Mr Thomas Kauffman

External Innovation Director

H.B. Fuller


Tom has over 37 years of experience in the adhesive and sealants industry. Currently he is working as External Innovation Director at H.B. Fuller. In this role he helps manage the company’s long-range R&D technology portfolio and works to identify technologies of interest from academia, start-ups, and the global chemical industry to address strategic technology needs.

Tom previously was a Research Fellow at H.B. Fuller in product and technology development for a variety of markets including hygiene, packaging, and durable assembly.   Over his career he has also held roles in Technical Management, Marketing, and Quality. Tom obtained a M.S. in Polymer Science and Engineering from Lehigh University and a M.B.A. from University of Minnesota. He is an inventor on over 35 granted US patents and numerous granted international patents and applications.

Presentation Abstract

New Raw Materials for Sustainable Hot Melt Adhesives

To address the growing concerns about carbon footprint and the solid waste crisis, much work has been focused on increasing the use of renewable feedstocks in hot melt adhesives. A great deal of work has also been focused on the development of compostable hot melts and raw materials.

Adhesives which are designed to be industrially compostable represent a great challenge and require a departure from the use of traditional polymers and tackifiers. The polymers that are industrially compostable are inherently prone to hydrolytic and thermal instability. Moreover, relatively few biodegradable materials are available which are suitable as rheological modifiers/tackifiers and are compatible with the biodegradable polymers.

Despite these challenges hot melt adhesives have recently been developed which contain a new platform of biobased, biodegradable tackifiers. Although more work is needed to fully optimize performance, these adhesives exhibit good adhesion to compostable films and nonwovens and address the emerging need for industrial compostability as defined by ISO 14855.

Presentation Time

Breakout XII - New Building Blocks for Hotmelts II

Friday, 15 September 2023, 11:00 - 11:30

FEICA Conference