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Dow Automotive Systems Launch First Amine-Emission Free Polyurethane (PU) Foam Solution for Interior Applications

15 July 2014

SPECFLEX Activ is a new PU foam solution without catalysts meeting the most stringent emission targets combined with outstanding properties and process latitude.

Dow Automotive Systems claims it is launching the first truly viable amine emission free PU foam solution for interior applications.

According to Dow, this unique technology enables automotive seat pad foamers to meet the most stringent industry requirements. The new development has already been tested and validated in an industrial setting by Faurecia at their foam production facility in Magny-Vernois, France.

Dow explains that, traditionally, PU foams require amine catalysts to promote reaction between polyols and water with the isocyanate component (the gelling and blowing reactions). Until now, these added catalysts can be one of the main contributors to amine emission issues with PU foams and also negatively impact physical mechanical properties particularly after ageing and/or narrowing process latitude. Dow Automotive Systems, along with the chemical capabilities of The Dow Chemical Company has designed a new additive polyol family with high and specifically balanced catalytic activity. It claims this breakthrough allows foam makers to eliminate the addition of catalysts when manufacturing PU foam and thereby eliminate amine emissions. Furthermore, the new additive polyol family results in an improved processing window and improved ageing and mechanical properties of foams based upon SPECFLEXTM Activ.

“It is exciting to have this new family of additive polyols. Dow Automotive Systems is enabling customers to meet the increasingly tighter industry requirements on emission and odour in the car interior with potential across all the polyurethane applications. Once more Dow is demonstrating its material science capabilities that permit our customers to fulfill OEM requirements including never seen process capability advantages” says Dr. Esther Quintanilla, SPECFLEXTM Activ Project Lead and EMEA Technical Service and Development for seating foams with Dow Automotive Systems.

Marc Poncelet, R&D Foam Manager at Faurecia Automotive Seating adds “This is a first time in the market that seating TDI1 based foams can be produced without the use of external catalysts. This is not only unique but represents a true milestone for innovative very low emissions automotive interior solutions. The concept has been fully validated using a wide range of TDI automotive foam formulations, allowing Faurecia to select the best SPECFLEX Activ applications in both our R&D and production facilities. This mutual validation works allow us to be ready for an immediate implementation.”





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