VOCs are a difficult topic for the polyurethane industry but, regulations covering them are becoming more stringent across the world. UTECH North America’s Automotive and Sustainability Conference heard of some of the concerns and problems that the PU industry faces.
Carmakers are increasingly concerned about the quality of air in automotive interiors. The standards vary from continent to continent. The polyurethane industry is getting together with OEMs to simplify the situation.
Potentially companies supplying flexible polyurethane foam to the automotive industry face a very difficult time if they cannot work together with OEMs, and Tier 1 suppliers, according to Hamdi Khalil, global director for R&D and product development, Woodbridge Foam.
“It’s heading for a disaster if we are not going to collaborate with the material suppliers, with the OEMs with the part manufacturer. It is going to be the most difficult time the industry has faced in the past 10 years,” he said at the UTECH North America Automotive and Sustainability conference.
He continued: “When you look at the specifications of VOC and emissions and the types of carbon that people are trying to monitor it is really complex. There isn’t a single company that can deal with it alone.”
The problem is fractured specifications: Khalil explained: “You have specifications which are Asia-specific and they are different from Toyota to Honda to Mazda. You move to Europe and everyone has their own VOC and emissions specifications.”