European innovation award EARTO 2016 goes to Semperit and PCCL

On October 12, 2016, Semperit and the Polymer Competence Center Leoben GmbH (PCCL) received the European innovation award EARTO 2016 in Brussels for the development of Sempermed® Syntegra UV, the first anti-allergenic surgical glove worldwide.Semperit 1

With innovative production technology, unique product characteristics and an energy-efficient manufacturing process, both development partners prevailed against a total of 35 competitors. A unique feature of this product is that the surgical glove – which is made from polyisoprene, a material similar to natural latex – is cured using UV light instead of potentially allergenic chemical accelerators.

Semperit“We are very happy that we were able to bring the EARTO, the most important European innovation award, to Austria. This proves the high innovation power of Semperit. With the Sempermed® Syntegra UV, we have succeeded in developing a surgical glove that prevents allergic reactions. Since it was brought onto the market in 2013, it has enabled us to contribute to an improvement in the quality of life of millions of professionals in the European healthcare sector,” says Richard Ehrenfeldner, Chief Operating Officer of Sempermed. There was also great joy about the award at the UAR associated company PCCL, says Martin Payer, Chairman of the Board: “For us, the EARTO is a major recognition of our research work for several years. Our goal was a results-oriented, efficient research that we were able to realise in the best way with Semperit as our partner. The next innovation by PCCL and Semperit is already in the pipeline.” Wilfried Enzenhofer, CEO of Upper Austrian Research GmbH, emphasises: “We are very proud that a research cooperation of Upper Austrian Research received the desired EARTO innovation award 2016. This proves once again that the research performance of the UAR Group is at the highest international level.”

CO2 footprint reduction

Alongside the innovative production technology, the EARTO judges were also convinced by the unique properties of the Sempermed® Syntegra UV. The glove that is gentle on the skin is equivalent to a premium latex surgical glove in terms of tactile sense, wearer comfort and fit. A further factor was the energy-efficient manufacturing process, which by means of lower temperatures and higher throughput rates leads to a significant reduction in the CO2 footprint. The process is patented and has already received a number of awards.

EARTO (European Association of Research and Technology Organisation) is an international non-profit organisation based in Brussels. With the EARTO Award, the organisation recognises innovations, which bring substantial social or economic benefits to the EU. The award was presented this year for the eighth time in succession.EARTO Semperit

The publicly listed company Semperit AG Holding is an internationally-oriented group that develops, produces, and sells highly specialised rubber and plastic products in more than 100 countries for the medical and industrial sectors: examination and surgical gloves, hydraulic and industrial hoses, conveyor belts, escalator handrails, construction profiles, cable car rings, and products for railway superstructures. The headquarters of this traditional Austrian company, which was founded in 1824, are located in Vienna. The Semperit Group employs more than 7000 people worldwide, including close to 4100 in Asia and more than 800 in Austria (Vienna and production site in Wimpassing, Lower Austria). The group has 22 manufacturing facilities worldwide and numerous sales offices in Europe, Asia, America and Australia. In 2015, the group generated sales of EUR 915 million and EBITDA of EUR 96 million.

Sempermed is the largest segment of the Semperit Group and is ranked among the international leading manufacturers of medical and industrial gloves. At Sempermed’s research centre in Wimpassing, lower Austria where new products are continually developed and tested in close cooperation with users and experts. For more than 95 years, Sempermed has been producing gloves of the highest quality and as the worldwide leader in technology we are setting standards in terms of quality and innovation. Sempermed guarantees optimum safety and reliability, highest production hygiene and strictest quality checks.

The Polymer Competence Center Leoben GmbH (PCCL) is the leading centre for collaborative research in polymer technology and polymer science in Austria. Together with companies in the polymer industry and universities (among others Montanuniversität Leoben) our nearly one hundred experts carry out R&D projects for innovative polymer solutions in diverse applications, including automotive, aerospace, packaging and solar and photovoltaic applications. This is completed by the K project “Functional Polymer Composites (PolyComp)” in the field of polymer-based composites for electro-technical and electronic applications.

As the leading organisation for research of the federal province of Upper Austria, Upper Austrian Research GmbH (UAR) supports Upper Austria in its research policy-related tasks – in particular in the fields of strategy, project development, coordination, internationalisation, building strategic alliances & networks as well as marketing & communication. In addition, UAR holds numerous shares in renowned research centres. The associated companies of UAR are closely interlinked with each other but also with the entire national and international research landscape. This close cooperation creates a market-based innovation process and gives companies the decisive edge

ICIS proclaims the very best innovation in the chemical industry

The winners in the 13th annual ICIS Innovation Awards have now been chosen by the panel of judges. You can read all about the successful innovations on this web site, or by linking to the special 16-page publication that celebrates their success.

