Leverkusen, Germany -- Bayer MaterialScience is currently building a 60 kilotonnes per annum plant to make polymer-filled polyether polyols (PMPOs, using a continuous process, at its site in Antwerp, Belgium. According to Bayer, this plant uses "innovative patented technology that will enable considerable energy savings to be made."
In contrast to other processes, this technology also makes products with low viscosity, consistently high quality and which contain "very small amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)," the company claims.
"This opens up new possibilities for the production of polyurethane flexible foams. Our new PMPO products provide foam manufacturers with greater flexibility in processing and in the control of material properties," said Dr Norbert Hahn, a foam expert in foam in BMS' Polyurethanes Business Unit, in a lecture at the UTECH Europe 2009 Conference held in Maastricht 31 Mar-2 Apr.
PMPOs are used to make various polyurethane flexible slab foam grades:
• Conventional foams with enhanced load bearing (ELB);
• High load bearing (HLB) foams; and
• High resilience (HR) foams.
For cost-effectiveness and process simplification, foam makes always try to use raw materials for the entire range of foam products to ensure a broad processing base.
After density, one of the most important parameters is foam hardness, which can be controlled using PMPOs, BMS points out.
Tests have shown that the polyol Arcol HS 100 can be processed in any ratio with the standard polyol Arcol 1108, which is widespread in polyurethane flexible slab foam production, without adapting the formulation, the company adds.
PMPO's low viscosity minimises metering problems: "Our PMPOs can be metered with ease in order to obtain the hardness required for a whole range of foams," said Hahn, in a BMS statement. These tests also showed that the sag factor, which indicates a foam's comfort, improved with the addition of Arcol HS 100. This is of particular interest, because sag factor and hardness usually act in opposition to each other.
"Arcol HS 100 thus makes it possible to improve both parameters at the same time," Hahn said.
VOC-reduced raw materials are playing an increasingly important role for foam manufacturers, because they help satisfy ever more demanding emission regulations, said BMS.