Wacker Chemie AG bestowed this year’s Alexander Wacker Innovation Award on Christian Daniels, John Boylan and Bruce Gruber. The Wacker researchers have developed two novel dispersions based on vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymers. These kinds of dispersions are increasingly replacing the established coatings for paper applications, especially in the U.S. the company said. This year’s €10,000 innovation award focused on product innovation.
The new Vinnapas EF 101 and Vinnapas EF 575 dispersions are used mainly as coating material in paper processing. The coating ensures that the print on cardboard packaging is particularly durable and vividly colored. Compared to the acrylate-based products often used up to now, Wacker said Vinnapas EF 101 and EF 575 offers customers an alternative technology with significant cost advantages. The developers were able to modify the formulation of these dispersions such that it now has the same application-related properties as the materials previously deployed. Until now, the properties of vinyl acetate-ethylene-based dispersions differed from those of acrylate-based products, especially with regard to viscosity and heat resistance.
“These new dispersions have conquered the North American paper market within a remarkably short period of time. That has changed the rules of the game in this market,” said Wacker executive board member Wilhelm Sittenthaler in his congratulatory speech. Sittenthaler presented the award as part of Wacker’s annual R&D symposium held in Burghausen, Germany. This year marked the event’s fortieth anniversary.
Since 2005, the Munich-based chemical company has honored employees’ outstanding R&D work as part of its annual research symposium. Named after the company’s founder, the €10,000 Alexander Wacker Innovation Award rotates between the categories of product innovation, process innovation and basic research. Next year’s research competition focus will be on process innovation.