Home to over 150 technical specialists, the laboratory focuses on the conception and development of new biobased products based on lactic acid or lactides, comprehensive application development work and testing and trials. ‘State-of-the-art equipment and a highly experienced team now enable Corbion to offer customers more collaborative NPD services, faster development times and exhaustive testing and trialling under conditions that mimic their specific manufacturing environments’, a spokesman for Corbion says.
With an unprecedented range of production and analytical equipment in a purpose-built 3500 square metre facility, Corbion can now innovate faster, manufacture flexibly for rapid sample provision or testing and dramatically boost its efficiency and responsiveness to customers.
In addition to its work in the food industry, Corbion’s new research center is geared towards developing biochemical solutions that improve the sustainability and performance of industrial products such as coatings and adhesives, chemicals, home and personal care, pharmaceuticals and animal nutrition. ‘Customers will benefit from first rate pilot plant and scale-up facilities and extensive analytical equipment. Developments in the area of adhesives include PURALACT® B3, which can be incorporated into polymers to produce safe, high performance, fully compostable, hot melt adhesives for cases and cartons. The new laboratory will also build on Corbion’s successful PURASOLV® esters destined for the agrochemical and electronics markets.’
Coatings and paints for indoor and outdoor purposes is a promising market for Corbion. The company is developing recipes for these products based on lactides, which in turn are incorporated into alkyd paints. Armin Michel, senior technical marketing manager: ‘Alkyd paints with solvents contain VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) which are damaging to human health. In some countries, these alkyd paints aren’t allowed to be used indoors by law. Therefore, there is a market need for ‘healthier’ formulations with a comparable performance. We can develop these formulations for our clients.’
According to Michel, there is myth that (part) biobased materials cannot compete with fossil-based products performance-wise. ‘On the contrary, in terms of gloss and hardness our coatings perform equally well. The bonus is that the gloss will sustain longer and that yellowing (of white colour) occurs in a later stage.’