PU Magazine International

Ausgabe 04 | 2017

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Editorial
231
Have you already checked your company’s name today?

“Expectations have never been higher for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the chemicals industry. At the outset of 2017, the backlog of deals is at a level never seen before with more than USD 300 billion of potential.” [1]


“Global M&A wave in PU Industry: During the first half of 2016, the global chemical industry mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are flourishing … This wave also involves polyurethane industry and there are many M&A taking place in this six months.” [2]


It is known that due to drivers, such as economic expansion, regulatory changes, and the emergence of new technologies, M&A comes in waves [3]. And my perception is, that we currently are riding on a new wave with the whole polyurethane industry undergoing a time of radical changes.


Companies target for growth by acquisitions, by expanding their product portfolios and by entering new markets. The buzzword seems to be “consolidation”. Global corporations are becoming larger and larger and small competitors disappear.


But looking back to my about 30 years in industry, I also remember times of M&A slumps. Businesses are running moderate, profits are lower than expected and – in search for solutions – the new buzzword becomes “spin-off”. Less profitable parts of the business or service functions are spun off as separate companies or outsourced. As a result, the sizes of global corporations are shrinking and new small players, taking over the spin-offs, pop up again.


And – not surprising – some years later the game can start over again, meaning that in the long-term the business you are involved in more or less remains the way it is. The only thing that changes rapidly is your company’s name on your business card.


As a passionate golfer, you probably experience the same cycles: When you do not hit any fairway with your driver anymore, you may think about buying a new one which provides you with the latest technology available. And surprisingly, this driver really is more accurate (three cheers for the placebo effect). Later, the effect vanishes and it’s time for you to once again try out your old driver, which – if you are honest – was not as bad as you thought. Thus the driver you use changes often, but one thing will stay constant: the lousy drive you are playing.


Yours
Wolfgang Friederichs

[1] A.T. Kearney, “Chemicals Executive M&A Report 2017”
[2] PUdaily, “Polyurethane M&A Update”, 8 September 2016
[3] Martynova and Renneboog, “A Century of Corporate Takeovers: What Have We Learned and Where Do We Stand?”, 2005


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Interview
250
Interview with Markus Eckert, Head of Lanxess Urethane Systems business unit

After specialty chemicals company Lanxess has successfully completed the acquisition of the US company Chemtura, one of the world’s leading suppliers of flame retardant and lubricant additives, in April 2017, the urethanes business, which is new for Lanxess, has been placed within the newly formed Urethane Systems business unit. During a visit at the Lanxess headquarters in Cologne, we had the opportunity to talk with Markus Eckert about the new Urethane Systems business unit.


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260
Interview with Klaus Junginger, Managing Director FSK, and Michel Baumgartner, Secretary General Europur & Euro-Moulders

At the end of 2016, German REACH competent authorities submitted a restriction dossier to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) proposing risk management measures to ensure safe handling of diisocyanates at the workplace. The dossier calls for a mandatory training scheme for the industrial and professional use of diisocyanates but also allows applying for exemptions from this restriction. The dossier prepared by Germany is currently being discussed at EU level and can be subject to amendments. Therefore, while this interview can discuss the great lines of the proposal as currently on the table, the final legislation may be amended on some aspects.


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Bericht
253
Successful first year for Third Coast’s prepolymer toll manufacturing unit

Prepolymer contract manufacturer Third Coast Terminals LLC announced a full year of successful prepolymer toll manufacturing at its state-of-the-art prepolymer facility in Pearland, TX, USA. The unit was completed as scheduled in 2016 and commissioned flawlessly, the company said in a statement issued on 6 July 2017.


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258
PSE Europe, International Exhibition for Polyurethane Solutions – PU industry celebrates successful launch event in Munich

From 27 – 29 June 2017 an international audience of industry experts was introduced to innovative applications and new developments in the PU sector at the MOC in Munich, Germany. The launch of the first international trade fair for polyurethane processing was eagerly awaited though by some with certain skepticism, as only a limited number of exhibitors had registered and some of the big players were missing. The fair was indeed manageable, but once again it became evident that quality goes over quantity, and on closer inspection, the event turned out to be a full success. A total of 1,069 trade visitors from 51 countries and 75 exhibiting companies from 16 countries participated in the specialised trade fair for Europe’s PU industry.


