Exhibitor Interview: Holger Schuh, EIMEA Business Development Manager, Thermal Interface Materials Henkel Corporation, Adhesive Electronics
Holger has 20 years’ experience in application engineering and thermal management technologies. He joined The Bergquist Company in 2011 as Field Sales Manager. Following Henkel’s acquisition of The Bergquist Company in 2014, Holger became a member of the Product Management/Application Engineering team, where he focused on the liquid thermal management portfolio and optimisation of the dispensing process. Currently, Holger serves as the Henkel Adhesive Electronics EIMEA Business Development Manager for Thermal Interface Materials.
Which customer or market demands were the biggest drivers of your company’s growth during the past three years?
Automotive electrification has been among the biggest innovation drivers in recent years. This sector, along with the demanding requirements in consumer and industrial applications like handhelds, power, telecom, lighting and automation, have led Henkel’s development efforts and contributed to the company’s substantive growth in the electronics market. With our diverse portfolio of electronic materials, decades of formulation and application expertise and global support network, Henkel’s leadership in comprehensive electronic materials solutions is unmatched. In the case of automotive, our thermal management, interconnect, semiconductor and protection materials are delivering new levels of performance and reliability.
Do you anticipate that those demands will continue to be your biggest growth drivers for the next three years, or are you anticipating new trends?
Although Henkel’s electronics group holds a leadership position in several electronics market sectors (consumer, industrial, semiconductor, etc.), automotive is undoubtedly one of the major growth drivers for our business. So, in keeping with the show’s focus, my response here will touch on our automotive initiatives. Advancement of purely electric vehicle technology will continue to push the limits of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, which will demand the use of lighter materials with superior heat dissipation capability to extend driving ranges and speeds, improve safety and ensure long-term reliability. Henkel’s thermal interface materials already deliver significant thermal management advantages, and our development efforts are focused on raising the performance of Li-ion batteries. Soon-to-be-commercialised inks for battery heating in cold temperatures, novel high-thermal-conductivity hybrid GAP PAD thermal interface materials, speciality coatings for battery cells and a host of other formulation initiatives have the potential to dramatically improve battery performance.
What are your areas of R&D focus, and what timeline do you anticipate for bringing your next new products to market? Can you tell us anything about those products?
Again, we are leading in multiple markets but, for automotive specifically, Henkel is laser focused on thermal management, interconnect, bonding and protection materials for new-energy vehicle battery technology and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as radars and cameras. As mentioned previously, novel inks and coatings, liquid dispensed form-in-place thermal management materials for automated high throughput, and dual-function products are all part of our R&D efforts. Show delegates interested in learning the specifics of these initiatives are invited to visit the Henkel stand at the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo and speak with our technical team.
What new trends do you anticipate and what market demands do you see evolving/changing over the next five years?
In automotive electronics, Henkel sees the continued drive to develop low-emission, high-efficiency, cost-effective, safe and reliable, battery-operated, autonomous driving vehicles. There is much work to do, of course, but the wheels are in motion. With this comes the need for improved manufacturing efficiencies, which we are addressing with thermal materials that can be applied through automation; better thermal transfer rates through liquid thermal interface materials and hybrid products; and non-silicone materials for applications where silicone migration is problematic. The bottom line is that innovation in automotive technology will require a holistic approach, and electronic materials performance is a critical component.
What would you say are the key challenges and opportunities currently faced by the industry?
One of the biggest challenges in the automotive sector is time to market; being the first can make a big difference in market perception and consumer buy-in. Design cycles in automotive are only becoming shorter, drastically reducing the time between communication of CTQ objectives and the launch of a new material. However, Henkel’s broad knowledge of material behaviour and formulation allows us to leverage a variety of chemistry platforms to manage these time-to-market demands. This challenge is, in fact, an opportunity for Henkel – not only in thermal management materials, where we have 50+ years of expertise, but also in other sectors where we have successfully delivered brand-new material solutions in a matter of weeks.
What is your company’s approach to strategic partnerships or joint ventures, and what kinds of partnerships are you most open to exploring?
Henkel is always open to exploring strategic partnerships, academic relationships and joint ventures where it is mutually beneficial. Our Electronics group has a long history of this kind of activity. For example, our strategic partnerships with top dispensing equipment companies is helping to deliver a turnkey solution for dispensing of highly filled liquid thermal interface materials.
What products will you be featuring at the show this year and what response are you expecting?
At the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo this year, Henkel will highlight our latest low-volatile and silicone-free materials, as silicone migration is a top concern, especially in the Li-ion battery sector. In addition, Henkel liquid gap fillers, low-modulus gap pads and dual-function materials, such as EMI gap pads will be on show. We are looking forward to connecting with current and prospective automotive customers and expect a positive response, as these products have been designed specifically for the new-energy vehicle market.
Henkel will be exhibiting on stand 452 at Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo Europe.