Evonik & Safic-Alcan : a dynamic partnership in the coatings industry

Evonik & Safic-Alcan : a dynamic partnership in the coatings industry

In the fast-moving world of chemical innovation and industrial solutions, strategic partnerships are often the source of revolutionary breakthroughs. The lasting alliance between Evonik Operations GmbH, renowned for its expertise in speciality chemicals, and Safic-Alcan, a trusted distributor of raw materials, is a perfect illustration of this synergy and shared success.

At Eurocoat 2024, one of the major events for the coatings industry in France, Evonik and Safic-Alcan are united, showcasing their combined expertise, innovative solutions and commitment to excellence, on stand #D14.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its corporate strategy is based on a large number of specialised activities, a capacity for innovation focused on customer needs and a corporate culture founded on trust and performance. Safic-Alcan is an independent distributor of speciality chemicals with a global network. Together, they have been providing formulators with best-in-class products and technical expertise since 1997.

Today, in a joint interview with Karine Guichet, Business Director France for Coatings, Construction and Polyurethanes, and Eric Dubus, Business Director South Europe at Evonik Coatings Additives, they discuss in detail the partnership, sustainable development in coatings, the outlook and opportunities in this market, and other topics.

What is the origin of this long-standing partnership between Safic-Alcan and Evonik, and what are the key factors that have contributed to its longevity?

Eric DUBUS : In the early 2000s, Evonik decided to break away from its internal distribution network and searched for the best external partner for each country to distribute its speciality chemicals. The key selection criterion was to have a partner with highly technical teams capable of understanding and meeting customers' expectations. Since then, we have been fully satisfied with our partnership with the Safic-Alcan group, and we have naturally extended the range of additives entrusted to them. 

Karine GUICHET : The partnership between Evonik and Safic-Alcan dates back more than 25 years, with an initial agreement for a range of resins for the coatings market (formerly Hüls AG) in France. Over the years, together we have been able to develop this partnership for many other ranges and in many other territories, and our story is not over yet! The main reasons for this longevity are shared values and objectives, a high level of mutual trust that leads to transparent collaboration and a high level of knowledge-sharing, flexibility and adaptability to market changes - the keys to a solid, long-term partnership.

What benefits can customers in the coatings industry derive from long-term partnerships such as this?

ED : The business of speciality chemicals such as our additives is based on a relationship of trust that is built up over the long term. Customers are looking for technical solutions from their contact person to solve their problems and optimise their formulas. To support them, Evonik provides regular technical training for the Safic-Alcan teams.

KG : Our customers are at the heart of our business.  The long-standing partnership we have with Evonik offers them real added value in several ways: combined technical expertise to provide innovative, customised solutions to their specific needs, a constant quest for excellence in product quality and in the supply chain. All this helps to strengthen the long-standing relationships we also have with our joint customers.

Innovation is crucial in the coatings industry. How has the collaboration between Safic-Alcan and Evonik fostered innovation in the sector? Can you cite any specific innovative products or solutions that have emerged from this partnership?

ED : Our partnership ensures the promotion and marketing of our additives on the coatings market. In addition, we exchange information with Safic-Alcan on the results, opinions and above all the expectations of our customers in terms of innovation. One example is the introduction of a new hydrophobic additive for façade paints with superior dirt resistance properties. Safic-Alcan can also offer logistics services tailored to the specific needs of certain customers.

KG : Yes, innovation is extremely important in our business. That's why the exchange of information and knowledge is essential. Together we identify market trends to develop customised solutions for our customers. An excellent example is the launch of the AEROSIL® Easy-to-Disperse range, which offers paint manufacturers major gains in productivity and energy consumption. As well as the technical developments to the product, the novelty also lies in the availability of a new calculator enabling these gains to be measured in concrete terms - a first!

The coatings industry is constantly evolving due to changing market demands and a focus on sustainability. How are Safic-Alcan and Evonik anticipating these changes?

ED : Evonik is working in 2 areas to meet market demands in terms of sustainability: on the one hand, Evonik is reducing its own environmental impact (footprint) by selecting raw materials and renewable energies and by optimising manufacturing processes. On the other hand, Evonik offers additives that enable its customers to improve the life cycle of products (handprint) from formulation, production, use and finally recycling.

KG : The paints industry is moving at full speed towards sustainability by becoming increasingly concerned about its impact on the environment and the climate. These changes have been anticipated by our companies, firstly by monitoring trends and regulations, by investing in research and sustainable development as our partner Evonik is doing, but also by integrating sustainability as one of the fundamental pillars of our companies' strategies.

This year, we will be co-exhibiting at Eurocoat. Can you tell us what visitors and customers can expect?

ED : This year we will be offering our customers innovative new additives such as TEGO® Guard 9000 for façade paints and the AEROSIL® Easy-to-Disperse range. We will also be providing information on the use of bio-based raw materials in our additives via our COATINO® digital platform.

KG : All sorts of interesting new ideas! I invite all visitors to the show to come and visit our stand at Eurocoat. You'll have the opportunity to discover our wide range of products and explore our latest innovations. You'll also be able to meet our EVONIK experts, as well as those from all our partners, including Lanxess, Orion, Tronox, Scott Bader, SNCZ, Vencorex and Vibrantz.

Finally, given the dynamic nature of the coatings market, how do you see the future of the industry?

ED : We are convinced that the coatings market will continue its transformation towards products that are more respectful of the environment and its customers. However, this transformation will have to take place while maintaining the quality, technical features and durability of coatings. That's why we are working closely with our customers and partners to guide our innovation efforts in this direction.

KG : We firmly believe that our industry will succeed in its transformation towards a greener offering that is good for people, the environment and the conservation of resources. We are convinced that it will do everything in its power to achieve this, given its high level of technical expertise and capacity for innovation.

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