Innovation is for ALTANA the central key to further growth. With an R&D expenditure of more than 6% of sales, which is clearly above the sector average (even for the crisis year of 2009), ALTANA is securing its technological advantage and providing customers with unique innovative products and services. Invariably, new developments are investigated together with the customer, on behalf of the customer and in close proximity to the customer.
Forty-seven laboratory and research lab sites worldwide currently offer customers innovative solutions in the area of surface protection and surface finishing alone. Every fifth ALTANA employee globally is working in research or application technology.
Participants at the ALTANA Innovation Conference will be exchanging experience and witnessing the innovation culture of the Group over the two days of the event. Important topics are new functional surfaces, polymer electronics, nanotechnology, and industrial biotechnology applications in specialty chemicals. Besides the technical exchanges, the focus will also be on networking. As Dr. Georg F.L. Wiessmeier, chief technology officer (CTO) of the ALTANA Group, states, “We want to connect the global know-how that exists in the company even more extensively, recognize new synergies and ultimately translate all this into new products.”
This year sees the third ALTANA Innovation Conference being held. The highpoint of the international event is the official recognition of the Group’s best innovation for the year with the “ALTANA Innovation Award.” As CTO Wiessmeier said of the award, “Candidacy for the ALTANA Innovation Award is tied to a whole series of key features and other criteria. Hence, only innovations that are already achieving significant market sales are considered. The proposals must be based on an innovative concept, represent an economic benefit for ALTANA and involve advantages for the environment.”
The winning team this year is from the ECKART division: Dr. Guenter Kaupp, Dr. Dirk Schumacher, Jens Depner, Michael Gruener and Dr. Ulrich Schmidt. Their innovation is based on a new generation of patented calcium sodium borosilicate pigments, which are marketed today as MIRAGE effect pigments for cosmetics. They differ from conventional pigments based on natural mica through their extraordinary sparkle and luster. The extremely smooth coating on the calcium sodium borosilicate creates a very high level of transparency and intense interference colors. MIRAGE effect pigments are suitable for any type of color cosmetics and body care applications such as nail varnish, powders, wax-based systems, emulsions and gels, etc.
The new generation of effect pigments also includes LUXAN Glass Pearls for Industrial Applications. Their high transparency enables them to be combined with any color shade, without impairing the character of the color. Low quantities of LUXAN, for example, can make an “eye-catcher” out of a simple black – in many cases without generating flow lines. This has the advantage that rolled out products, whose color is often a recognition feature, can be easily upgraded. Normally there is no need to modify the injection mold.