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Tuesday, 24 September 2019
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Markets & companies, Raw materials market

Stahl opens Center of Excellence for the automotive industry

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Chemical company Stahl has opened its new "Center of Excellence for Automotive" in Waalwijk, the Netherlands.

The center focuses on developing high-performing and sustainable solutions for car interiors. Source: Stahl

The center focuses on developing high-performing and sustainable solutions for car interiors. Source: Stahl

The center focuses on developing high-performing and sustainable solutions for car interiors, varying from smart surfaces that change with temperature to special haptics for a warm and pleasant touch.

Combining interior materials and surface capabilities

"At the Center of Excellence we aim to inspire customers by showing our latest innovations,” Stefan Buri, Global Marketing Director Automotive, explains. "At the center we will conduct key customer trials that will serve as a base for application development of new solutions.”

"The decision to open this center is fully in line with our growth strategy in the automotive industry. We are experts on surfaces for car interiors and at this center we share our expertise,” says Huub van Beijeren, CEO of Stahl. At the Center of Excellence, Stahl shows how the automotive industry can benefit from the unique combination of different interior materials and surface capabilities, for example, colours and appearances of leather steering wheels or car seats to perfectly match the seat and trim materials of the dashboards and gearshifts.

Coating & printing line to produce full door panel skins

The Center of Excellence is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery to cater to the needs of the automotive industry. For instance, there is a unique coating, lacquering and printing line including a full scale vacuum forming machine to produce full door panel skins. In addition, it has two unique squeak & rattle testing machines for seating and trim materials and weatherstrips. This is accompanied by various other superior instruments enabling Stahl to test according to global car manufacturers' specifications. "Due to our thorough in-house testing, we are able to develop the new technologies and state-of-the-art products our clients are looking for. Think of technologies reducing the weight of the interior by using lightweight leather or solutions for problems that cause frustration among consumers, like scuff marks and stains on seat material or squeaking and rattling seats,” Buri explains.

Sustainable building design

Stahl strongly believes in taking responsibility, whether it is when developing new products or building new offices, factories and centers. "Our new Center of Excellence is energy neutral. It has a green roof to offset the grass that has been removed to build the center. In addition, the building has solar panels, a heat exchanger and rainwater drainage to ensure a groundwater level that prevents dehydration of the soil”, Buri explains. The Center has been built and will be certified according to the BREEAM standards for sustainable building design. Stahl will be one of the first to have a BREEAM certified laboratory in the Netherlands. Finally, Stahl also carefully considered the measures required to ensure optimal ergonomics for its employees.

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