30 years of innovative and environmentally friendly surface technology

SurTec - Economic growth with responsibility

02/06/2023, Zwingenberg

When the company SurTec was founded 30 years ago as a management buy-out from the Unilever Group, the vision of a specialist for all areas of surface treatment was still quite new. Today, SurTec is a leading international supplier of chemical specialities for Industrial Parts Cleaning, Metal Pre-treatment as well as Functional and Decorative Electroplating. From the beginning, SurTec has been aware of its special responsibility towards the environment and pioneers the development of environmentally friendly solutions for products and processes in its global Technical Centres.

"In the last 30 years, we have moved a lot," explains Dr Karsten Grünke, CEO of SurTec "During this time, our experience and product portfolio as well as the company itself have grown steadily. The fact that we are now a preferred supplier of chemical specialities for surface treatment by numerous customers is due to the fact that we are one of the few companies that develop and produce tailor-made chemical specialities and processes and deliver them directly to the customer worldwide. With the acquisition of Italtecno in 2021 and the recently acquired omniTECHNIK, we are broadening our portfolio and continuously expanding our position in the market."

For more sustainability in the industry
An important milestone was the development of a thick-layer passivation, patented in 1996, which, after its introduction as SurTec 680, heralded the phase-out of the use of chromium(VI) in electroplating. The innovative and harmless process quickly became the industry standard for thick-layer passivation for zinc and zinc alloys.

Further developments followed, with which chromium(VI) could be replaced by more harmless substances. For example, the chromium(III) passivation for aluminium - SurTec 650 - is more topical today than ever before, as it is excellently suited for modern areas of application, for example in 5G technology for antennas and masts as well as in e-mobility for the construction of battery housings. Also still highly topical is the chromium(VI)-free SurTec 883 XT, which in Decorative Electroplating leads to equivalent or better results in terms of appearance and performance than the previously used processes.

SurTec's decades of experience are continuously incorporated into the further development of environmentally compatible and high-performance processes for surface treatment. SurTec's processes are continuously optimised and adapted to the requirements of the market as well as to the specifications of customers worldwide.

SurTec today
Started 30 years ago with 35 employees, SurTec today is an internationally operating company with over 400 employees worldwide, offering about 800 products and formulations. A visible sign of SurTec's environmentally conscious actions is the company's former headquarters in Zwingenberg, which in 2000 was the first factory in Europe to be built according to the passive house standard. High-quality structural thermal insulation, thermal glazing, ventilation with heat recovery, tightness and freedom from thermal bridges of the façade as well as replacement of the air-conditioning systems by passive cooling significantly improved the energy balance and at the same time reduced operating costs. After SurTec International GmbH was founded, the head office was moved to Bensheim, but the passive house in Zwingenberg is still the company's largest location worldwide.

Since 2010, the company has been part of Freudenberg Chemical Specialities GmbH, Munich, a company of the Freudenberg Group, Weinheim.

SurTec Timeline