Polymeric binders are a traditional mainstay of the WACKER portfolio. Burghausen chemists were already producing vinyl acetate from acetic acid in 1928. By 1966, researchers had succeeded in combining vinyl acetate with ethylene to produce a copolymer. They created a binder that has now become an integral part of a wide range of applications. VAE dispersions are used in adhesives, low-odor interior paints, and nonwovens. VAE is the core technology at WACKER POLYMERS.
A Step Ahead
When Robert Tangelder, business development manager for WACKER POLYMERS’ dispersion team in Europe, introduced these VAE dispersions for carpet backing applications to Willem van der Meer, Edel Group’s purchasing manager, Willem realized this unique opportunity to start something new. Subsequently, he teamed up with his colleague Dr. Mike de Lange, a doctor in polymer chemistry, who brought in his technical perspective to explore the innovation based on VAE technology. Dr. Mike de Lange was immediately interested when Robert Tangelder showed him thenew VAE binders tailored to European carpet-industry needs. “At that time, Robert and myself had both just read the biography of Steve Jobs,” de Lange relates with a grin. “Sometimes, you just have to take the plunge without overanalyzing things. So, we thought: Why not give it a go?”
As far as de Lange was concerned, the arguments were obvious. For the first time, the VAE binders gave him an alternative to the previously unrivaled styrene-butadiene – an alternative that could be processed using existing equipment, too. “Customers from Scandinavia, a very environmentally conscious market, had often asked me why we couldn’t manage without SB,” explains de Lange. Now he finally saw an opportunity to do so and introduce a totally satisfactory substitute.