By Frank Esposito, Plastics News Staff
Duesseldorf, Germany -- Spanish materials firm Merquinsa will see its Bio-TPU brand thermoplastic polyurethanes used in a Ford Motor Co. auto part and a Brooks Sports running shoe next year.
Ford will use the Merquinsa material as a top layer on a console tambour door on its 2011 Lincoln MKZ vehicle. The bio-based material offers the same performance as a standard TPU while remaining cost-competitive, Merquinsa commercial general manager Jean-Marc Galvez said in an interview at K 2010.
The Brooks shoe -- available next spring -- is 5 percent lighter as a result of using the Bio-TPU in its soles, Galvez added. The material also is replacing a standard TPU in that application.
Since launching Bio-TPU in 2007, Merquinsa has added more than 11 million pounds of annual capacity for the material at its plant in Barcelona. Bio-TPU is based on non-food plants, but Galvez declined to offer specifics.
Merquinsa is growing in other areas as well, with plans to open a sales office in Guangzhou, China, early next year, and to hire four or five new application development personnel by the end of 2011.