The largest adhesives manufacturer in the world is Henkel, which is headquartered in Germany but has facilities all over the world, including several in Ireland. Its Irish facilities, which include sites in Tallaght, Ballyfermot and Little Island, Cork, employ a total of about 400 people, but that number is about to grow as the company has announced it is expanding its Tallaght site to include a new additive manufacturing operation.
Henkel began expanding its 3D printing presence last year with the development of new materialsfor SLA/DLP 3D printing, and has partnered with several major players in the industry such as Carbon and HP.
“Henkel is stepping it up in additive manufacturing. They’re really gung-ho in getting into this industry,” Carbon Co-Founder and VP of Business Development Phil DeSimone told 3DPrint.comlast month.
Henkel recently helped to develop Carbon’s new MMD resin dispensing tool, and became the first global reseller of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion system. The new additive manufacturing operation in the Dublin town of Tallaght is the next step for Henkel in becoming a leader in 3D printing as well as adhesives.
“Additive Manufacturing will be a significant disruptor to future manufacturing methodologies and it is important for the team in Ireland to help shape this change,” said Henkel Technology Center Director Dr. Matthew Holloway. “We have a proven track record of developing world-class adhesives and look forward to focusing our expertise on creating new chemistries and technologies for 3D Printing. Henkel recognises the strength of relationships with the research community in Ireland and this will enhance our capability to innovate.”
The new operation will focus on the development of new advanced materials for use in precision manufacturing industries like medical devices and aerospace. It will result in new jobs for about 40 scientists and engineers. The full value of the investment has not been disclosed, though Dr. Holloway has said that it will be worth several million euros over an initial four-year period.
The move is one that makes sense for Henkel as it broadens its presence in the 3D printing industry.
“As the world’s largest adhesive company, Henkel is uniquely positioned to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing/industrial 3D printing. Many of the materials and equipment technology are complementary to our existing adhesive business and we already have strong relationships with many of the early adopters through this,” Dr. Holloway said.
“The specific project in Tallaght builds on the existing talent and expertise we have on site regarding light cure adhesive technology (a base for resins for certain 3D printing), and also the materials used in post processing. The speed with which we can start the project due to the available laboratory space and on-site expertise gives us an advantage.”
According to Dr. Holloway, the company’s decision to locate the new venture in Dublin was influenced by the large number of local early adopter medtech firms as well as the academic network based around Science Foundation Ireland-backed centers in the region. The venture is being supported by IDA Ireland, the country’s inward investment promotion agency.
“This move is a significant departure for Henkel into a new emerging technology. I have no doubt that the company will be able to successfully utilise their wealth of scientific knowledge with adhesive technologies to produce innovative additive manufacturing technologies,” said IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan. “Henkel’s investment will help to further develop a pronounced national competency in high performance materials for additive manufacturing. Ireland is ranked as one of the best countries in the world for business with top rated resilient supply chains which has enabled companies like Henkel to thrive and succeed here.”