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Industry's Business Perspective has not been as optimistic since 2011

Despite economic and geo-political risks, a solid global economic upswing is emerging, and it is also perceptible in the German Adhesives Industry. The positive development is based on a good export situation, a good construction market as well as on an increasing demand & investments in mechanical engineering. A slight headwind derives from currency effects and challenges regarding the current raw-material availability.

The good economic conditions are also reflected in IVK's bi-annual Business Survey: the Business Barometer shows a positive picture of the current market- & business situation, and of the sales development; the industry's business perspective has not been as optimistic since 2011. This positive business-rating also applies to the expectations of IVKs membership with a view on the upcoming financial year.
The results of the business survey for the German and Dutch-speaking areas (A, CH & NL) show an even slightly better economic outlook in terms of market conditions and sales.


Ansgar van Halteren, CEO & Executive Board member of IVK (left) welcomes Zhou Zhuye, Vice-Chairman of PCPIF (right).


IVK welcomes Chinese Delegation from CPCIF & MIIT

In October 2017 a Chinese delegation - lead by high-ranking representatives of the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF) and the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) - visited IVK's headquarter in Düsseldorf. During the course of an in-depth discussion the structure and the broad services-portfolio of IVK and the technological & economic importance of the German Adhesives Industry were presented. A special focus was given to the issues of Circular Economy & Sustainability and the valuable contribution of the adhesives bonding technology towards design, recyclability, re-workability & sustainability of bonded products.



NEW RELEASE: Adhesives Technology Compendium - Edition 2017

A brand new 2017 edition of the Adhesives Technology Compendium has been published this month.

In a joint project the German Adhesives Association (IVK) and the editors of the magazine ADHESION - Adhesives & Sealants started already back in 2009, to publish the Adhesives Technology Compendium every second year. Since 2015, the team of authors has been extended to IVK’s fellow associations from Austria (FCIO – Austrian Association of Flooring Adhesives), The Netherlands (VLK – Dutch Adhesives and Sealant Association) and Switzerland (FKS – Association of the Swiss Adhesive and Sealant Industry).

Thus, the newly published reference book 2017 contains the company profiles of more than 160 adhesive & sealant manufacturers, raw-material suppliers, dosing & mixing equipment suppliers, research institutes, as well as consultancy companies and toll manufacturers from these four European countries. Furthermore the compendium gives a survey on the broad activities and committee work of IVK and its sister associations, as well as on European legislation & regulations, statistics and standards, important to the European Adhesives & Sealants Industry.

The Adhesives Technology Compendium is an important element of the communication strategy of the German- & Dutch-speaking adhesive Industries. Therefore 5,500 copies of this reference book will be distributed throughout Europe, Asia and the US.

An e-paper version is also available on the internet: http://www.adhesivetechnologycompendium.de/.



Annual Press Conference 2017

On its annual press conference 2017 IVK reported that the German Adhesives Industry continues on an solid growth path and presented the corresponding facts & figures.

In the financial year 2016, the German adhesives industry generated revenues of 3.7 billion Euro with all adhesive systems combined, thus fulfilling the growth forecast of 1.2 percent nominally. The outlook for the economic growth is positive as well.  For the current financial year, industry observers forecast a nominal growth in turnover of at least 2.0 percent. A major growth engine contributing to this trend is the strong performing construction sector.

The economic data correlates with the results of the current IVK economic survey, where for the first time also Austrian, Swiss and Dutch adhesives manufacturers were polled.  Their assessment of the market situation has not been this positive since 2011.

The worldwide annual sales of adhesives and sealants, cement-based construction materials and adhesive tapes amount to almost 61 billion Euro. With a global market share of approximately 19 percent, the German adhesive industry is the world market leader. In Western Europe as well, this industry sector with adhesive consumption of 27 percent and an adhesive production share of 34 percent takes first place in both categories. Besides domestic sales of 2.1 billion Euro, Germany exports products worth almost 1.7 billion Euro. In addition, German adhesive manufacturers generate a turnover of 8.1 billion Euro locally in their overseas production plants.

In 2016, the most important types of product in terms of production volume were dispersion adhesives with an overall production volume of around 420,000 tons. Next in line were reactive adhesive systems with 250,000 tons and hot melt adhesives with 150,000 tons.

