FDM Asia: Can you tell us more about Jowat’s plan in China over the next few years?
Dr Ralf Schelbach (RS): As a company with a history of more than 100 years in the adhesive market, Jowat is striving for sustainability. This is not only limited to the protection of our resources, but also extends to the development of our businesses in the markets we serve.
As one of the leading adhesive suppliers, we are bound to innovate and provide to our customers first class services. Especially in the Chinese market with fast-moving competitors, we continuously review and improve our product offerings as well as the services we provide.
The market driving forces in China have changed considerably over the last decade. Industrial processes have been upgraded constantly to a level we hardly see in any other part in the world.
Automation, process and quality control, and competitive equipment solutions show clearly that China is not a developing country anymore. I expect that China will, in the near future, take the lead in manufacturing and engineering solutions and will surpass Europe in many areas.
Jowat Group is aware of these fast developments in China and is strengthening its footprint in China. We will further invest in technology, machinery, research and, last but not least, people. The past growth rate of company in China has shown that we are on the right track.
FDM Asia: Can you tell us more about the environmental-friendly products that the company offers? What are their advantages?
RS: Jowat provides, as one of the first adhesive suppliers to do so, the so called ‘super-high-solid’ solvent-based adhesives with a solid content of 75 precent.
You may recall times when a big amount of solvent-based adhesives were still used. The typical solid content of those adhesives was at the time 20-30 percent.
With the VOC regulations of the Chinese government in 2017, the company was able to offer solutions for a more than 50 percent VOC reduction to our customers.
Also, in the primer application for edgebands and foils, the company is providing water-based solutions to reduce the environmental impact of such products.
In addition, the company was in the forefront to develop low emission polyurethane hot melt adhesives more than 10 years ago as we believe we have to improve workers’ safety and protect our environment.
Green adhesives have, for many years, been a focus in our product development. Such a development requires a close cooperation with our raw material producers to provide us with the necessary feedstock.
For green adhesives, many of us expect adhesives with a high content of renewable raw materials. Plant-based oleochemistry, which converts renewable raw materials such as natural resins, vegetable oils and fats directly into base chemicals for everyday products, has been around for decades.
But these sources are not consistent in their quality and availability. Other sources which are investigated and in use are recycled oils or polymers. This leads to a so called ‘mass-balance’ approach.
Ultimately, adhesives consist of carbon building blocks, and these carbons can come from a variety of sources, such as natural oil or gas, or renewable or recycled biomass. These carbon atoms are indistinguishable from one another. These sources are then fed into a steam cracker and refined into base chemicals.
A mathematical calculation can be used to determine how much of the different feedstock has been fed into this process, and how high the proportion of renewable or recycled raw material is.
This is the most promising way to generate a higher and faster conversion rate from limited petrochemical feedstock to recycled feedstock.
Jowat offers to the market a number of products with a content of 20-50 percent of green or bio-based polymers. These products are not only limited to dispersions, but also to thermoplastic hot melts and even reactive hot melts.
In our sustainability report, we publish regularly our efforts to protect our environment, and the work force at our customers.
Furthermore, we contribute measurably to safeguarding our limited global resources to protect the future of our children and the generations to come.