By Rhoda Miel, Plastics News Staff
Dearborn, Michigan -- Ford Motor Co., which was the first major automaker to begin using soyabean oil-based urethane foam, is now debuting a foam with a castor-oil polyol blend.
The foam is part of a soft-touch instrument panel in the 2012 Ford Focus sedan, and has 10 percent of its content from renewable castor oil, which comes from a plant grown throughout Asia. BASF SE is the material supplier.
Castor oil blends have been used previously in nylon used in under-the-hood applications.
In a 30 Sept news release, Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford said the new foam blend has a better ability to maintain its shape over the car's lifetime. It also cures 43 percent faster than traditional foam blends, which improves the manufacturing process.
Ford said it plans to expand the use of castor oil foam blends throughout its product line globally.