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Indira Gupta and the Team of Dr. Gupta Verlags GmbH
According to a survey by Europur, the European Association of Flexible Polyurethane Foam Blocks Manufacturers, based on about 30 interviews with foam producers and suppliers, the production of flexible PU foam is as of 30 March 2020 heavily impacted by the present Covid-19 epidemic. The situation is expected to further worsen in April with a reduced production of between 30 % – 80 % of normal.
Plastic litter is the main problem in the current plastics crisis. It is estimated that there are now more than 150 million t of waste plastic in the world’s oceans and between 4 and 13 million t are added each year. During the last K show in 2019, the world’s leading trade fair for plastics and rubber, whose main theme was the circular economy, PU Magazine had the opportunity to talk to some of the companies that deal with the problem of plastic waste in the oceans and offer solutions. Borealis AG, an Austrian global chemical group producing polyolefins, bulk chemicals and fertilizers, is one of the companies actively tackling this major problem. We spoke to Craig Halgreen, Director of Sustainability and Public Affairs, about Project STOP, an initiative to stop the dumping of plastic waste into the oceans.
An alliance of civil societies and NGOs has jointly issued 15 demands, calling on the German government to take decisive action to solve the problem of plastic waste in the environment. Industry associations such as the Gesamtverband Kunststoffverarbeitende Industrie (GKV) and the IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen do not see the demands as a suitable contribution to the debate on plastics and resource efficiency. In their opinion, the demands run the risk of jeopardizing the initiated course towards sustainable resource and recycling management as they cause uncertainty and a lack of planning and legal certainty for the economy.
IKV celebrates 70th birthday, the 30th International Colloquium Plastics Technology and secures multi-million euro investment for brand-new Smart Factory on the Campus Melaten
The year 2020 is a year of celebration in several respects for the IKV – Institute for Plastics Processing in Industry and Craft at RWTH Aachen University: The RWTH Aachen University celebrates its 150th anniversary, IKV will celebrate its 70th birthday and it will be the 30th time it stages the International Colloquium Plastics Technology. Furthermore, the IKV has received the approval to build a “Plastics Innovation Centre 4.0” (PIC 4.0) on the Campus Melaten, a completely interconnected research and development environment occupying a total area of more than 4,000 m2.
The Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), the educational and technical resource to the spray polyurethane foam (SPF) industry, has announced the winners of the 15th Annual SPFA National Industry Excellence Awards. Winners of the industry awards programme highlight some of the most noteworthy 2019 projects completed by contractors in spray polyurethane foam insulation, roofing and speciality applications, as well as in elastomeric coatings. The winners received their accolades at the sold-out awards luncheon held onsite at the recent Sprayfoam Show 2020 Convention & Expo in Pasadena, CA, USA.
The Molded Polyurethane Foam Industry Panel (the Industry Panel) is pursuing a science-based approach to create a “roadmap” industry standard for providing recommendations and defining best practices for measuring volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from automotive interior flexible molded polyurethane seating foam. The proposed industry standard will address the interests and requirements of OEMs in the three major global automotive markets: North America, Europe, and Asia. The comprehensive standard will leverage existing consensus standards from ASTM International, SAE International, ISO, VDA along with existing automotive OEM test methods to draft four best practice documents: (1) Foam processing and handling, sample production, conditioning, packaging, storage, shipment, and specimen preparation, (2) Test methods to measure VOC emissions, e.g. chambers, air sampling and analytical methods, (3) Data analysis and expression of results, and (4) Description and flowchart of combined documents – Unification document to form a comprehensive VOC Roadmap. This paper will discuss the Industry Panel’s approach for proposing an industry standard. The document was drafted using a collaborative website approach in order to get input from all of the VOC Roadmap team members. A comprehensive review of automotive emissions standards for measuring VOCs from components and materials was conducted to evaluate current practices that are used by the automotive industry. Many aspects of the standards such as sample collection, handling and conditioning requirements were compared to identify similarities, conflicts, and potential areas that may require clarification or research. A collaborative survey with stakeholders was done to determine which methods are being used and to obtain feedback from potential users of the standard. The results from the survey were useful to help harmonize the methods that are covered in the proposed standard.
A growing trend towards the use of renewable bio-derived polyols in polyurethane foams is observed in consumer and commercial applications. In particular, bedding, furniture and automotive seating manufacturers seek to comply with the market demand for bio-derived polyols because of their superior environmental profile. However, there is concern about their potentially greater susceptibility to microbial contamination. Under certain conditions, uninhibited fungal and bacterial growth can affect the mechanical integrity of the foam while creating unhygienic conditions in the home and automotive environments. In this article, we present our recent research into the influence of different polyol types and processing conditions on the tendency for fungal growth in polyurethane foams, using a variety of standard and non-standard tests. Data are presented relating to the performance of antimicrobial additives, with the goal of defining optimal solutions for commercial applications.
The European Union’s waste legislation has been deeply amended in 2018 in view of strongly increasing re-use, preparation for re-use and recycling of solid municipal waste between now and 2035. The new legislation will over time require a significant shift in the way end-of-life mattresses and furniture are dealt with. Landfilling will be nearly phased out and incineration will be strongly discouraged. As these are the main ways of treatment of end-of-life mattresses and furniture today, collection, dismantling and recycling of components mattresses and furniture are made of will have to increase drastically. Considering that mattresses and furniture are the two main markets for flexible polyurethane foam produced in the EU, the new EU waste legislation will require the development of new industrial-scale solutions for increased recycling of flexible polyurethane foam, as currently available mechanical recycling processes would not be able to absorb the volume of end-of-life flexible PU foam diverted from landfill or incineration. A number of research consortia have been created in Europe, often with support of public funding, to seek to develop such recycling technologies for flexible polyurethane (PU) foam. While research is ongoing, it is the view of the European flexible PU foam industry that – in order to succeed in diverting from landfill the significant volumes of end-of-life PU foam considered – a variety of technologies will be required in the future, including waste-to-energy for the fraction of material that cannot be recycled otherwise.
A new bifunctional polymeric diisocyanate (BPI) has been recently launched on the market that is based on renewable carbon and is characterized by very low viscosity (150 mPa·s at 25 °C). Studies have shown that BPI is of interest not only in solvent free or low solid system but also as a building block for the polyurethane chemistry. The synthesis of thermoplastic urethane (TPU) and polyurethane dispersions (PUD) have been achieved, showing that BPI can improve the flexibility of the final material.