Home » Product Innovation through Microencapsulation
Manufacturers of adhesives and sealants face a challenging search to improve the compatibility of certain ingredients and minimize component poisoning and product degradation. While there are many ways to pursue those goals, one approach that holds unique promise is chemical microencapsulation.
Microencapsulation is the process by which solid or liquid core materials are encased in tiny shells or capsules that are one micron to one hundred microns in diameter. The technology isn’t new to adhesives and sealants producers and formulators; you can find microencapsulated ingredients in solvent-based systems, hot-melt systems, single adhesive or sealant material capsules and reactive adhesive or sealant compositions. Microencapsulation technology offers ways to increase customer satisfaction through pre-coating materials with adhesives or sealants that can then be activated at the time and site of the specific application.
Examples include pre-coating screws and fasteners with microencapsulated adhesives, or coating book spines with encapsulated glue that can be activated during the binding process. New antimicrobial compounds and fragrances can be encapsulated and added to sealants and coatings, such as industrial and household paints. Activation could occur during the application process or through planned degradation of the capsule wall.
The appeal of these proven applications for microencapsulation is just a preview of the potential uses for this versatile technology. That potential can best be realized through a collaborative exploration, development and production between a producer or user of core materials who knows and anticipates their customers’ needs and a microencapsulator with significant depth and a breadth of technical resources.
One such microencapsulation company is Appleton, an employee-owned company that helped NCR Corp. introduce carbonless paper in 1954. This marked the first commercial application of chemical microencapsulation. Appleton has been producing microcapsules and expanding its knowledge of the technology ever since. The company has also continued to use a flexible business model based on collaboration and open innovation.
Appleton calls its collaborative approach to smart chemistry solutions EncapsysTM. What makes Appleton’s process unique is how the company works closely with its customers to explore and identify benefits.
Encapsys represents Appleton’s deep technical resources, craftsmanship and extensive knowledge of microencapsulation. The company’s robust infrastructure and technical proficiency support more than a dozen experienced, talented, and creative encapsulation scientists. And Appleton has the capability to do business at a scale that many microcapsule manufacturers cannot. Most manufacturers can produce microcapsules in a beaker; Appleton can make it in tanker quantities, and scale it up quickly.
Encapsys also reflects Appleton’s preference for partnering with customers to create product solutions with customer-specified properties. Appleton uses a blend of art and science to tailor capsules to meet the requirements of different end-use applications. Encapsys products and services are customized and based on a rigorous opportunity evaluation process designed to benefit both companies. Appleton is large enough to invest in attractive projects and small enough to operate swiftly and flexibly, leveraging business and technical resources from the inception of a project to its development and launch.