Made-to-measure special chemicals from Saxony-Anhalt
FEW Chemicals GmbH is exhibiting nanopaints with a multitude of uses at HANNOVER MESSE
What do scratch-proof plastics, easy-clean machine components and various glass coatings have in common? The answer: nanopaints, which are based on the sol-gel process, are used to treat the surfaces. With this knowledge, researchers at FEW Chemicals GmbH in Bitterfeld-Wolfen are developing new, functional coating solutions which fulfil customer demands for aesthetics and, more importantly, can produce special properties such as a high scratch resistance or easy-clean surface on a wide range of materials.
FEW Chemicals GmbH in Bitterfeld-Wolfen, located right within the chemical triangle in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, is a company that focusses heavily on the research and development of new special chemicals. It was developed in 1997 from the former research department of the ORWO Film Factory in Wolfen.
Today, the range of services provided by FEW Chemicals GmbH includes functional dyes, nanopaints, nano-additives and special polymers. New products are presented to a wide trade audience in individual catalogues or are products developed exclusively for customers.
One of several products which FEW Chemicals will be exhibiting at this year’s HANNNOVER MESSE is a special paint which produces super-hydrophobic surfaces and imitates the oft-described lotus effect.
Advantages through nanotechnology
When developing new functional coatings, the employees of the Saxony-Anhalt-based company avail themselves of the special properties of the sol-gel process. Through hydrolysis and condensation reactions, particles of approx. 2 to approx. 15nm are created, which are a million times smaller than a millimetre and whose size is still less than the wave length of visible light. They exist in colloidal dispersions (sols), which act as a paint or additive. Through targeted modifications of particle surfaces, e.g. through the combination of a wide range of metal alkoxides, material composites which have been unknown up to now can be produced.
With the knowledge about the properties of nanoparticles, researchers can gradually customise functional materials for very differing areas of life. The product range which the company now offers is correspondingly wide.
FEW Chemicals GmbH current employs 40 employees, many of whom have university degrees. About half of the company’s employees are involved in research and product transformation activities. The annual expense for research and development is approx. EUR 1.3 million. When developing new special chemicals, the company works closely with its customers, potential new users and with academic institutions and universities in Saxony-Anhalt and beyond.
In the modern facilities of the production building, which was built in 2004, special chemicals are manufactured in batch sizes of less than a kilogram up to many tonnes.
The company from Saxony-Anhalt has corporate customers all over the world and in a wide range of industries – from the chemical industry to mechanical engineering. You can find the company at Stand J31/1, Hall 3 at the Hannover Messe.
Author: Uwe Seidenfaden on behalf of IMG Saxony-Anhalt
Dr. Heinz Mustroph, managing partner
and Monika Zschuppe, managing director