FDMASIA: Hello, Ms. Huo, it is understood that you are mainly responsible for the furniture and building components market of Henkel Asia Pacific. What do you think about the current status of Henkel's development in China?
Ms. Huo: China is our largest market in the Asia Pacific region, and Chinese furniture & building components industry was in a period of rapid development in 2016 and 2017.
In 2018, downstream enterprises were affected due to the environmental laws and clients who need to export solid wood furniture were also affected due to trade war between China and the US.
At the same time, the real estate market and its downstream building components and home furnishing enterprises have also been negatively affected.
Under this circumstance, Henkel is still able to maintain a good growth momentum. One of the main reason is that domestic enterprises are greatly affected by the change in environmental regulations.
As a multinational company, not only does Henkel maintain top quality, we also constantly develop new products. In addition, we cooperate closely with well-known houseware brands, so our sales and profits keep growing and our market share is expanding.
FDMASIA: What products and innovative technologies did Henkel show at 2019 CIFM / interzum Guangzhou? What are their advantages? Can you elaborate on how the green features of these products are achieved?
Ms. Huo: Firstly, we’d like to introduce TECHNOMELT PW 866. It is developed and produced in Europe and is a universal adhesive solution based on our revolutionary PP technology.
We call this product ‘The high performance all-rounder for profile wrapping which is comparable with PUR’. It allows our customers to use the most commonly used materials in the most complex line shapes and finish the coating at different processing speeds. This product also won the special award of "20 plus 20 Annual List".
Secondly, it is the adhesive for mattresses and sofas. In the past, the solvent adhesive used in the mattress production process had strong odor, which is harmful to the environment and may cause health issues.
Henkel now offers a total solution, including APAO, PSA, EVA hotmelt, PUR hotmelt and water-based adhesives. They are solvent-free, healthy and safe.
Especially for PUR hotmelt adhesive, which was developed in Japan, due to its aging population, local consumers have higher requirements on the softness of the mattress, and this PUR hotmelt adhesive has a soft film, which is very suitable for bonding of the PU sponge mattress and will not produce noise during daily use. At present, we have introduced this product in China.
Our comprehensive product range is able to meet the diverse needs of mid- to high-end customers. In addition to the PUR hot melt adhesive applied to the mattress, PUR adhesive has been developed for other applications.
The only drawback of this type of product may be its high price, but it has less glue usage per application and customer spends less downtime, which can help customers to maintain cost competitiveness, so the overall cost will not be high.
In addition, Henkel's KS series edge banding hot melt adhesive can be widely used in the straight edge banding, manual edge banding, curved edge banding and soft forming edge of wood products such as panel living room, bedroom furniture, kitchen furniture, office furniture and solid wood furniture.
It is very suitable for bonding PVC, ABS, PP, melamine impregnated paper edge, non-backed thin veneer, backed veneer, solid wood strip, HPL and other edge banding materials. KS series hot melt adhesives are environmentally friendly products and their free formaldehyde formula is in line with Japanese JAIA F☆☆☆☆ certification.
At this exhibition, we also launched a highlight product, which is Henkel Engineering Wood Adhesive. The demand for wooden building materials is increasing rapidly, as a load-bearing material, it promoted the need for tailor-made controllable adhesives.
For this, Henkel Engineering's Loctite Purbond polyurethane adhesives offer a very high load-bearing capacity. It does not contain solvent or formaldehyde, meet the most stringent indoor air quality standards, and are globally certified for use in all kinds of applications.
FDMASIA: In this era of big data and Internet+, Henkel proposed a digital platform for achieving efficient cooperation. Can you elaborate on this platform and its functions and features?
Ms. Huo: At present, our digital platform includes remote visualisation service, VR technology, ACE visual mobile sales support platform, e-commerce and smart factory, etc.
Henkel and its global team of experts attempt to become a strong and trustable partner for you by utilising the innovative service technology.
It contains providing remote and convenient visualisation services through mobile video, integrating Henkel's global industry-leading expert team resources to provide professional training for partners, offering remote or on-site project testing and training to customers.
At the exhibition site, Henkel also used virtual reality (VR) technology to lead everyone into the scene of application of Henkel furniture products hence the audience can get an understanding of Henkel’s advance technology in an intuitive manner.
In addition, Henkel ACE visual mobile sales support platform was also demonstrated. The platform is based on Henkel's five-year proven SAAS technology in 130 countries, which is used in smartphones and tablets to make sales easier.
The online store is Henkel's 24-hour electronic online ordering system, which is convenient for customers to browse, inquire, place orders, etc.; 1688 brand station serves as a platform for sharing excellent solutions, we will promote high-quality product solutions to the majority of industry users.
As the first 1688 brand station established in the entire chemical materials industry, it is convenient and can quickly spread to customers and manufacturers in the industrial field through the e-commerce customer network to meet the complex procurement needs of various enterprises.
On top of all these, Henkel's Dragon Factory in Jinshan, Shanghai, is a digital smart factory that realises a paperless office, shifting from data receiving to data-driven, from local site drive to cloud-based data-driven manufacturing, and improving existing operational functions.
The data shows that smart factories can reduce average cycle manufacturing time by about 30 percent, reduce customer complaints by about 15 percent, increase line operation efficiency by about 10 percent, reduce energy used by about five percent.
In short, with data-driven production, the entire manufacturing process becomes more efficient.