AkzoNobel excited by innovation potential of new supplier collaborations


Five enterprising companies have embarked on a new innovation journey with AkzoNobel after their inventive ideas were selected as part of the company’s Paint the Future supplier collaboration programme.

Agreements are now in place with the five successful participants following the inaugural event held last November – which subsequently led to 115 compelling submissions.

The ideas that the company thinks will create the most value were submitted by Lonza Microbial Solutions (Switzerland), IGM Resins (the Netherlands), ICL Group (Israel), Croda Smart Materials (UK) and Wagner Painting (Germany).

“Staging the event revealed so many insights into the industry and I really appreciate the unique way we all teamed up to define our industry challenges,” explains Klaas Kruithof, AkzoNobel’s Chief Technology Officer.

“Following the event, our suppliers delivered a wide variety of intriguing solutions and we’re looking forward to working together and further developing the selected five ideas, which are very exciting and fit perfectly with our collaborative mindset.”

Adds David Ashton, Head of Global Marketing at Lonza Microbial Solutions: “I’m absolutely delighted to see Lonza being recognized for its innovation and expertise.

"Being selected from such a vast number of enterprising projects is a great honour. We’re very much looking forward to this collaboration.”

Launched in 2019, Paint the Future is AkzoNobel’s global collaborative innovation challenge.

Initially open to startups, it was quickly expanded to embrace academia, research institutes and a first group of suppliers, with a view to gradually strengthening the collaboration programme.

The initiative (an industry first) is focused on establishing an innovation ecosystem to help accelerate, test, launch and scale ideas and solutions for the paints and coatings industry.

“We’ve never stopped pushing the boundaries of what paint can be and what it can do,” continues Kruithof.

“Collaborating with our suppliers is all about accelerating creative ideas that will help take our products – and our future – beyond today by elevating everything to the next level.”

The five collaborations in more detail:

Lonza Microbial Solutions – a real-time microbial detection method

With this new technology, we can obtain vital data that will help us assess the quality of raw materials and respond quickly to any deviations in our production lines

IGM Resins – instant-drying hybrid decorative paints

This partnership is focused on developing paint for professionals – and eventually the DIY market – which dries significantly faster. Typical applications will include doors and window frames

ICL Group – safe and stable paint formulations

With concerns and regulatory pressure around allergens and toxic materials on the increase, we’re teaming up to find a solution together

Croda Smart Materials – self-healing coatings

We’re developing coatings that recover from scratches at room temperature, which will help to protect the surface and retain the coating’s glossy appearance

Wagner Painting – zero overspray application equipment

We’re jointly developing an intelligent and adaptable industrial spray equipment concept, known as “SpraySavvy”, which aims for zero overspray and less waste

The latest phase of the company’s Paint the Future initiative is currently underway in Brazil, where a regional startup challenge is in its final stages.

For more information and to learn about forthcoming programmes you may want to join, visit our Paint the Future website.


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