60 Seconds With: Olaf Henschke,Dow Elastomers

Smithers Rapra conducted a Q&A sessions with Thermoplastic Elastomers World Summit 2015 speaker Olaf Henschke from Dow Elastomers, getting a sneak preview into his presentation for the Barcelona event and how Olefin Block Copolymers will impact the future of the TPE market.

Olaf Henschke, Product Technology Leader, Dow Elastomers

Dr. Olaf Henschke is the Product Technology Leader for INFUSE™ Olefin Block Copolymers within the European Elastomers, Electrical & Telecommunications Technical Service and Development organization.

He has been with Dow more than 18 years and has broad experience across a variety of elastomer and plastic markets and product families, including polyethylene compounds for wire & cable applications, VERSIFY™ Elastomers and polypropylene products for rigid packaging and housewares applications, AMPLIFY™ grafted adhesives for pipe applications, ENGAGE™ Polyolefin Elastomers for automotive TPO applications, AFFINITY™ GA for hot melt adhesives to name but a few.

Since 2001, he has been working on product development and implementation in the European Technical Service & Development department in Horgen, Switzerland. He has been involved in developing Dow´s product offering for the global TPE market.

He graduated from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany in 1993. In 1997, he received a PhD in polymer science on novel propylene copolymers by metallocene catalysis. He is also a Six Sigma Black Belt.

Smithers Rapra: The Olefin Block Copolymers allow for the expansion in the application range, what does this really mean for the TPE industry?

Olaf Henschke: It is clear that the arrival of olefin block copolymer technology has redefined the performance profile of TPEs.  The unique block structure delivers novel combinations of end-use properties and processability at a competitive cost in use. They allow the TPE industry to develop new solutions with differentiated haptics and performance. In addition, Life Cycle Assessment of INFUSE™ OBCs conducted by Dow Elastomers has brought to light environmental advantages, supporting OBCs as the material of choice for a diverse and growing range of market segments and applications, particularly those where environmental concerns are high on the agenda, such as food contact containers, carpet backing, toys and sporting goods, as well as hygiene products like baby diapers. OBCs can be recycled and offer resilience, softness and toughness, as well as excellent colorability and organoleptics. 

Smithers Rapra: You have worked at Dow Elastomers for more than 18 years, have you seen a change in the methods and technology used? Are processes becoming more efficient and therefore creating a “better” product? 

Olaf Henschke: The Life Cycle Assessment referenced earlier exemplifies the commitment Dow has made to creating sustainable solutions that aim at meeting manufacturer and consumer demands for quality and performance. Olefin Block Polymers were created using Dow’s INSITE™ Technology, another example of how Dow continues to invest in innovative solutions and next generation possibilities that will continue to deliver value for customers. All the players in the value chain are working on more efficient methods, technologies and products to meet the evolving market requirements at a competitive cost. Breakthroughs like INFUSE™ OBCs were inspired by our customers and permit new-to-the-world enhanced performance and processing combinations.

Smithers Rapra: Dow has been involved with previous editions of the TPE conference - what are you most looking forward to at this year’s event?

Olaf Henschke: Dow has indeed attended this international conference in previous years and we are pleased to participate again this year. For me, personally, this will be the first time attending this event.  This conference is a great platform to exchange with partners in the TPE value chain on a diverse range of critical topics for the TPE market. I’m looking forward to meeting other participants and to discussing ways we can work more closely together to drive innovation and provide responses to the challenges facing the industry.