It’s stopped sticking
At Zeitz Industrial Park, MÜNZING Micro Technologies GmbH makes a versatile product with the rarely-used process of spray micronisation.
Small, round particles with a smooth surface are created when wax is melted and then condensed into nitrogen by atomisation. Micronised wax has several advantages over conventionally ground wax. One of the MÜNZING Group's seven production sites worldwide is located at Zeitz Chemical and Industrial Park in Saxony-Anhalt.
"It’s stopped sticking": the words of satisfaction expressed by anyone who succeeds in effortlessly separating painted surfaces that have been pressed together for an extended period of time. Painted wooden window frames, for example. The non-adhesive attribute of the paint is achieved by the addition of additives that work as a kind of spacer. Micronised waxes fulfil this function. These are manufactured and sold at Zeitz Chemical and Industrial Park, one of 12 forward-looking locations in Saxony-Anhalt that are characterised by a particularly close cooperation between business and science and a high degree of innovative capability. And Zeitz is the home of the most important production site for micronised waxes in the MÜNZING Group. The location is characterised by the outline of the company's four spray towers. It is here that the very rare technology of wax micronisation is put to use – making it the most important technology in the MÜNZING Group.
In this context, technical waxes made from polyethylene or montane, for example, are melted under the exclusion of oxygen and subsequently sprayed through a nozzle into cold nitrogen. The wax condenses here and forms tiny droplets - spherical, regular tiny particles with a small surface area. The advantages of this technology over conventional grinding, the mechanical crushing of waxes, are to be found in the round shape of the particles and their smooth surface. They therefore facilitate the dispersion process, reducing the amount of wax and the generation of dust. CERETAN® waxes from MÜNZING Micro Technologies GmbH are used in wood varnishes, printing inks, master batches, powder varnishes and paints.
Uniform density through fusion
The technology also enables the fusion of several waxes, explains Melanie Wiens, Head of Marketing & Product Management. "This achieves a uniform density without inhomogeneities." This would not be possible with grinding. Melanie Wiens conjures up an imaginative example to explain things: “The fusion of a black sheep with a white sheep would result in a grey sheep, while the ground version would result in a spotted sheep."
When used in printing inks, the addition of micronised wax ensures increased abrasion resistance - as with the varnishes, the tiny round particles act as a kind of spacer. Due to the small curvatures in the print which are not visible to the naked eye, they prevent scratching or smudging. The use in the masterbatch industry as a super-plasticizer in turn ensures that the melted and pressed plastic granules run on the extruder constantly in a uniform process. The adhesives industry also makes use of the addition of CERETAN® waxes. Here, for example, they ensure that adhesive tapes are easier to remove from their reel. In powder varnishes, the waxes are added to influence the surface attributes. This makes the varnish coating smoother and less sensitive to scratches. During the production of the powder varnishes, the waxes also have a positive influence on the wetting of pigments and fillers.
MÜNZING: represented in more than 40 countries
MÜNZING was founded in 1830 by Friedrich Michael Münzing in Heilbronn, and was the first manufacturer of sulphuric acid in Germany. Today, the family-owned company operates worldwide as a leading medium-sized manufacturer of additives for the paint and varnishes industry. MÜNZING maintains research and production facilities in Germany, the USA, Australia and Malaysia; MÜNZING is also represented with its own sales companies in China, Mexico and Brazil and works together with sales partners in more than 40 countries. Spray technology has been part of the MÜNZING Group since an acquisition in 2011, and is part of its wax additives division. The company's wax portfolio ranges from non-micronised waxes, micronised waxes and coated waxes through to water- and solvent-based wax emulsions and dispersions.
Important role of the location in Saxony-Anhalt
Its location in Saxony-Anhalt is a very important to the MÜNZING Group, says Melanie Wiens, where approximately 5,000 tonnes are produced per year. The customer support for all of the wax products is also located in Zeitz. MÜNZING is also prepared for further growth; the construction of the fourth spray tower after the purchase of the production site was already in preparation, says Melanie Wiens. "Although the market in Europe is highly competitive, we can see great potential in the markets in Asia and North America in particular. Our exports from Zeitz are steadily increasing." Since the acquisition, six million Euros have been invested in the Zeitz location, which currently employs some 60 people. Although the MÜNZING Group has its own research and development department at its headquarters in Abstatt, it benefits from collaborations with relevant institutions in Saxony-Anhalt, such as ifn Forschungs- und Technologiezentrum GmbH, which is also located in the Zeitz Industrial Park and which supports companies in resolving analytical and engineering problems, explains Melanie Wiens.
Author: Anja Falgowski