Five minutes at Sepawa with …
H&PC: How is currently business at WeylChem?
Andreas Maier: We see a lot of positive developments in 2017 compared to 2016: we see a higher demand in surfactants, and our specialty business with bleach catalysts is doing much better than last year. These are synthetic metal containing catalysts able to extend the temperature range and performance where you can use peroxide bleach, lowering the environmental impact. The amount of product required is very small, so you are not bringing a lot of chemicals in the environment -we talk of parts per million. It is a growing market and we see a lot of opportunities in the automatic dishwashing sector. We are not only selling the chemical itself but we sell a full package for the customers, which are various stabilized forms of the catalysts. This stabilization is absolutely necessary, since the little catalyst that is used cannot be lost and other products in a formulation could damage it. Customers get all the usage and formulation data andwe assist with any formulation problem they might have.
H&PC: Are you presenting further new products?
AM: We are launching two new products in home care (WeylClean® FDO XP, SKS6® WB) and one product for personal care applications (WeylCare® PB), the latter being a booster for preservatives. It is also an emollient with a good skin feel. Our general strategy is to introduce new products into the market to diversify not only on the home care market but to increase our general product portfolio. We are a newcomer in this market, but we do have expertise and a big sister organization active in fine chemicals, and several of their products can be applied in personal care formulations.
H&PC: In August your company launched a Technology Innovation Center. Can you tell us more?
AM: It is WeylChem Innotec, based in Germany and employing about 120 people. They come from the fine chemicals part of our activities and focus on process development. It is an expertise that then we can also use for the consumer care unit if there is a technology or a specific molecule that we want to make. In particular they have a high pressure units and are experts in low temperature chemistry.
H&PC: What is driving the business on WeylChem now?
AM: The home care part is mostly driven by the bleach catalysts, they have a lot of momentum. In addition in the home care market, there is a new product launch that we look forward to: A range of soil release polymers for solid and liquid applicationscalled We will launch a series of those in the next 12 months.
H&PC: Are there any regulatory challenges on the horizon?
AM: One of the challenges everyone is talking about is related to microspheres and microbeads used in personal care, but also other consumer products We just saw the first ban of such products in the UK.That is something that we hear about from our customers. We are trying to understand if we can benefit from that change. Every regulatory change can be a challenge or an opportunity, depending on which side you stand. We are also already reacting to the current discussion on preservatives: by applying our boosters the formulation are more stable with less preservative. We are also looking at the segment of sun care, where there is a large need for highly efficient emulsifiers.
H&PC: If you can sum up what makes WeylChem unique, what would you say?
AM: You get the flexibility of a small company and the know-how of a large corporation. There are shallow hierarchies, not many decision levels between the shop floor workers and management. We can bring together the best of both worlds, for the benefits of our customers