The main sales markets for adhesives are the sectors of paper/packaging, automotive industry, wood, electronics and construction industries.  In 2016, turnover increased in all other sectors – with the exception of the graphic arts industry.  In the wood and construction industry, sales increased by 1.2 and 2.6 percent respectively compared to the previous year. The sector of electrical and optical equipment with a growth rate of 1.1 percent in Germany has a major global significance for the adhesive industry. Here, adhesives are used to mount lenses and prisms in optical equipment.

For the current financial year, the German adhesives industry expects the positive economic dynamics to continue. "Despite a long list of risk factors, the global economy remains on a steady growth course. A similarly positive picture is seen in the user industries for adhesives", forecasts  Dr. Tasche, chairman of IVK. "We expect a nominal sales growth of at least 2.0 percent and approximately 3.8 billion Euro in total sales for the German industry sector". 

One challenge is the continuing increase in raw material prices. Overall, the supply situation for major basic raw materials is generally good, however for some intermediate products there are reports of Force Majeure. "Mainly for isocyanates and raw materials for polyurethane adhesives, shortages can be observed",  notes Dr. Tasche.



Adhesive Bonding Roadmap outlines Areas of R&D

IVK is intensively involved in an interdisciplinary platform (GAK - Joint Committee on Adhesive Bonding), which combines expert knowledge in the field of adhesive bonding technology from the adhesives industry, science, and customer industries.

Research in the field of adhesives / adhesives bonding is a key factor in the development of innovative products in many industries. However, there is still a need for extensive research in order to enable the use of adhesives in production processes to be managed more effectively and to enable the service life of bonded joints to be predicted more reliably. A roadmap which has been developed by experts from GAK outlines current and future areas of research in adhesive bonding technology an provides orientation for application-oriented R&D.

Adhesive Bonding Roadmap: Increasing Trust in Adhesives


IVK successfully launched 6 New Work items on ISO level

ISO - the International Standardisation Organisation has accepted 6 new work items (NWI) in the field of flooring-adhesives.

At a request of IVK - launched by DIN - the necessary majotity of six ISO members, namely SAC/China, AFNOR/France, UNI/Italy, JISC/Japan, and ANSI/USA, were in favour to transfer the European Standards:

  • EN 1372
    Adhesives - Test method for adhesives for floor and wall coverings - Peel test
  • EN 1373
    Adhesives - Test method for adhesives for floor and wall coverings - Shear test
  • EN 1903
    Adhesives - Test method for adhesives for plastic or rubber floor coverings or wall coverings - Determination of dimensional changes after accelerated ageing
  • EN 1841
    Adhesives - Test method for floor coverings and wall coverings - Determination of the dimensional changes of a linoleum floor covering in contact with an adhesive
  • EN 13415
    Test of adhesive for floor covering - Determination of the electrical resistance of adhesive films and composites
  • EN 14259
    Adhesives for floor coverings - Requirements for mechanical and electrical performance

into ISO-Standards. The six organisations confirmed their commitment to support these 6 NWI's, and to work actively on the projects. Surprisingly BSI/UK, FSF/Finland, and KSK/Korea did not support IVK's request.

A first expert discussion on the NWI's will take place at the meeting of ISO/TC 61/SC 11/WG 5 "Plastics/Products/Polymeric Adhesives" on September 19, 2017 in Korea; an expert from IVK will participate in this meeting.

According to the ISO-rules the new standards have to be finalized and published within 36 months; due to the fact that these NWI's are based on existing EN-standards which are broadly used by craftsmen & industry, the publication of the new ISO-standards is expected within the next 24 month.

IVK interprets this positive result as further evidence that its active participation in ISO standardization in the meantime bears fruit.


Adhesive industry continues to grow

The majority of the German-speaking and Dutch adhesives industry assesses the current business situation as good. Economc expectations for the second half of 2017 are also being positively assessed by the companies. This is a result of a business survey conducted by the German Adhesives Association.

The bi-annual economic survey conducted by IVK is an important indicator of the economic sentiment of the industry. In addition to adhesive companies from Germany, manufacturers from Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands were also interviewed for the first time this year. A total of 100 companies participated in this representative IVK-survey.

