Henkel’s labelling adhesives meet beverage industry concerns

Guaranteeing ice water resistance for labelling adhesives and providing expert solutions for difficult substrate applications are the main concerns for beverage and bottling customers, says leading global adhesives supplier, Henkel. Henkel’s recent US$5.05 billion acquisition and integration of the adhesive and electronic materials business of National Starch and Chemical in 2008 has almost doubled the company’s market share worldwide.

The acquisition has elevated Henkel to the number one position in the industrial adhesives market. As a result of the acquisition, the company believes it is in an even better position to leverage its combined technology for the benefit of customers.

“At a regional level, we have completed almost 90 per cent integration of National Starch. The combined product portfolios and the advanced technology the strengthened business brings to customers are substantial. For the beverages sector, we are offering customers quality adhesives to meet — and in many cases, exceed — their challenges,” says Charlie Page, National Sales Manager for Henkel’s Consumer Packaging and Graphic Arts operations. According to Page, buying National Starch has allowed for better quality products for customers, particularly in terms of advanced labelling adhesives.

“Beverage and bottling customers are choosing suppliers based on cost, sustainability, technical expertise, bulk supply options and the ability to work on varied and often difficult substrates,” he says.

Henkel’s range of labelling adhesives is tailored to address the complexities of the labelling process. Page asserts that the adhesive needs to accommodate all kinds of requirements including the container surface, the material and design of the label, the labelling system technology and finally the intended application and recycling process. Page says customers including beer giant, Fosters, are impressed with features such as ice water resistance (IWR), which prevents labels separating from the substrate when placed in extreme conditions.

“In reality, beer labels won’t come off and end up at the bottom of an ice water filled esky.”

Moreover, Henkel guarantees customers less downtime and less mess thanks to self-cleaning technology, increased product stability and longer shelf life, and the ability to run advanced production lines at high speeds and on a variety of labelling equipment. Continually improving labelling technology has also been a focus for Henkel, Page says.

“We have moved away from old technology that relied heavily on casein, a milk protein, to a synthetic technology. Synthetic adhesives provide better adhesion, IWR and product stability.”

There are benefits for Henkel too. Over the past few years, the industry has witnessed worldwide price increases for raw material casein, as the macro-economic effects of climate change and drought have hit the supply chain hard.

“It’s had an undeniable impact on the labelling sector, and across the supply chain, businesses have been prompted to look at innovative and more cost-effective alternatives,” Page says.

The company is already anticipating the challenges for customers that lie ahead. “Metallised labels can be difficult to bond and we expect increased demand for higher speeds.”

Running at high speeds increases the risk of adhesive flicking off rollers and can significantly increase the risk of adhesives not being applied to the labels satisfactorily.

Page also believes, that despite the economic downturn, customers are benefiting more than ever from Henkel’s high-performance adhesives and well-planned system solutions for all kinds of labelling jobs.

“It’s a big deal for a brewery to start trialling adhesives due to the risks involved, such as failures in the market place and time constraints. Customers are happy with our product and service and see no reason to change.”

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