The ICIS Innovation Awards are sponsored overall by Elsevier R&D Solutions and with category sponsorship from U.S. Chemicals, a Maroon Group company, and ExxonMobil Chemical, recognise outstanding technological and business innovation in the global chemical industry, on a company and individual level.

ICIS congratulates the winners in the four company categories and the three winners in the individual Alpha Innovator of the Year categories. And special congratulations to overall winner Compact Membrane Systems.

The well-respected ICIS Innovation Awards recognise and reward companies, and now individuals, that show high levels of innovation in products and processes, as well as providing benefits to the environment and leading progress towards sustainability.

The winners have made significant steps forward in technological and business innovation, with tangible results emerging during 2015 and the early part of this year.

Rewarding individual achievement

Creative and talented scientists, engineers and other R&D professionals lie at the heart of chemical industry innovation. Without their passion and commitment, scientific and managerial expertise, and inspiration the chemical industry would be far less able to meet pressing industrial, social and environmental needs.

To recognise these individuals, and as part of its Get to Alpha initiative, Elsevier R&D Solutions has teamed up with ICIS to introduce a new individual category within the ICIS Innovation Awards.

The Alpha Innovator of the Year Award recognises scientists, engineers and other R&D professionals who are unafraid to take roadblocks head on, and who are unrelenting in their pursuit of innovation and optimisation. It celebrates individuals who are creating better solutions that move us all forward, not only as an industry but as a society.

Alpha Innovator of the Year – Environment and Sustainability

The inaugural winners in 2016 are Sudip Majumdar, chief technology officer of Compact Membrane Systems, in the Environment and The winnerSustainability category, and Mr Marc Swan and Professor Jan Czernuszka of Oxtex, in the New Product Development/Process Optimisation category.

Sudip Majumdar has been recognised for his key role in the development of Compact Membrane Systems’ low-energy membrane technology for separating olefins and paraffins. The company’s CEO Erica Nemser attributes the success of the membrane project and the development of the technical innovations that underpin the separation technology to Majumdar’s leadership and direction of the research and development programme.

The membrane development programme required a leader with an understanding of the complex ways in which membranes operate and the ability to continually reinvent production processes to improve membrane performance, says Nemser. “Sudip’s broad experience with membrane separations and deep expertise with membrane contactors and gas separations enabled him to identify the ‘white space’ for a novel facilitated transport membrane and the unique properties that make it commercially and technologically successful,” she adds.

In addition, he was able to pinpoint the challenges that would need to beConsultant surgeon Marc Swan overcome and identify the team that could collectively address them. “Most importantly, Sudip helped his team members avoid dead ends and identify synergies across their individual projects. He also had the unenviable task of coordinating all of the different pieces of the project and keeping everything on track as the project advanced.

New Product Development/Process Optimisation

Professor Jan CzernuszkaConsultant surgeon Marc Swan  and Professor Jan Czernuszka of Oxford University have been instrumental in the development of a unique self-inflating tissue expander that improves reconstructive surgery in both humans and animals. The expander is inserted under the skin and as it expands, forces the skin to grow in order to accommodate its volume, thus providing extra skin and tissue for the surgeon to use in reconstructive surgery.

Swan left his medical practice at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust to undertake a PhD with Professor Czernuszka, to develop the new technology to solve an unmet medical need. They developed a hydrogel polymeric system that expands in a specified direction when exposed to water. The technology is now being commercialised at a company they have established called Oxtex.

“The unique and integral partnership between Swan and Czernuszka led to a pioneering novel solution for use in humans, and for the first time ever, in animal applications,” asserts David Jackson, CEO of Oxtex.

Other winners this year were:

Best Product Innovation: Dow Chemical, for its Canvera polyolefin dispersion technology for can coatings

Best Process Innovation: Siluria Technologies, for its oxidative coupling of methane technology for ethylene production

(Aqua Metals lead acid battery recycling technology received a special mention from the judges in this category)

Innovation with Best Benefit to Environment or Sustainability: Covestro, for its development of carbon dioxide as a raw material in polyurethane production

(Dow Chemical’s Phormanto polyolefin thermoformed packaging solution received a special mention from the judges in this category)

John Baker, ICIS editor and organiser of the Awards, commented that: “This year’s Awards yet again attracted a strong entry and led to a very robust discussion as the judges debated the merits of the leading entries. As in previous years, the innovations before the judges showcased a wide range of excellent products and processes, with the potential to make important impacts in their respective markets and reduce environmental impacts.  “All the winners demonstrate not only that innovation is well and truly alive in the chemical industry but that this innovation brings benefits not only to companies and their customers but the environment as well. And it helps the sustainability of the business of chemicals.”

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