Outlook for the year 2017

Expectations for the upcoming months are positive: 40 percent of companies expect a more favorable market situation. Increasing sales and a higher export volume are expected by 65 percent of German, Austrian, Swiss and Dutch adhesives manufacturers. According to almost two-thirds of respondents, the number of employees will remain constant. The remaining third expects an increasing number of employees. Overall, the German, Austrian, Swiss and Dutch adhesives manufacturers employ more than 16,000 people.

On the basis of this economic survey and key economic indicators, the economic year 2017 will show a moderate but robust economic dynamic, which is expected to result in a growth of at least 2 percent. In addition, there will be some positive export effects. The current tense raw material situation is a challenge for the adhesives industry.


Adhesives Companies are increasingly focusing on bio-renewal Adhesives

The share of bio-based adhesives on the market is growing. The German adhesives industry is driving this development and working on new formulas based on renewable raw materials. In doing so, nature is being used as a model. Already Leonardo da Vinci based his flying machines on the movements of birds. Today, numerous products are based on biomimetics. Well-known examples include Velcro, which researchers copied from the burrs of the brudock plant, or echolocation from bats, which is used in parking assistant systems.

Adhesives manufacturers are taking things a step further: they are not only adopting mechanical processes from nature but chemical ones as well. The aim is to establish bio-based adhesives as an equivalent replacement for mineral oil-based adhesive solutions.
Already today, 15 percent of the adhesives used are made from renewable raw materials. This figure will continue to rise in the years ahead.
One of the challenges lies in the technical implementation. Natural materials have much more complex chemical structures than mineral oil. That is why IVK member companies are conducting intensive research in this field. The development will increasingly result in a production process based in natural materials rather than on petrochemical raw materials.

The medical field has been using bio-based adhesives successfully for years. For example, doctors use a mussel-based adhesive as an effective method to close small tears in the amniotic sac. Advantage: the adhesive contains certain proteins which are particularly well-tolerated by the body. It also works within the space of 10 to 20 seconds and can be applied very precisely.


IVK position regarding the proposed EU-Ecodesign Requirements for electronic Displays

The German Ahesives Association has strong concerns about the proposed resource efficiency requirements draft EU-Ecodesign regulation for electronic displays and devices as well as similar provisions discussed for the product categories servers & storage devices and computers - only allowing the use of adhesive tapes!

Representing producers of key enabling technologies, IVK-members fear various negative impacts on their business, customers and innovation capacities along the whole value chain. IVK hence urges the European Commission to reconsider its draft and propose a solution that allows continuous innovation while at the same time preventing a technology lock-in in the near future.

Ahesives - applied as a liquid or as a tape - are on of the most important enabling technologies of today's state of the art technology in the electronics sector. They allow design for slimmer, smaller, lighter and better sealed products with electronic displays (e.g. laptop computers, tablets, medical devices, etc.) as well as servers, storage devices, and computers. Thereby, adhesive-systems contribute to several positive life-cycle benefits of singular devices. They enhance features such as resource efficiency through increased durability and lifespan of the product leading to less repairs and conservation of resources as well as convenience and safety on the side of the consumer.

Neither liquid applied adhesives nor tapes do prevent a product's recyclability. If recyclability is part of a customer's demand this requirement can be fulfilled when designing the adhesive bond.

Because of high investments in development of the respective solutions in recent years, today many adhesive bonds used in the products affected by this regulation are "re-workable". This means they "de-bond" through the application of heat and commonly available techniques to facilitate dismantling of the prouct's components.

To add, liquid adhesives are technically not different to duoble-sided adhesive tape, which would be allowed under the current Commission porposal. Double-sided adhesive tape is merely liquid adhesive coated and dried on an inert carrier, which might have benefits in application. However, it does not further simplify  dismantling, as the adhesive used for a tape can even have the same or higher strength than a special liquid adhesive. Consequently, the allowed technology would have a worse environmental impact than the prohibited one, thus contradicting Circular Economy goals.

