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DSM opens international research center for innovative materials

Singapore, SG, 17 Nov 2014 07:15 CET

Center provides over 400 jobs in sustainable material development in the Netherlands

Today, Royal DSM, the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, opens its new center for research into and development of high-performance materials on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen, the Netherlands. The completion of DSM’s largest materials center worldwide is part of the €100 million investment in knowledge and innovation in the Netherlands that DSM announced in May 2012. The center employs over 400 knowledge workers and combines important technological skills and expertise unique in the Netherlands for use in applications the world over.

The new state-of-the-art center is officially being opened today by Dutch Economics Minister Henk Kamp, together with Theo Bovens, Governor of Limburg Province; Dimitri De Vreeze, member of DSM’s Managing Board; Roelof Westerbeek, President of DSM Engineering Plastics; and Atzo Nicolaï, President of DSM Netherlands.

The materials center is an important base for DSM’s Materials Sciences research and marketing activities. Furthermore it will be the most important research center worldwide for DSM Engineering Plastics. Historically, Sittard-Geleen has been the main center of DSM’s high-performance materials research. In addition, being located on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus offers opportunities for open innovation owing to the proximity of other start-up and established companies as well as research and education institutes.

DSM materials are used in applications and products all over the world; from connectors in electronics, surgical sutures and medical implants to heat-resistant plastic engine parts for the automotive industry, smart food packaging material, solar panel coatings and super-strong fibers in, for instance, cables. The materials need to be not only safe and superior in quality but also have a positive impact on people and the environment.

Sleeping lettuce

An example: almost a third of our food gets wasted. Smart food packaging helps extend shelf life and avoid food wastage. Using its innovative Arnitel® product, DSM Engineering Plastics has developed a breathable packaging that controls the mixture of moisture, oxygen and CO2 in, for instance, packaged lettuce. As a result, the lettuce goes into a type of slumber and lasts much longer thanks to the smart packaging.

Another example: Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber is at the same time extremely light and flexible and has many innovative applications, for instance in cut-resistant gloves, shipping ropes and bullet-resistant vests. DSM is always on the lookout for innovative new applications for this fiber, one example being an automatic tsunami barrier. The barrier could be installed along the coastline anchored in a trench behind the beach. When the tsunami tidal-wave arrives, the force of the water immediately causes the membrane with Dyneema to unfold, while a float drags it upright. The float is kept securely in place with Dyneema cables. This rapidly creates a high wall stopping up to 20 meters of water, thus  preventing casualties and material damage.

Dimitri de Vreeze, member of the Royal DSM’s Managing Board: “This investment is perfectly aligned with our strategy for growth in Materials Sciences through innovative solutions for a more sustainable future for people today and for generations to come. DSM’s innovations create new possibilities and contribute to solutions to the major challenges the world is facing. Lighter, high-quality materials that replace steel in cars and reduce energy consumption, smart packaging that help us prevent food being wasted, and materials made from bio-based rather than fossil resources, helping to facilitate the circular economy.”

Roelof Westerbeek, President of Engineering Plastics: “By combining DSM Engineering Plastics’ the research and development, marketing and sales activities under one roof in this very inspiring environment we are creating optimal synergies. With the science and knowledge brought together here, we aim to raise the bar even higher. The combination enables us to break new ground and to reduce the time to market for DSM innovations even further.”

Atzo Nicolaï, president of DSM Netherlands: “I am proud of this milestone. The new materials center is an asset to research and development in the Netherlands in a field in which we excel, as the Netherlands and as DSM in the Netherlands.”