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15-Sep-2015  Düsseldorf / Germany

Open Innovation at Henkel

The future of washing

How does Henkel develop success innovations? Besides the central research laboratories and the various regional research and development centers around the world, Henkel relies on an “open innovation” approach – a cooperation with external partners and experts. The Technology Advisory Board of the Laundry & Home Care business unit and a collaboration with the Rheinish-Westphalian Technical University (RWTH) in Aachen, Germany, are two examples of this approach.

Open Slideshow

University scientists Professor Dr. Ulrich Schwaneberg and Dr. Ljubica Vojcic (right) from the RWTH Aachen are researching enzymes oft he future together with Henkel biotechnologist Dr. Daniela Herbst.

Open Slideshow Laundry & Home Care Technology Advisory Board

The Technology Advisory Board, here with Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum on the left and Michael Dreja on the right (from left): Prof. Dr. W. Richtering, Prof. Dr. R. Palkovitz, Prof. Dr. U. Schwaneberg, Prof. Dr. A. Böker, Prof. Dr. H. Gröger, Prof. Dr. T. Hellweg, PD Prof. Dr. D. Krautwurst und Prof. Dr. A. Fery

Integrating universities, research institutes, suppliers and customers is an important part of Henkel’s research and development strategy in order to bring innovations to the market that follow the current trends. That’s why the Laundry & Home Care business unit established a Technology Advisory Board in 2009 – a committee of eight internationally recognized top scientists from all disciplines relevant to Henkel’s research and development activities. Henkel works with these experts to research and evaluate scientific trends, and to assess future consumer needs and detergent and cleaning product requirements. Focus topics this year included encapsulation technologies, interactions of polymers and surfactants and the effect of olfactory receptors.

Another example of Henkel’s close cooperation with external research partners is the collaboration with RWTH in Aachen. The concept is called “Henkel Innovation Campus for Advanced Sustainable Technologies” (HICAST). In this innovation campus, the laundry and home-care products of the future are developed – products that contribute even more to saving resources and that are even more efficient. Henkel is investing several million euros in this interdisciplinary collaboration with four professors from the fields of chemistry and biotechnology. The scope is to investigate new and sustainable basic raw materials and develop completely new active substances. This includes new enzymes. Powerful enzymes boost the cleaning performance of laundry detergents, automatic dishwashing detergents, and, most recently, hand dishwashing liquids, particularly at low temperatures. Often, they can reduce the need for classic ingredients, such as surfactants. This makes it possible to achieve significant cuts in energy and resource use.