The 47-year-old’s team at WACKER is responsible for developing new business around specialty products. Right now, for instance, his product developers are working on additives used for adhesives in the rotors of large wind turbines. Bonding the two halves of rotor blades together requires hundreds of kilograms of adhesive, and as the size of wind turbines continues to grow, the adhesives used have to withstand more and more. Because the adhesive itself is brittle, the additives produced in Küpfer’s lab are intended to improve its ability to weather shocks and impacts.
Küpfer’s job is to work with potential new customers to develop new, marketable products, and that involves more than just chemical formulas – business acumen also plays a major role. After all, customers always expect a new solution to deliver an economic benefit as well. “Having an outstanding product doesn’t really help much if the customer can’t pay for it – or doesn’t want to,” Küpfer explains.