By David Reed UT consulting editor
London-Despite a "huge number of actions" resulting from a two-day meeting of interested parties held 2-3 Nov, a European body to promote the use of polyurea technology is likely to take official shape "before the end of January ," according to lead participant Marc Broekaert. He is one of two directors on the international committee of the US-based Polyurea Development Association and is also a member of the business development team of Huntsman Polyurethanes, based in Everberg, Belgium, one of the leading suppliers of key raw materials for the technology.
The latest meeting was the third gathering of interested parties since the concept was first discussed at the European Coatings 2005 exhibition and conference, 26-28 April in Nuremberg, Germany. The recent discussions moved the concept on "quite some way," Broekaert said, in a 13 Nov telephone interview.
Over 20 participants from a dozen companies came away with a long list of individual actions required, covering the steps needed to create a legal entity in Europe, including related business insurance for the eventual body as well as the legal services required to manage matters such as European competition laws.
The creation of literature covering products and application procedures, as well as the programme for the initial conference, were further key actions agreed at the recent meeting, Broekaert reported.
US market worth $100 million
Polyureas, defined as the products of the reaction between diisocyanates and amine-terminated resins, have been widely used for barely 20 years, Broekaert explained, but estimates suggest the US market is worth as much as $100 million. This is not a definitive figure, he emphasised, adding that the US PDA intends to instigate a full market survey of the business, including Europe.
While spray application is the leading process, yielding tough elastomeric coatings, polyureas made by injection and casting will also be covered, Broekaert said, explaining that polyureas are widely used in areas such as linings of containment facilities, membranes and waterproofing.
"There is nothing wrong with other technologies," he emphasised, "but we want [people] to only use polyureas."
And the new group hopes to supply the support, training and guidance needed to promote the correct use of the technology as well as the information and marketing needs of the business, Broekaert indicated.
Closely modelled on the six-year-old PDA in the US, the new group is likely to be called PDA Europe, the Huntsman specialist said, in the telephone interview, adding that this was a provisional title since the initials PDA have many possibilities. A website based on the same name was also planned, once a properly legal European entity was established, Broekaert said.
The US PDA's board of directors already has an international committee chaired by Lee Bower of PCSI, with Broekaert as one of two international directors, alongside Leon Scott, with Hesterman Technical Services based in Regina, Canada. This committee instigated the recent European-level activities.
A further meeting of the interested parties is planned for the week of 12 March 2007, by which time it is hoped that the programme for the first European conference in November will be established, the Huntsman specialist continued.
Although closely modelled on the US body, and involving several of the same companies, the European unit is intended to be fully independent, and will involve local firms involved in the production, compounding and application of the polyurea products, he emphasised.
A large proportion of members of the US PDA are applicators, Broekaert pointed out, adding that such firms mostly operate on a regional level in the US and are less likely to be active internationally.
Building membership in Europe was another of the important activities agreed at the November meeting, Broekaert concluded."