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264
CPI 2017 Polyurethanes Technical Conference preview

The 60th annual Polyurethanes Technical Conference, hosted by the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), comes to the New Orleans Marriott in New Orleans, LA, USA, from 2 – 4 October 2017. As the longest-running polyurethanes conference in North America, the event convenes technical experts, industry leaders, and downstream users for a unique convergence of scientific presentations, professional networking, and regulatory insight. The event will highlight the latest, innovative polyurethanes technology and discuss the most pressing issues facing the industry today. It will feature 14 technical sessions with more than 60 paper presentations as well as a poster session describing the latest research and technical developments for all of the important polyurethane industry sectors. In addition, the event will feature CPI's 14th annual Polyurethane Professional Development Program (PDP), the Polyurethane Innovation Award and a table top exhibition.


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268
“Tesla knows it, Volvo knows it, Hell, most of the automotive industry knows it!”
270
Europur and Euro-Moulders General Assembly 2017

Over 300 participants attended the Europur and Euro-Moulders annual conference in Milan, Italy. A good part of the flexible PU foam supply chain, including representatives of over 40 different foam producers, gathered in Milan on 7 and 8 June 2017 to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the invention of polyurethanes and discuss innovation and the future of the PU industry.


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272
The colourful world of Repi – Factory tour at the Repi headquarters in Lonate Ceppino, Italy

During a visit at the Repi headquarters in Lonate Ceppino, a small village close to Milan, Italy, we had a chance to gain insights into the company Repi, its product portfolio, its production facilities, and the way the company is performing research and development. The world of Repi presented itself impressively colourful from application labs to the production area.


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274
From the board meeting of the IPTPF – Research reports of Prof. Shuhei Seki, Kyoto University, and Prof. Akinori Takasu, Nagoya Institute of Technology, presented
Aufsatz
254
The European flexible PU foam market report for 2016

According to data collated by Labyrinth Research & Markets Ltd, on behalf of Europur, and presented at the recent Annual Conference of Europur and Euro-Moulders in Milan, Italy, (7 – 8 June 2017), the total production of flexible polyurethane foam in the 28 EU member states, Norway, Switzerland, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, Ukraine, Russia and Turkey reached just over 1.7 million t in 2016. Of the total flexible polyurethane foam produced, 1.24 million t was polyether slabstock foam and 75,000 tonnes was polyester slabstock foam.


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276
Project R.A.C.E. – Serial production of complex, structural hollow components

Structural fibre composite components are an essential part of high-performance applications in aerospace and motorsports nowadays. High quality lightweight design can be achieved with hollow, coreless components produced integrally. In the framework of the project R.A.C.E. (Reaction Application for Composite Evolution), Hennecke GmbH has achieved a decisive development step towards the industrialisation of the new Cavus technology of KTM Technologies together with its partners, which will allow the large-scale production of even complex hollow fibre composite components in an automated HP-RTM (high-pressure resin transfer moulding) process in the future.


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282
Release agents: Today’s challenges in the production of steering wheels

Today’s requirements for the polyurethane processing industry present new challenges for the manufacturers. Due to new environmental demands and technology changes, producers in the automotive industry are particularly committed to adapting to new standards, e.g., for reducing VOC (volatile organic compounds), and minimizing or eliminating tin derivatives in their products, thus also in their process chemicals. As a leading supplier of release agents, it is one of the top priorities for Acmos Chemie KG to master these challenges together with customers and processors. This has resulted in the development of new cleaning media which are only classified as “irritant” (GHS07) according to GHS (Globally Harmonized System). With regard to the feedback from various tier one suppliers, this new cleaner generation offers an identical, sometimes even better performance than formerly achieved with NEP-containing cleaners.


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286
Multi-substrate polyurethane adhesives – Bonding technologies for automotive lightweight designs

Over the recent years the automotive industry has successfully proceeded to build lighter vehicles with more fuel-efficient engines to significantly reduce fleet consumption. In this context, industry experts assume that metal will remain the primary material for vehicle structures. However, new high-strength steel grades are finding their way into vehicle structures. Metals with low density such as aluminum and even magnesium are increasing in demand – as are polymer materials such as fiber-reinforced composites. Fueled by the importance of those very diverse materials, questions regarding bonding technology enter the center stage of the discussion. Modern lightweight designs require new bonding technologies in addition to new adhesive materials especially tailored to overcome local stresses in the bond lines of the new car body designs made up of a multitude of different panel materials.


