Over a span of 75 years, the pioneering spirit of the very first WACKER chemists has evolved into a global brand: VINNAPAS® binders today are at home in numerous industrial sectors the world over. They bind colorful pigments into spreadable paints and coatings, form the basis for adhesives and ensure that plasters adhere to facades and textile layers stick to carpet backings. New application fields are still emerging to this day.
Without binders, the world would lose its hold. In the construction industry, VINNAPAS® brand polymer dispersions and dispersible polymer powders ensure that plaster bonds reliably to brickwork and concrete, is easier to work with and, depending on individual requirements, is water repellent as well. The packaging industry uses VINNAPAS® dispersions in the formulation of plasticizer-free adhesives, for example. These kinds of adhesives are used in food packaging, to ensure that no undesired substances get mixed in with the pasta or the breakfast cereal. The paint industry in turn combines VINNAPAS® dispersions and colorful pigments to formulate readily spreadable and printable interior and exterior paints, as well as surface and paper coatings. Carpet manufacturers need VINNAPAS® binders to hold the textile layer and carpet backing together. As part of table napkins, wet wipes and feminine hygiene products, VINNAPAS® dispersions improve the special properties of these nonwovens, such as softness and absorbency.
It All Began with an Emulsion
The polymerization process used at WACKER, which, for the first time, made it possible to adjust the polymer emulsion viscosity to particular requirements, has been patented since April 1, 1938. Industrial-scale production of polyvinyl acetate dispersions commenced at the same time.
The success story of WACKER’s innovative binders now spans 75 years. In November 1937, the Burghausen site began producing VINNAPAS® Emulsion H60 – as it was then known – which is still produced today, only in a slightly modified version. The polymerization process used at WACKER – which, for the first time, made it possible to adjust the polymer emulsion’s viscosity as required – has been patented since April 1, 1938. VINNAPAS® H60 has been manufactured on an industrial scale ever since. In the beginning, around 25 metric tons of this dispersion left the site every month. WACKER chemist Dr. Herbert Berg developed the process, along with Herbert Mader and Martin Doriat. VINNAPAS® Emulsion H60, which was used in the formulation of wood glue, quickly became a bestseller. Wood glue is still a standard application of the VINNAPAS® product family, which has become very large and versatile. Just two short years after production started, WACKER was making over 40 metric tons of H60 dispersion each month. This grade was a so-called homopolymer, consisting of an aqueous polyvinyl acetate dispersion with a solids content of 60 percent (hence the name), which was stabilized by the addition of polyvinyl alcohol as a protective colloid. WACKER had already gathered experience in the manufacture of polyvinyl acetate prior to developing the polymerization process that it patented in 1938. In 1924, Dr. Willy O. Herrmann created the technological foundation at the Consortium, the company’s central research facility in Munich, by developing a procedure for the manufacture of vinyl acetate monomer by addition of acetic acid to acetylene. Production reports of that time soon referred to this liquid monomer as “Vinna” – a first hint at what would later become the VINNAPAS® brand name.