If the regulation were to be implemented as currently proposed, the competitiveness of the adhesives industry and the whole electronics sector would be severely impacted. In addition, imposing specific technologies to manufacturers will potentially result in a technology lock-in, thus hampering innovation and preventing the development of more efficient products in the future. This also goes against DG Energy's commitment to innovation and its endorsement of the Innovation Principle.


EU Council decides not to nominate Silicone base-material D4 under the Stockholm Convention

EU commission intended to classify octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) as a Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) according to the Stockholm Convention, which would have resulted in a ban on D4.

D4 is an essential raw material for the production of silicones, and thus, a key raw material for the production of silicone-based adhesives and sealants.

Co-ordinated by FEICA, European and national authorities have been specifically addressed and urget to vote against the EU commission proposal to list D4 as a POP under the Stockholm Convention. In Germany, IVK has contacted all relevant ministries and related agencies, accordingly.

This European initiative was a complete success!

At its meeting on April 12, 2017 the European Council voted against the proposal of the Eu Comission to submit D4 as a POP under the Stockholm Convention. Thus, a general ban on D4 is no longer possible!

As demanded by the industry, a procedure under REACH will now specifically examine for which applications D4 should be excluded, focusing on rinse-off-applications where D4-particles could enter wastewater - e.g. cosmetics, body care products, cleaning agents, waxes, polishes, etc. (https://echa.europa.eu/web/guest/registry-of-current-restriction-proposal-intentionshttps://echa.europa.eu/web/guest/registry-of-current-restriction-proposal-intentions).

Most obviously there is no further need for a specific regulation regarding adhesives & sealants based on silicones; but we will continue to closely observe this issue.


Current Trends in Key Adhesive Raw Materials

Against the background of a global economy which performs robustly, the demand for base-chemicals remains high - especially in Asia and USA.  As an economically logical consequence of this current "supply and demand mechanisms" - the prices for commodities in these markets are higher than those that can be obtained on the European market.

This effect of arbitrage as well as planned overhauls - but also force majeures - in cracker-plants and facilities dedicated to the production of base-chemicals have a negative impact on the availability of key adhesive raw materials.

In this context, IVK - the German Adhesives Association has published a briefing note & press release informing about the current trends in key adhesive raw materials.

Please find the briefing note/press release "Current trends in key adhesive raw materials" below. Please feel free to share this information.

Current trends in key adhesive raw materials


A holistic approach to the evaluation of in-can preservatives

Industries using preservatives in their products which are placed onto the European market are currently faced with significant challenges for the preservation of those products linked to the technical and regulatory requirements of the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR, Regulation (EU) 528/2012), as well as to those resulting from other legislation such as the re-classification of individual biocidal active substances under Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures (Regulation (EU) 1272/2008, CLP). As a consequence downstream user industries – such as the adhesive & sealant industry - face an increasingly developing uncertainty of the availability of critical active substances.

In-can preservatives remain fundamental for the effective and safe preservation of water-based products because they control the presence of micro-organisms that may cause deterioration and spoilage – thus, ensuring products remain fit for purpose throughout their intended life. It is, therefore essential to maintain a diverse portfolio of preservatives not only to maintain the multiple products’ performance, but also to protect human health. A wide range of biocidal substances is needed to avoid the development of potential tolerances and resistances.

In this context, a European downstream user expert committee – including experts from the German Adhesives Association - worked out the position paper “A holistic approach to the evaluation of in-can preservatives”.

This position paper which at the same time is an appeal has been presented on the meeting of the EU Member State Competent Authorities Meeting for Biocides in March 2017.

Please share this European position paper/appeal as often as possible!

Holistic Approach - Review of PT 6 in-can preservatives


Database with 750+ documents relevant to adhesive bonding is now online

Experts from IVK have developed a database that contains actually more than 750 documents relevant for the development, production and testing of any kind of adhesive bonded joints. In addition to the relevant German, European and international standards, the database also refers to industry-internal guidelines, technical briefing notes from IVK, and from related customer industry organizations.

The database is equipped with a comprehensive search function, which allows the user to search specifically for relevant subjects. The user receives a brief description of the content of the found document(s) and a link to the reference source.

With this database the German Adhesives Association provides another meaningful tool to improve the safety and reliability of adhesive bonded components.

The database which is only available in German can be found on IVK’s webpage by following this link.



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