November 7, 2013, Downtown Marriott, New Orleans, LA

 “New JFLEX Continuous Process Slabstock Machine for Lower Volume Production Needs” Jim Shoup, Hennecke

Traditional slabstock equipment used in the US today typically provides high-volume output of about 650 pounds per minute. This output rate may not be practical for smaller-volume pour runs. This paper presents the new Hennecke JFLEX pour technology, new continuous processing equipment capable of pouring conventional foam products are a rate of as slow as 3 feet minute, or about 25% of typical pour speed, for better management of small-volume pour runs. JFLEX equipment requires a much smaller "footprint," having a machine length of about 30 feet. This paper will discuss new foaming principles supported by the JFLEX machine, equipment design and operation, and how a JFLEX machine can provide a better way to serve smaller-volume custom formulation needs.

 “Advancements in PET-based Flexible Polyurethane Foams” Michael Dubois, Soft Spuma

Current raw material economics invite investigation of formulation technologies to reduce dependence on petroleum based components while maintaining or improving foam product physical properties. This paper discusses advancements in commercialized flexible polyurethane foam with significant PET resin content of up to 40% for some applications. Possible PET-based formulation applications include foams for furniture, bedding and automotive, including viscoelastic foam products. New achievements in PET formulation and processing technologies will be discussed with resulting foam physical and performance properties.

 “Low Volatile Organic Compound Aromatic Polyester Polyol for Flexible Slabstock Foams” Khalil Khameneh, Stepan Company

Recent activity within the flexible foam industry has focused on reducing the presence of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) introduced into the foam from the raw materials.The presence of VOCs is of particular concern in both CertiPUR-US® rated foams and flame laminated foams used in automotive applications. Aromatic polyester polyols are known to improve foam bond strength to fabric, boost mechanical properties, increase foam hardness and may reduce the required flame retardant usage in flexible slabstock foams. However, standard grades also contribute to fogging and VOC emissions. Stepan has developed STEPANPOL PF-185, a novel aromatic polyester polyol that when used in polyether slabstock foam formulations provides the traditional benefits associated with aromatic polyester polyols while meeting new industry requirements for fogging and VOC emissions.

 “Reactivity Rates and Physical Properties for Zinc Pyrithione Formulated Low-density Conventional Polyether/TDI-based Slabstock FPF” Tom Robitaille, Lonza

Zinc pyrithione is well known for providing strong antimicrobial effects to polyurethane foams as well as many other materials. The antimicrobial performance of zinc pyrithione provides both hygienic surface effects (ex-US) and true preservative effects to treated articles such as bedding, pillows and other shock absorbing foams. The fact that zinc pyrithione provides strong performance in both types of antimicrobial "effects" distinguishes it from other antimicrobials on the market today. Despite the exceptional antimicrobial performance characteristics of zinc pyrithione in polyurethane foams, it can have a negative impact on the foaming process and the resulting physical properties of finished foams. This report characterizes the impact of zinc pyrithione on these parameters in a light-density slab-stock foam with special focus on the impact of Lonza's in-house proprietary stabilization of zinc pyrithione. This work demonstrates a positive impact of the stabilization of zinc pyrithione on reducing the catalytic effects typically seen with standard zinc pyrithione. This positive effect is seen primarily in the reactivity rate (~30% improvement), air flow (~4X improvement), and rebound resilience (25.7% improvement) over un-stabilized zinc pyrithione.

 “New Tin Catalyst for Use in Flexible Foam Applications, 2-Ethylhexanoic Acid Free Alternative to Stannous Octoate” Greg Pickrell, Momentive

Momentive Performance Materials Inc. introduces Niax® catalyst D-25, a new tin catalyst manufactured to be free of 2-Ethylhexanoic acid (2-EHA). This new product is in response to the industry need for an alternative gel catalyst to Stannous Octoate, without 2-EHA. Niax catalyst D-25 may be considered for use in the production of flexible slabstock foam, including conventional, high resilience and viscoelastic applications. It typically yields high catalytic efficiency in the polyurethane foam gelling reaction comparable to Stannous Octoate, tin catalyst currently used for these applications. This new tin catalyst can provide equivalent foam performance to Stannous Octoate without the inclusion of 2-EHA in the finished foam product. Depending on the foam formulation, optimization of the tin and amine catalysts use levels may be required to achieve desired reactivity profiles and foam properties. This paper addresses the use of Niax Catalyst D-25 in flexible foam applications, including catalytic activity, foam performance and elimination of 2-EHA, compared to the current industry standard Stannous Octoate tin catalyst.

 “New Polymer Polyol for Combustion Modified High Resiliency Foams” Chris Thiede, Dow Chemical

Dow recently developed a new polymer polyol with intrinsic flammability performance for high resilience and combustion modified high resilience flexible polyurethane foams. The polyol can be used to produce a wide range of foam densities with hardness up to 400 N in both standard and flame retardant grades for BS 5852 (Crib 5). Foams can be produced with a broad processing latitude, resulting in excellent foam physical properties such as high resilience, low compression sets and dynamic fatigue hardness loss. Foams required to meet British Standard Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Standard BS 5852 can easily be produced using melamine, TCPP or a synergistic combination of both with significantly reduced levels of flame retardants in comparison to foams prepared using styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) copolymer polyol (CPP) technology. The performance and versatility of this new technology means that a single polymer polyol can be used to produce the entire product range without the addition of other flame retardant polyols or high solids SAN CPP. This paper demonstrates the versatility of this polyol via an overview of foam grades, physical properties and flammability performance.

 “Testing Emanations of Flexible Polyurethane Foam for the Presence of Free TDI or MDI” Nick Ordsmith, Hall Analytical

This paper provides a preliminary report on emissions testing of high-density specimens of conventional, high resilience, super-soft and viscoelastic foams for the presence of TDI or MDI. Small chamber testing was conducted using the International Isocyanates Institute protocol for the collection and analysis of emanations of flexible polyurethane foam. This protocol was published based on TDI only and an initial method implementation and validation study was performed to demonstrate linearity over a range of concentrations. At this stage, the addition of MDI as an analyte was also validated. This also served to develop a cost effective on-going analytical strategy for regular monitoring of foam samples. During the routine testing of foam samples, as part of the CertiPUR-US® program, additional TDI/MDI testing has been performed on suitable candidate foams using the expanded, validated method. This has yielded some preliminary data as part of a planned experiment to cover multiple samples from each foam family. The results to date will be shown.