Have you ever wished you could draw on a superpower to solve a problem? A true marvel of nature, geckos have not just one but many up their sleeve, trumping your average comic book hero, villain and most of the animal kingdom any day.
Extremely adaptable, these lizards blend in practically anywhere, adept at surviving in diverse habitats and environments on every continent bar Antarctica. Enviable traits within the species include body part regeneration (the tail can detach and regrow!), color night vision, camouflage and energy conservation, storing reserves until a boost is needed. But it’s their incredible agility that tops the awe-inspiring list.
Geckos know how to be agile and fast when it matters. That famous gravity-defying ability to scale vertical walls, walk upside-down on ceilings and run on water at lightning speed is largely down to impressive adhesive power. Their feet effortlessly stick and unstick in a flash. Nature’s outstanding example of adhesion in action has flouted the seemingly impossible to survive the past 100 million years. There’s clearly a lot to be said for agility, adaptability, resource saving and regeneration to battle on in the face of predators, changing climates and man’s interference.
We’re very proud to say we have our own gecko family at Clariant - our very own adhesive superstars. They have a similarly awesome skillset for our customers to draw on so they too can solve needs quickly. Our Licocene® adhesive additives have agility, resource-saving and regeneration at their core. They’re expert at future-proofing manufacturers to take on today’s unmet performance and environmental challenges with safer, more sustainable choices. And are highly adaptable, in literally hundreds of applications from adhesives in baby diapers and femcare hygiene to car textiles, 3D printing inks, consumer electronics and more.
To the original team developing Licocene additives, it was clear early on that they had created a star with potential. A core technology, which with the right investment and tailoring, could help many industries to challenge convention and find sustainable solutions to unmet needs. »It’s great to still see that momentum today, particularly now when new global challenges are adding to manufacturing pressures,« says Martin John, Head of Additives Coatings & Adhesives.
Fast, agile and adaptable
Being agile enough to react quickly is paramount. Therefore, in 2020, Clariant has completed new state-of-the-art capabilities in Frankfurt to support customers’ product development. A development laboratory, pilot plant and second full-scale plant create an ideal joint working environment to create, test and make tailor-made solutions that are produced sustainably. It will help customers in many industries to seize chances to explore new areas and keep on delivering innovation firsts with lower impact on resources and the environment. Tackling regulatory change, economic pressures and something as important as daily healthy sleep.
»We’ve seen just how important it is for manufacturers to be adaptable and quick to react. Despite any challenges, we are ready for fast and agile future cooperation, which will lead to clear customer benefits and contribute towards healthier and more sustainable products. Never has the need for sustainable technology that helps customers respond to changing times been more relevant.«
Martin John, Head of Additives Coatings & Adhesives
What’s the challenge?
Licocene is behind many innovation firsts that go well beyond just traditional adhesion power of super-strong tapes and labels.
Take recyclability. It forged the once deemed impossible path to fully recyclable carpets and artificial turf – with Licocene-based adhesive you really can separate synthetic textiles, freeing up the materials for future use. And pollution-reduction. It ensures new mattresses or furniture have much less of the odor and hazardous VOC emissions once accepted as being the norm. Steering manufacturers away from scrutinized materials isn’t just limited to adhesives either, like supporting performance of textured PTFE-free powder coatings for stylish metal furnishings.
Much of Licocene’s success is down to the innovative, highly-reliable metallocene catalysts used in its manufacture. These are the backbone for ensuring performance benefits. Be that great sticking and unsticking power, or making it easy to produce smooth printing inks, industrial coatings or a plastic part with strong color strength.
Every solution is founded on a less is more principle, helping customers be more sustainable in their production by using fewer ingredients, manufacturing steps and resources – a big plus particularly for energy- and/or water-intensive technologies. This resource-efficiency was boosted in 2019 with the launch of renewable feedstock versions - Licocene Terra. Clariant is ready to increase availability as demand grows from the various market segments for Licocene products with a negative CO₂ footprint.
Agility, adaptability, and supporting resource savings and a new life for products are key differentiators for future survival. As scientists and engineers continue to seek inspiration from nature, applying its strengths to cut through technology limitations and improve quality of life, we’re very proud our gecko is close at hand.