Romulus, Michigan -- Producing energy-efficient thermal insulation and a robust structure with a high quality surface finish using polyurethane alone is one step closer after a Huntsman/Zanussi collaboration, Huntsman said in a press release.
The partnership was inspired by the curve of Electrolux Zanussi’s late 1990s refrigerator model the OZ. This utilised RIM mould injection methods to achieve its unique style.
The polyurethane solution now being developed uses spray-applied rigid polyurethane material for both the inner and outer liners, said a Huntsman press release.
Firstly, the shape of the fridge is copied by applying a gel coat to a wooden mould before polyurethane is sprayed on. The desired thickness and finish is achieved by the blend of raw materials and catalysts to create the subsequent reaction profile.
The two parts are produced separately with no metal reinforcement at all, then subsequently assembled together, said Huntsman. Rigid foam is injected into the insulation cavity which glues the inner and outer liner together.
To complete the process, and deliver the required colour and surface effects, polyurethane-based paint is sprayed onto it.
The method, according to Huntsman, offers “far greater flexibility when it comes to achieving complex shapes and the correct surface finish.”
The benefits associated with the innovation include “streamlined production, lower equipment investment costs at new manufacturing sites and, in the long-term, easier recycling,” said the release.