Mr. Mühlbauer, congratulations on your election onto the EPP Forum board. What motivated you to present yourself as a candidate? What are your aims as a new board member?
Christian Mühlbauer: Thank you. I am pleased to be able to support the EPP Forum and its board in future. I have worked for many years with EPP and everything to do with it. What could be more natural than to offer my experience, for example in communications, more strongly in the EPP Forum? I am excited at the opportunity to present our innovative material and its potentials to a wider circle of people and to turn them into “EPP fans”, too.
How do you view the role of the EPP Forum, when it comes to increasing the awareness and popularity of EPP?
Mühlbauer: The EPP Forum – as a comprehensive network of participants along the entire value chain – is extremely important for making EPP and its many advantages better known. The Forum is especially credible thanks to its members: From raw material production to toolmaking to moulded part manufacture, we can offer interested parties and developers a broad range of information and knowhow – completely separately from the ordinary sales channels.
How do you think the EPP Forum could develop in future – including with your commitment? In what areas – say networking or knowledge transfer – do you still see potential for improvement?
Mühlbauer: I think many great ideas have already been realized here, such as the successful expert workshops on highly diverse topics relating to EPP. We complemented the information on offer with the sample case we presented interested parties, designers and developers with at the Materialica fair. At trade fairs and conferences, I have repeatedly experienced personally how important it is to make EPP “tangible”. Basically “EPP hands-on” – we need to expand these offers in order to make the Forum, and thereby our material, come more clearly into the focus of designers, developers and, not least of course, the buyers.
At BASF, you are responsible for the product management of Neopolen, the proprietary EPP of BASF. What fascinates you personally about this material?
Mühlbauer: In a word: its versatility! At one moment, you’re discussing with colleagues a safety-critical bumper as used in many automobiles, and in the next phone call you’re talking about a colourful toy plane. I found this versatility exciting right from the beginning, and it inspires me to this day.
Let us take a look into the future! Tell us your forecast: How will the role and the importance of EPP develop in future, as a versatile and innovative material?
Mühlbauer: The development of EPP is nowhere near an end, and the potential is far from being exhausted. I am convinced that – besides the classical and steadily advancing projects in the automotive sector – EPP will establish itself permanently in other application areas as well. After all, lightweight construction, energy efficiency or great freedom in design are already an issue in many branches today, and are becoming more important. And designers, too, are recognizing more and more the potential behind our foam beads. Demand is also increasing for compound materials with EPP. I am certain: It will remain exciting!