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Daniel Meyer, who has been with Covestro for more than 25 years, was appointed as the new head of the Polyurethanes Segment at the end of 2017. PU Magazine had the opportunity to meet him in person in Leverkusen, Covestro’s headquarters, and to talk to him about his previous experience with the company and his views on the markets, sustainability and the overall strategic development of the segment.
During the course of the conference PU Magazine had the chance to talk to Lee Salamone, Senior Director of the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI), Laura Schreiner, 2018 Conference Committee Chair, and Brenda Pollack, OSHA Alliance Product Stewardship, about the event and its relevance for the industry and future developments.
Innovative materials and technology have been a hallmark of all presentations staged at the K trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany, the international flagship fair for the plastics and rubber industry. K 2019, which will take place from 16 – 23 October 2019, will also revolve around the key issues of circular economy, resource conservation and digitisation, all of which will be addressed at exhibition stands and by the accompanying programme.
The 2018 Polyurethanes Technical Conference, presented by the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), took place from 1 – 3 October 2018 in Atlanta, GA, USA. With more than 900 attendees and 78 technical presentations, its role as one of the world’s leading events in polyurethane industry was demonstrated once more. Beside the technical sessions covering all relevant industry issues and the table top exhibition, CPI offered again the opportunity to attend different education and training programs (“professional development program”), and two industry panels on VOC (volatile organic compounds) specifications in automotive industry that were well-received.
The Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), the educational and technical resource to the spray polyurethane foam (SPF) industry, announced the completion of a five-year update to its ISO-compliant Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for three generic SPF product formulations that include open-cell, closed-cell and roofing foams. Completed in conjunction with thinkstep (formerly PE International), the 2018 updates also include a fourth product type: low-pressure two-component closed-cell insulation and sealant foams. Additionally, two, rather than one, separate EPDs have been published, aligning with the SPF industry’s move toward the integration of blowing agents with low global warming potential (GWP).
Foam Expo Europe, a new trade fair and conference for the technical foam supply chain, organized by Smarter Shows, took place recently in Hanover, Germany. The event brought together the latest innovations, solutions and developments in materials and manufacturing technologies.
The Cannon Group hosted an international corporate meeting from 22 – 24 October 2018 to celebrate both the 40th anniversary of its activities in the USA and the doubling of production space at its Cranberry, PA, factory. The three-day event gathered 60 visitors from ten countries, all of them young staff that never before had the opportunity to visit Cannon USA.
Eight lion statues that once decorated the iconic Amstel hotel in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, mysteriously disappeared and were never found again. Until today, no one knows how, why, or when the stone statues were removed. Thanks to extensive historical detective work in the Amsterdam city archives, the tooling and composites experts at the Dutch company Scabro, as well as a polyurethane board material from Rampf, the lion statues could be restored and returned to their original locations on top of the building.
About 200 visitors from 20 nations attended the third Bäumer Open House from 18 – 19 October 2018 in Freudenberg, Germany, this time the motto was “The art of high performance”. The programme did not exclusively refer to the company’s own topics. Other suppliers from the industry also gave specialist lectures on topics such as foam block production technologies or foam adhesive solutions.
There has been a growth in CO2-based polyurethane technology in recent years. Polyols made from CO2 and propylene oxide have become commercially available and demonstrated technical advantages in various polyurethane applications. Econic Technologies has developed a tunable catalyst system to incorporate CO2 into polyols with the ability to control the level of CO2 incorporated. These has been shown to offer significant advantages in the production of polyisocyanurate rigid foam, with excellent improvements in processability, fire resistance, and possible economic benefits to the production of rigid foam.
Within the framework of several research projects at the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) in Industry and the Skilled Crafts, the processing of up to 7 wt% CO2 as a physical blowing agent for the production of polyurethane foams was investigated with the aid of various concepts. In the course of the now completed research project, the gas counter-pressure technology developed at the IKV for the production of PU moulded foams was extended by an online CO2 dosage in the polyol feed. This avoids long loading times and thus significantly increases the productivity of the process. A systematic process development for different PU systems was carried out.
Particles are often used in flexible PU foam formulations to generate specific properties that are otherwise difficult to obtain. Various types of particles utilized include melamine, expandable graphite used as a solid FR additive, gel particles and phase change materials incorporated for temperature management of viscoelastic foams, barium sulfate for sound absorbing properties or other mineral fillers which enable cell opening and nucleation. Stabilizing a homogenous dispersion of these particles in polyol for extended time periods before the foaming process is a concern, as many of those materials tend to separate or undergo sedimentation resulting in an inhomogeneous distribution in the resulting foam. In addition, the mixing process tends to negatively influence the foam quality due to entrapped air. A new, proprietary additive is presented which stabilizes particle dispersions and suspensions in polyol providing multiple benefits to the manufacturing process and the final foam article. Influence on the foam processing of various particle/polyol combinations is shown and distribution of the particles in the resulting foam is evaluated. Optimized processing conditions are derived and use recommendations for foam manufacturers are developed. Special focus is directed towards modern technologies related to the temperature management of viscoelastic foams. In addition, also the stabilization of incompatible liquid-liquid combinations is evaluated by using the same approach. Overall, the paper describes benefits of a new processing additive, Dabco PE40, that enhances processing time and particle and property distribution in flexible polyurethane foam systems.
Recent publications have stated that medical surveillance practices in the last decade appear to be a key factor in the significant reduction of diisocyanate-related occupational asthma cases. It has also been noted that there has been a decrease in cases of accelerated lung function decline in isocyanate workers. Various studies have shown the importance of establishing baseline lung function and medical history prior to diisocyanate exposure and routine surveillance thereafter. Questionnaires and lab tests are utilized for the medical evaluation. The results are evaluated by health professionals to determine whether a pre-existing condition has the potential to be aggravated by diisocyanate exposure. Periodic evaluation for upper or lower respiratory irritation or sensitization and contact dermatitis are key segments to medical surveillance during employment in the diisocyanate industry to identify potential adverse effects from working with diisocyanates. It is equally important to correctly diagnose any respiratory condition, as well as to identify the trigger of the symptoms. The utilization of this practice provides the opportunity for early identification of potential asthma and allergic contact dermatitis, which is important to prevent chronic disability.