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292
Water soluble bismuth-based curatives with remarkable activity and shelf life

Bismuth-based curatives have been of interest to the polyurethane industry for several decades because of their low toxicity. However, they have not achieved market penetration because of incompatibility with water-based resins for coatings, sealants and most notably, foams. As environmental and regulatory concerns eliminate HFC blowing agents from formulation consideration, the replacement HFO blowing agents require reformulation with metal catalysts in order to achieve fast cures. The Shepherd Chemical Company’s new bismuth catalysts, BiCat 8840 and BiCat 8842 achieve fast cure profiles for all HFO polyurethane applications – including spray foam – while also ensuring regulatory compliance, safer employee work conditions, and negligible impact to the environment. This has been achieved by inventive metal-ligand technology that balances acid-base and coordination chemistry. Here, we report VOC measurements, cream, gel and tack-free times, for these curatives vs. other metal catalysts. We also provide rise profiles and foam characteristics such as thermal resistivity and density. Shelf life studies are ongoing and will be presented, to date.


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297
New low emissive antioxidant package for flexible slabstock foams

The quality of indoor air has been the subject of increasing scrutiny by government authorities as people in modern society spend most of their time in confined spaces (such as car interiors). New more stringent regulations have been put in place to reduce the exposure of the public to chemicals that could have damaging effects on human health. In this vein, polyurethane foam producers have been looking for low emissive raw materials and additives. The polyurethane additives group of Addivant has recently developed innovative low emissive antioxidant package that provide excellent scorch protection during production of flexible polyurethanes foams. This paper will compare the performance of Addivant’s new solution against the current standard used by the industry.


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300
The adjustment of physical properties of viscoelastic foam – the role of different raw materials

Viscoelastic polyurethane foam, also referred to as memory foam or low resilience foam, is used mainly in home and office furnishings, although a considerable amount of work has been conducted for automotive applications. During a compression cycle, viscoelastic foams exhibit slow recovery and thus, high hysteresis. Viscoelastic foams also typically have low ball rebound values. They are produced from MDI, TDI 65, TDI 80 and other mixtures of these isocyanates. TDI 80 formulations have a tendency toward closed cell structures, whereas TDI 65 and MDI usually result in foams with reasonable porosity. The role of the cell structure – cell fineness and porosity – turns out to be significant for viscoelastic foams relying on the pneumatic as well as the adhesion effect. The major reason for viscoelastic foam properties however is the glass transition temperature, which is mainly defined by the nature of the polyol mixture. By the specific adjustment of the glass transition temperature, also other foam physical properties such as foam hardness or compression set are controllable. Evonik has put many resources into the understanding of the different mechanisms, which influence the physical properties of viscoelastic foam. This paper evaluates different ways to control and precisely adjust physical properties of viscoelastic foam. Finally, the influence of different raw materials on the viscoelasticity and other physical properties of the foam are analyzed.


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310
Bio-based ester polyols for flexible foam applications

Emery Oleochemicals LLC, through its new eco-friendly polyols platform, offers Emerox renewable content polyols. Emerox polyols are produced from dibasic acids that are a product of Emery Oleochemicals’ proprietary ozonolysis technology. These polyols possess all the structural design freedom of a petrochemical-based polyol, but with a high renewable content and often with superior performance properties. Emerox 14060, a bio-based azelate (C9) ethylene glycol polyester polyol developed by Emery Oleochemicals, targets “click-able” flexible ester foams and CASE applications. In this investigation, we compare flexible foam performance properties of Emerox 14060 versus an adipate (C6) diethylene glycol polyester polyol in 32 kg/m3 (2 pcf) foam formulations. Foam “click-ability” (i.e. smooth cut as opposed to a pinched foam edge when die cut) and polyol/polyurethane hydrophobicity aspects are compared as well. Overall Emerox 14060, an azelate (C9) ethylene glycol polyester polyol, exceeds the performance criteria for typical adipate (C6) diethylene glycol polyester polyols for many applications and should be considered an attractive renewable alternative.


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