A successful first year for our Center of Excellence in Suzhou

A successful first year for our Center of Excellence in Suzhou

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December 10th, 2019

One year ago, we opened our Center of Excellence for Performance Coatings in Suzhou, China. A lot has happened since, as many customers and partners have been welcomed to our facility. Working together with our visitors offers an inspiring environment where many research and development takes, new ideas are born and innovations in coating technology are created by our local Stahl team or in cooperation with our customers. We look back on a successful first year.


Innovative technologies

According to Performance Coatings application manager Xiang Guo, the team has been very busy, working on various developments. That means a lot is currently happening: “To illustrate, for our film, foil & paper portfolio alone we are working on 7 R&D projects, while we have 8 underway for coated fabrics and technical textiles. But we’re also working on new applications, such as slash PVC, thermoplastic elastomers and natural rubbers. What makes our facility unique, however, are its extensive testing facilities, which provide us with an edge in developing new technologies, but also in the services we offer to our customers.


Leading visitors in Suzhou

The Center of Excellence has hosted various leading brands and OEMs, with whom the Stahl team had particular success in stick-slip technologies. “Testing equipment for automotive applications like stick-slip are not widely available in China, which is something people specifically come to the Center for. But that is just one example of the wide range of testing equipment we have available for particular properties for automotive interiors, like rubfastness, colorfastness, anti-soiling, heat aging, bending whitening and much more. Particularly noise reduction is a key technology that is most sought after by automotive producers.”


Developing a coating line for any application

We perform many trials with high-solid polyurethanes, for which we have a pilot coating line for line trials. This saves our customers time and money.” Line trials are known to be objectionable for manufacturers, as they require additional staff and shutdown of production to implement testing. This as part of the service package Stahl offers at the Center of Excellence.


A sustainable facility

Earlier this year, the wastewater treatment facility in Suzhou already saw improvements, and various efforts have been made to make the Center of Excellence greener: “We’ve installed solar panels and green planting on the roof to save energy. We’ve also installed solar tubes in offices and meeting rooms for lighting. Our plant produces more and more water-based coatings, which also anticipates future government regulations on VOC control. This way we ensure our facility meets and exceeds all standards.”