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The pandemic has taught us many things, and exploring the possibilities of digital encounters is one of them. A good example of an all-round successful virtual collaboration is Joe Nimble's recoverToes project. The shoe was realized within a few months, and the collaboration with Huntsman, the material supplier for the polyurethane materials used, was entirely virtual.
So the signs are good for recovery - not only for battered feet, but also for the battered economy. In this issue of PU Magazine, we are pleased to present several market reports (from Amaplast and Composites Germany, among others) that provide a positive overall outlook on economic developments.
And even though we are now able to work virtually in a virtuoso manner, everyone is surely longing for the time when we can meet in person again. For the autumn 2021, in any case, the signs are good and we are looking forward to European Coatings Show, Utech Europe, Europur meeting and many more ...
The pandemic has also taught us to pay more attention to our living environment. Matteo Grigolini from CSIL takes a look at the furniture industry in Latin America and we have news on mattress recycling. The VDMA reports about how circular economy and carbon footprint can act as drivers for lightweight technologies. Further improving sustainability and safety of continuous sandwich panel concepts are two major drivers for Pearl Polyurethane's brand new R&D initiative in Dubai. Precious insights into the markets for polyurethane chemicals and products in Asia Pacific 2021 are shared by IAL Consultants. Concentrol's Joaqim Serra gives an overview on release agents. We report about the cooperation of AniForm and Moldex3D for improved RTM analysis. And a new technology for less glass breakage and trimming in car glass PU encapsulation is presented by BBG.
IAL Consultants has announced the recent publication of its report on the markets for polyurethane chemicals and products in Asia Pacific. This new study updates and expands upon the information included in the previous study published in 2019. The information contained within this report is based upon an extensive programme of interviews throughout the industry. The report contains both PU product production and raw material consumption figures, with 2020 as the base year and market forecasts provided to 2025.
According to data from the MECS-Amaplast (national trade association and member of Confindustria) Statistical Studies Centre, which were analysed accounting for Istat data, last year revenues for Italian plastics and rubber equipment manufacturers recorded a drop of 11.4 % to a total value of EUR 3.9 billion, after the record peak in 2017, substantially continuing into 2018, then followed by a cyclical setback in 2019.
For the 16th time, Composites Germany has identified the latest key performance indicators for the fibre-reinforced plastics market. The survey covered all the member companies of the three major umbrella organisations of Composites Germany: AVK – Federation of Reinforced Plastics e. V., Leichtbau Baden-Württemberg and the VDMA Working Group on Hybrid Lightweight Technologies. As before, to ensure a smooth comparison with the previous surveys, the questions in this half-yearly survey have been left unchanged. Once again, the data obtained in the survey was largely qualitative and related to current and future market developments.
Lanxess has expanded its Trixene Aqua range of water-based blocked isocyanate dispersions. The product family now includes new grades, specifically designed to expand the application areas and meet more demanding customer needs.
The leading Dubai-based system house, currently operating as Pearl Covestro Polyurethane Systems LLC, announced that it has launched a new research and development initiative in the Middle East to develop improved continuous sandwich panel concepts with the objective of continually bringing breakthrough new products to market.
Latin America and the Caribbean count almost 640 million inhabitants and a per capita gross national product (GNP) of about USD 9,000. According to CSIL (Centre for Industrial Studies) estimate, the furniture market of this region is worth about USD 16 billion at production/ import prices. In 2020, CSIL has further explored the furniture sector for a selection of Latin American countries: Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay in South America, and Panama and Costa Rica in Central America. Some findings are reported in this article.
According to Europur, the European Association of Flexible Polyurethane Foam Blocks Manufacturers, every year over 30 million mattresses are discarded in the European Union. Were they all stacked on top of each other, the pile would be 678 times as heigh as Mount Everest. In the Netherlands alone, 1.5 million mattresses are discarded on annual basis. That’s a potential waste pile of 100 times the height of the Eiffel Tower.
Covestro and orthopedic service provider GeBioM mbH, based in Münster, Germany, are expanding their cooperation in the field of orthopedic footwear. In addition to producing lasts and trial shoes, they now support orthopedic shoemakers in the production of custom insoles using 3D printing.
At the annual meeting of the VDMA Hybrid Lightweight Technologies working group, which took place on 12 February 2021, it became clear that the industry is intensively addressing holistic concepts of lightweight construction, offering its customers worldwide customised solutions for CO2 reduction. In the automotive sector in particular, there is growing pressure from supply chains to live up to the guiding principle of climate-neutral manufacturing and to be able to prove this with data. In the context of taxation based on CO2 intensity, monetary benefits can also be generated through CO2 savings.
