Henkel Launches Sustainability Program for Heavy Equipment

The company is fostering resource preservation and emission reduction in the agricultural and construction machines sectors.

Rob Spiegel

June 13, 2024

3 Min Read
Henkel launches sustainability program for heavy equipment

At a Glance

  • The program prioritizes climate, circularity, safety, and nature.
  • The goal is to amplify the customer’s commitment to sustainability.
  • Advanced materials can enable sustainability across the value chain.

Henkel has made a commitment to elevate awareness among agriculture and construction vehicle and equipment (heavy vehicle and equipment) designers, manufacturers, and tier suppliers about the role advanced materials can play in enabling sustainability across the value chain. The range runs from R&D to manufacturing to use in the field. The company has announced its ‘Respect the Planet, Rethink Design’ program, which prioritizes four pillars of sustainability – Climate, Circularity, Safety, and Nature – and demonstrates Henkel’s enablement of them all through its cutting-edge adhesive, surface treatment, and electronic materials portfolios.


The idea behind the effort is to deliver results that amplify its customers’ commitment to sustainability. “As many in our industry are aware, sustainability is a central value at Henkel; it’s in our DNA,” said Eric Zhai, Henkel’s global market segment manager for heavy equipment. “Our heavy vehicle and equipment customers are aligned on these practices, too, and we think there are opportunities to collaborate for even more impactful results. Our effort aims to show manufacturers that building tough, long-lasting equipment does not have to come at the expense of responsible environmental and human safety protocols. These are not mutually exclusive ambitions, and Henkel has proven solutions that help achieve these objectives simultaneously.”


The company’s program focuses on four defined sustainability pillars. Henkel’s Respect the Planet, Rethink Design program leverages the technology advantages of its product line to facilitate the design, build, and use of vehicles and equipment that prioritize people and the environment, while enabling robust, reliable performance.

Examples include:

  • Climate – Formulas for metal cleaning processes that reduce required bath temperatures, lower chemical consumption, and decrease energy use. Structural adhesives enable lightweighting, allowing reliable bonding strength and the integration of lighter, alternative substrates for improved fuel efficiency.

  • Circularity – Certain Henkel processes enable automated dosing and material reusability. Additionally, the company is exploring renewable bio-based polyurethane hot melts, low pressure molding materials, and recycling/reuse-enabling de-bonding solutions.

  • Safety – Materials formulated without substances under discussion, and compliance with safety agency ratings and environmental compatibility standards protect health and wellbeing.

  • Nature – Natural resources like water are preserved through products and processes that reduce consumption and allow wastewater recycling.

As a material supplier to the agriculture and construction equipment sector, Henkel helps customers overcome barriers to sustainable design through innovative product development and consultative sustainability programs. “Time and time again, we have demonstrated how our involvement at the R&D phase can drive sustainable outcomes from end to end,” said Zhai. “Examples include cleaning and metal pretreatment innovations that have enabled low-temperature cleaning to operate at 38°C instead of 60°C achieving significant energy reduction; using structural adhesives to replace welding that can provide a carbon footprint reduction up to 15%; as well as tin-free and solvent-free adhesive sealant innovations used for bonding and sealing applications.”

As part of its ‘Respect the Planet, Rethink Design’ campaign, Henkel will share application case studies, conduct technical presentations at industry conferences, and host sustainability innovation workshops with customers at global Inspiration and technical centers.

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About the Author(s)

Rob Spiegel

Rob Spiegel serves as a senior editor for Design News. He started with Design News in 2002 as a freelancer and hired on full-time in 2011. He covers automation, manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, AI, and more.

Prior to Design News, he worked as a senior editor for Electronic News and Ecommerce Business. He has contributed to a wide range of industrial technology publications, including Automation World, Supply Chain Management Review, and Logistics Management. He is the author of six books.

Before covering technology, Rob spent 10 years as publisher and owner of Chile Pepper Magazine, a national consumer food publication.

As well as writing for Design News, Rob also participates in IME shows, webinars, and ebooks.

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