October 2 , 2008, PFA Technical Program, La Mansion del Rio Hotel, San Antonio, TX

 “Natural Oil Polyols from Soybean Oil, a Sustainable Raw Material” Phil Sarnacke, United Soybean Board

Natural Oil Polyols (NOP) are leading the transition to sustainable raw materials for the polyurethane industry. As is often the case with new raw materials being introduced to an established, technically sophisticated industry, many questions arise to the viability of the new material. In this presentation we will attempt to provide answers to those questions by addressing the following topics:

  • Supply vs Demand for soy beans (oil and meal)
  • Sustainability of soy oil as an industrial raw material
  • Biobased polyol content
  • Lifecycle analysis
  • Soy polyol projects sponsored by United Soybean Board

 “TDI Emissions and Exposure Monitoring and Control in Flexible Slabstock Plants: A 20-Year History of Safety” Lynn Knudtson, Polyurethane Foam Association

A summary of industry workplace experience regarding possible occupational exposure to TDI can provide valuable information for technical investigators and for the public. To gather experience-based industry information, a survey of flexible polyurethane foam manufacturers was developed and sent to 17 identified flexible polyurethane foam manufacturing companies representing more than 90% of the United States production volume of FPF slabstock. The survey gathered experience-based historical data for up to a 20-year period, including information from sites cumulatively employing more than 1,300 production workers. The results indicated that the incidence of self-reported occupational asthma was infrequent representing less than 1% of the related worker population. Medically confirmed cases were less frequent. In fact, no medically confirmed cases of occupational asthma were reported among the 23 responding FPF production plants during the five years prior to the survey. The infrequency of occupational asthma among the U.S. flexible polyurethane foam plants participating in the survey supports the conclusion that currently applied TDI containment technologies and worker monitoring and protection procedures are both adequate and effective. Further reductions in the allowable limits of exposure to TDI (TLVs) in the workplace are not necessary.

 “The Flexible Slabstock Industry – A Global Industry?” Angela Austin, IAL Consultants

The flexible slabstock industry used to be a domestic affair, however, globalisation of raw material and finished goods industries means that foamers need to be more aware of what is happening elsewhere in the world. This paper summarizes two reports completed in 2008 by IAL Consultants describing the FPF Industry in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and describing the markets in Asia Pacific. Using this data and some additional information collected on the North American market, the paper provides an overview of some general trends and issues affecting the flexible slabstock markets and more detailed information of what is happening in China with regards to exports.

 “The Measurement of Renewable Content in Natural Oil Polyols and Foams” Juan Carlos Medina, The Dow Chemical Company

This paper explains the concept of renewable content, illustrated with examples of its use in polyols and finished products, and proposes to the industry the use of the method described in ASTM D6866 as a way to verify claims regarding the content of renewable materials, and for the first time present validation data for the mentioned method applied specifically to polyurethane foams obtained from NOPs. The paper emphasizes the absolute need for making a link between renewable content and foam performance properties.