Henkel invests €18m in Dublin to R&D new 3D-printing additives

25 Jun 2018

3D printing. Image: Kyrylo Glivin/Shutterstock

Chemical giant will use new R&D facilities to develop advanced materials.

Henkel – the owner of brands such as Sellotape, Colour Catcher and Loctite – is to invest €18m in a new innovation and interaction centre for additive manufacturing focused on 3D printing.

The company is the world’s largest manufacturer of adhesives, sealants and functional coatings, and has a significant manufacturing and R&D operation that employs 400 people in Dublin for a wide range of adhesive technologies.

‘Additive manufacturing will be a significant disrupter to future manufacturing methodologies’

The initial stage of the centre comprises 700 sq m of laboratories, customer service offices, meeting rooms and 3D-printing facilities. Henkel plans to further expand the centre to 2,000 sq m to include five additional laboratories, workstations and meeting spaces over the next two years.

R&D knowledge and experience

“Henkel’s Tallaght site was chosen as the regional hub for Europe due to the existing team’s leading R&D knowledge and experience in resins and other adhesive technologies; and because of the site’s proximity to Henkel Ireland’s production and R&D bases,” said Dr Michael Todd, global head of innovation at Henkel Adhesive Technologies.

Henkel’s additive manufacturing project, which is supported by the Irish Government through IDA Ireland, is based on a four-year investment plan with an estimated maximum spend of about €18m to expand the company’s capabilities in R&D, application and product development.

“Additive manufacturing will be a significant disrupter to future manufacturing methodologies,” explained Henkel technology centre director Dr Matthew Holloway.

“The decision to locate this centre in Dublin demonstrates Henkel’s commitment to Ireland and cements its position as a vital European hub for the global business.

“At Henkel Ireland, we have a proven track record of developing world-class adhesives and, as such, we look forward to focusing our expertise on creating new chemistries and technologies for 3D printing. In addition, the cluster of leading medtech, aerospace and other industries using 3D printing made Ireland a natural choice to create a regional hub for Europe.”

The company aims to support a team of highly skilled scientists and engineers who will develop new advanced materials for use in a broad range of industrial manufacturing.

The innovation and interaction centre is equipped with carbon and HP printers in addition to specialised Henkel equipment, technology and devices for additive manufacturing.

The centre is a hub for training and customer service from sectors as diverse as medtech, automotive and manufacturing, which will be able to discover the world-leading solutions Henkel offers.

“Henkel is a significant employer in Ireland employing 400 people and is a longstanding IDA client,” IDA Ireland executive director Mary Buckley said.

“Additive manufacturing will be of crucial importance globally, with its potential applications in industries such as healthcare and automotive. It presents a fantastic opportunity for Ireland to enhance our global reputation in R&D in novel technologies so that we continue to be at the heart of delivering innovative new products to market.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years