Maastricht, The Netherlands -- Polyurethane foam manufacturers can now pursue the task of making products with lower emissions without compromising product property standards, said Air Products, launching a new generation of low-emission non-fugitive catalysts at the UTECH Europe 2012 event.
In developing low-emission catalysts, "the biggest challenge has been to fulfil the physical property standards of flexible foams used in automotive seating, in particular to meet properties after humid ageing of the foam," said Steve Hulme, global marketing manager for PU Chemicals at Air Products, in a company announcement.
According to Air Products, demand for non-emission catalyst technology has spread globally in the past decade and this is expected to continue.
"Initial interest in non-fugitive catalyst technology came from the European automotive industry, but this has since spread to flexible slabstock and rigid foams. We are now seeing an increased demand for this advanced technology from furniture and bedding producers in Asia, for example, which are supplying markets in the EU and US," Hulme commented.
It has been particularly hard to make low-density foams based on TDI (toluene diisocyanate) to meet both the low/no emission demand and the humid-ageing tests, added Dr Matthias Lohe, marketing manager Europe, for polyurethane additives, in a 19 April discussion with UTI during the UTECH event, at Maastricht.
As a result, Air Product's two new low-emission catalysts, Dabco NE 10190 and Dabco BA305, "fill a market gap," said Hulme. The development "gives our customers the option to comply with the specifications," while also "positioning TDI foams better in the marketplace," he added.
The materials form "another milestone in 50 years of Air Products' catalyst developments for the polyurethane industry," he added.
Air Products has seen strong interest from the major players for seating foam, Hulme and Lohe confirmed. In automotive seating, "European OEMs drive these test requirements," they have the tightest specifications, for both physical properties and emissions, Hulme noted.
PIC: Lohe (l) and Hulme at UTECH Europe in Maastricht