Runners can now buy a new form of footwear that can help their feet recover from pounding the pavements during the pandemic. ‘Functional Footwear’ specialist Joe Nimble has developed its first recovery sandal for runners – with assistance from Footwear Innovation Lab GmbH and global chemical company Huntsman Corporation.
Nowadays, the composite industry has access to a wide variety of process simulation software, each having its own specialisation. However, engineers can benefit even more from these predictive tools when their results are coupled. The Dutch simulation technology company AniForm Engineering B.V. is collaborating with CoreTech System Co., Ltd. (Moldex3D) to offer its users a higher-level resin transfer moulding (RTM) analysis.
Only a few atomic layers determine whether a surface is water-repellent, printable, paintable, adhesive or antibacterial. The surface of many products is therefore specifically modified. Thanks to a new X-ray photoelectron spectrometer, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam-Golm, Germany, can now analyse surfaces even more precisely, which is helpful when developing a process or determining sources of failures. Companies and partners can benefit not only from the new analytical capabilities at Fraunhofer IAP, but also from the extensive expertise in material development, which facilitates the interpretation of data and the tuning of a manufacturing process.
Automotive glass that is encapsulated in moulds on the basis of BBG’s new PU flush sealing concept is much less prone to breakage than with conventional moulds. The reject rate decreases noticeably while encapsulation with polyurethane is more precise. As a result, necessary rework is reduced to up to a quarter of the time originally spent on reworking components. According to BBG, a manufacturer of moulds, machinery and plants, this is reported by customers who already rely on the new technology. It can be used for single-pane tempered glass, as well as laminated glass, and “fragile” semi-tempered glass.
When we speak of molded polyurethane, we always think, in the first instance and as essential, of isocyanates and their pre-polymers, ether or ester polyols, molds, high or low pressure injectors, polyol formulations, amines, metal salts, blowing agents, etc. Little is said about the use of mold release agents, until the start-up trials of the molding projects begin. This article gives an overview of basic aspects in the use of release agents.
A team of Italian and Brazilian researchers has published an extensive study on UV-curable water-borne (UV-WPU) polyurethane coatings. These materials are becoming more and more attractive due to worldwide increasingly rigorous environmental demands. The authors said that they hope to present a scientific source on the current state-of-the-art of UV-WPU synthesis, providing new combinations of raw materials and intelligent solutions, thus making material and industrial engineers able to mitigate the inconveniences of the process.
The issue of plastic waste has become part of all social debates. However, the pollution of the ecological system soil still receives little attention. So, the question arises whether plastics that remain on soils or fields (including water from drainage systems) do not have similar effects on the environment as, for example, in seas, rivers or lakes. Researchers of the iMulch project succeeded in establishing the first three test criteria for determining microplastics in the ecological system soil.
PPF is a thermoplastic urethane (TPU) based “self-healing” film applied to paint surfaces for added protection. Applications in the automotive, aerospace and electronic industries have already been highly successful. According to TPU industry reports, the global market for PPF is projected to reach 1.2 billion USD by 2026. This article summarises elements of a successful PPF production and how equipment suppliers such as Davis-Standard can help to engineer a solution on an existing line or new PPF line.
PPF was first developed and used by the US military during the Vietnam War to protect vulnerable parts on military transports. It proved very effective for protection of helicopter blades and other sensitive parts prone to damage by flying shrapnel and debris. Today, it is commonly used on automobiles to protect paint from stone chips, bug splatters and minor abrasions. The typical cost of PPF for full body coverage of a vehicle can range from USD 3,000 to USD 8,000. It is also used on airplanes, RVs, cell phones, electronics, screens, motorcycles and for many other purposes and even in specialty markets such as wind turbine blade protection.
Both the development of new and the enhancement of existing technical systems place high demands on the resilience of the materials used. Technical requirements are growing permanently with their complexity. The specifications of performance increase steadily and along with them the demand for resource and energy efficiency. A comprehensive outline of the most recent findings in the field of fracture mechanics and endurance of polymeric materials is now compiled in the latest volume of Springer Nature's Advances in Polymer Science. “Fatigue Crack Growth in Rubber Materials – Experiments and Modelling“ comprises twenty articles of well-respected scientists, who are involved in designing and developing novel systems and approaches for industrial test procedures and their coherent derivation from fraction mechanics. It gives a comprehensive outline of the most recent findings in the field of fracture mechanics and endurance of polymeric materials and is of interest in academic research and education as well as for industrial experts engaged in material design, processing and lifetime estimation. The editors are Prof. Dr. Gert Heinrich (TU Dresden), Dipl.-Ing. Reinhold Kipscholl (Coesfeld GmbH & Co. KG, Dortmund) and Dr.-Ing. habil. Radek Stocˇek (PRL PolymerResearch Lab und UTB Zlín, Czech Republic).