As Global Head of Product Development for Organic Coatings, Ulrich Dawidowski uses his deep knowledge and experience to turn megatrends into mega opportunities for customers to save time and resources during their metal coating processes.
Global Head of Product Development
It’s my job to make customers happy. And I love it. I listen closely to understand their specific needs and then develop coating solutions that meet or go beyond their expectations – while keeping environmental sustainability in mind. I screen possible raw materials, create and fine-tune a formula, then test it in our laboratories to make sure it’s stable, safe and perfectly optimized for the customer’s unique application process.
My motivation is to minimize the use of our planet’s resources, so I’m deeply proud of how our sustainable innovations cut waste and save energy and water. I also like to experience true customer satisfaction when they use our products. Overall, I enjoy using my creativity every day and seeing the positive impact that our solutions make around the globe.
Well… no I can’t! Every customer is unique, every product and process is different, and every region has its own character. I visit the customer and check out their existing setup, and then we think about how to optimize it together. My role is to work with people from across the business – from Product Design, Production and IT through to senior leaders and CEOs.
Each business case is different, but my philosophy never changes. I take a holistic approach that considers the whole value chain, from cradle to grave. At Henkel, we don’t just say “Here’s our product, you’re welcome.” We always search for ways to make the entire process leaner and greener. And because we work across such a wide range of industries, we offer insights no other company can match.
A lot! The bans on lead and cadmium-based pigments, for example, transformed the paint industry because we had to find cost-effective ways of replacing them while delivering the same level of performance. Regulations to restrict the use of Volatile Organic Compounds or Hazardous Air Pollutants also made a massive impact and opened up completely new technologies. And the constant search for efficiency through automation and digitalization never stops driving change in this industry.
The biggest ever change, however, is happening right now.
Sustainability. Our planet’s population is rising – and so is its temperature. Every industry urgently needs to increase resource efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions. We have to rethink the way we use our planet’s resources and protect the climate before it’s too late. It’s that simple. And it’s that serious.
This technology is grabbing a lot of attention around the world, and the feedback from customers has been really positive. The sustainability aspect and the simplicity of the process attract particular interest – especially in emerging markets. So we’re really hopeful that our new products will keep growing.
A steel part, like a radiator, goes into the autophoretic tank and a chemical reaction applies the coating. Next, the part goes into the drying oven to remove water and apply a film. Then, if required, the customer moves it into the topcoat paint shop. Finished.
We don’t use electricity for deposition, we don’t use pumps in the coating bath, and we don’t use traditional metal pretreatment approaches like phosphate conversion that involve a lot of stages and generate a lot of waste. That’s why so many customers want to switch to our process!
Our process can usually just plug into the existing production process, if there’s enough space. However, the switch to BONDERITE MPP is often part of a broader change to the entire production philosophy. Big transformations like this create big value – and put big smiles on our customers’ faces!
Of course! Right now, we’re exploring innovations for coating complex aluminum parts like castings or parts with hollow sections. We’re also developing coatings in a wider range of colors, which can enable our customers to cut later steps in the paint process. And we’re always looking for ways to even further improve corrosion protection because that’s the main function of our products.
Every day, I speak to people from different industries to understand what they need. That changes over time, so our portfolio has to change too. We want to make sure we’ve always got the right answers to the biggest questions related to paint and coatings. That’s how we keep our customers smiling. And it makes me smile too.
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