.” Goslin van Herpen and his R&D team are highly successful in this respect: Joint filler JF100 is the next generation of insulating foams. The water-based formula has no negative consequences for human beings or the environment. With JF100, tremco illbruck is delivering the right answer to questions which arise more and more frequently on low-emission products and products which are produced with an awareness of health.
Arkel has also developed an iso-cyanate-free STP foam for the French market which is not subject to labelling requirements as well as PU010, which is a fast-drying adhesive for thermal insulation systems. Not only is the high-performance adhesive PU700 impressive for its powerful adhesion properties to mineral surfaces, it also stands out as a result of its simple, clean and time-saving processing characteristics. It is also much easier to transport than mortar.
Innovation – also through design
At the Arkel location, Van Goslin's research team is not only occupied with product innovations, the team is also busy working on new, user-friendly packaging. As a result, JF100 joint filler was honoured with the renowned iF Design Award in 2016 for its innovative, ergonomically shaped can. tremco illbruck revolutionised the market with its patented 2-in-1 adapter for pipette and gun applications for all foams – including for JF100. With the help of the 2-in-1 adapter, even areas which are difficult to access can be filled, quickly and cleanly.
By means of new packaging solutions and an increased focus on making products easy to handle, Goslin van Herpen seeks to make R&D activities in Arkel about more than just product development. But what is particularly important to the Head of Development: both now and in the future, he wants tremco illbruck to be perceived as a manufacturer which not only stands out for its products which meet the highest standards, but also as a manufacturer which implements its pooled knowledge for the benefit of the customer: “Our customers can be certain of this: our products deliver what they promise on their labels.”