Building on its proud history, Bostik has moved from a glue manufacturer into a smarter adhesive future. By Meg Crawford
Just shy of 130 years since its inception as the Boston Blacking Company in Massachusetts, Bostik has gone on to secure its position as a global leader in sealants and adhesives. While it started out making dyes, glues and waterproofing products for shoes, it moved into chemical manufacturing in the thirties and changed its name to Bostik in 1960. Subsequently, Bostik has become synonymous with adhesive innovations, ranging from pioneering waterproofing boots to launching the first diaperwithelastic adhesive. Since 1889 Bostik has patented 9000 technologies from aerospace interior adhesive to household names like Blu-Tack and brand leadersFireban One. As the company has grown, so has its understanding of how it can help its customers. Nowadays Bostik talks about what it calls ‘smart adhesives’. The company is not just talking about sticking things together anymore. It’s delivering a more holistic approach to products, meaning that they tick all boxes as safe, efficient, flexible and responsive. “It’s also about delivering broader solutions,” explains Graham Lee, Bostik’s National Account Manager – Construction & Consumer. “So, if it’s in the construction adhesive area, it’s not just talking about a sealant with one application.” Another notable aspect of Bostik’s delivery for ‘smart adhesives’ is the extent to which it’s prepared to work with industry participants, and it involves a lot more than just providing the adhesives and relevant material safety data sheets (although, of course, it does that too). “Say there’s a construction site,” Lee explains. “We’ll work up construction specification drawings and details for a particular project. To put that in context, I might be working with a CSS member, for example, sitting in on joint calls to understand the builder’s requirements and to deliver a truly tailored package for that project. That’s where we become very relevant and create a true partnership.”
Bostik in Australia
The local branch, Bostik Australia Pty Ltd, has also had a lengthy history, taking up residency first with a small concern in 1915 in Abbotsford, Victoria, before moving to Thomastown in 1956 with what remains its largest Australian plant. Currently, Bostik’s other plant is in Kings Park, New South Wales. Over the years, Bostik has consolidated other offshoots into these two premises and its staff count is now around 170 employees. During the heydayofautomative manufacturing, Bostik employed in the vicinity of 500 staff. It now chooses to focus on Construction, Consumer and Industrial markets. Bostik’s range now covers what can broadly be divided into home and office consumer, industrial and construction divisions. “The stable of products for us is large,” says Lee. “For instance, Blu Tack and Clag are as infamous in the Australian market as say Hills Hoist or Vegemite.” In the construction division, Bostik’s range spans everything from sealing and bonding products to construction grouts and adhesives (including another iconic product, No More Nails), flooring adhesives, wall preparations and waterproofing products. “The motto that we’ve come up with over the last few years is ‘all adhesives under one roof’,” Lee explains. “So, if we look at a typical building, we consider ourselves able to supply all construction solutions in adhesives and bonding.” More recently, Bostik has undergone a brandshake up with the introduction of the gecko as its logo. “The Gecko represents an inspiring example of adhesive innovation having one of the most effective adhesives known to man, and aligns to our DNA at Bostik of smartness, efficiency and adaptability,” Lee notes.
Making good on the tagline, ‘proud history, smart future’, Bostik has notched up some recent boast-worthy developments in a construction context. “We’ve had some real technology breakthroughs in the construction industry, for instance, for flooring adhesives,” Lee shares. “Take Axios, which is our latest technology in the flooring space. It’s a new hard-flooring glue, and it’s a true new technology when it comes to tiling and polymer-type products.” It’s important to note that Bostik is making these strides, while remaining Aussie made. “We’ve also recently launched our sealants and bonding Xtreme range, which goes into a different type of technology for sealants. We’ve always been very strong when it comes to polyurethane manufacture in Australia, and we’re one of the only remaining companies to be able to do that here and be competitive. It’s a strong Australian position we’ve taken and are proud of.” In 2019 Bostik aims to extend the smart angle for sealants and bonding. When pressed, Lee is prepared to nominate a favourite product in the construction range. “I’m biased, but I think it’s our Bostik Fireban One,” he explains. “It’s one of our core products and it’s unique in Australia. We’re making one of the last remaining firerated PUs in Australia and hold a very high position in the market.”