Proceedings of the Polyurethane Foam Association Technical Program, New Orleans, LA October 18, 2001

New Developments in Low VOC FPF, Richard Milian, Nitroil Performance Chemicals, Inc., Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, New Orleans, LA, October 18, 2001.

Nitroil Performance Chemicals present a summary of the research work evaluating several reactive amines in conventional slabstock, and HR molded formulations. These reactive (incorporable) amines were compared with non-reactive (non-incorporable) amines in order to provide a solution to the challenge of VOCs. The demands for low VOC flexible foam extend beyond the automotive industry to the manufacturers of flexible slabstock foam. From the study they share their findings that significant reduction in VOCs were achieved, while maintaining similar physical properties results when compared to the industry standard catalysts.

CO2 Blown FPF with Enhanced Hardness, Isabelle Tiberghien, Shell Chemical, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, New Orleans, LA, October 18, 2001.

The technology of flexible polyurethane foam manufacturing is changing rapidly to accommodate new processes and replace traditional blowing agents with sustainable alternatives. A study to define optimal conditions for slabstock processing using liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) as the blowing agent was set-up at the Shell Chemical Laboratories in Belgium. While replacement of methylene Chloride blowing agents with liquid CO2-based technology leads to a reduction in foam hardness, the use of Shell Chemicals polymer polyols overcomes this hardness loss and may further enhance hardness in liquid CO2-blown foams. The paper also introduces a foam properties prediction program, Formul8, which is used to aid the choice of raw materials to obtain specific foam specifications.

Current Available FPF Adhesives, Bill Hazelgrove, Imperial Adhesives, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, New Orleans, LA, October 18, 2001.

This paper outlines the differences of various methods of adhesion for flexible polyurethane foam by discussing the positive and negative points of each method, as well as the types and applications of each adhesive. Covered in this paper are Water Borne, Hot Melt, Flammables, and n-Propyl Bromide adhesives.

High Speed Processing of Contoured Parts, Michael Anders, Fecken-Kirfel America, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, New Orleans, LA, October 18, 2001.

This paper states that to achieve high speed processing of contoured parts, one must consider two separate operations:

  1. Quickly entering parts into the contour cutting machine. These can be either new parts, which need to be digitized, or existing part files. They will then need to be economically nested and have a blade path defined. Further to this operation, one may take the days' orders and sort the parts by foam type and finished part thickness, thereby, creating a job queue for like parts and cutting them as a single batch.
  2. Efficiently cutting the parts. Fast cutting times are not purely a function of straight line machine speed. Other factors can significantly influence the outcome for a fast overall cutting time. It is not enough to only cut quickly, but to do it while maintaining tolerance and having a smooth defined contour.
    This paper covers the above items in more detail as well as a brief mention of machine types and machine combinations to reduce material handling.

Development and Trends in the Supply of Modern FPF Slabstock Machinery and Plant Utilizing Integrated, Distributed Control Systems, Terry Daly, Cannon Viking, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, New Orleans, LA, October 18, 2001.

Recently executed projects by Cannon Viking are typical of the trend and current interest within the industry for modular, high specification, multi-functional, slabstock machinery using dedicated, distributed control systems for complete plant control and integration into the users Management Information Systems (MIS).

Recognizing the capital expenditure constraints often facing users today, the CMAX machine and type of control system described below have been designed for supply in a modular fashion if so desired. Such a methodology permits users to: 1) make periodic additions to their plant as funding becomes available and, consequently, results in a modern fully integrated plant to meet their long term strategic goals 2) enter new, possible niche product markets, not currently served and at minimal additional capital investment.

The Cannon Viking CMAX machine represents the latest design in slabstock machinery employing Ether & Ester production, possible operating configurations of Maxfoam and conventional liquid pouring together with CarDioÔ (the Cannon group Liquid Carbon Dioxide auxiliary blowing system) all in one piece of plant. Control is via the in-house developed and supported "OMEGA," PC/PLC-based system that also permits user support by remote modem access.

The OMEGA controls use a distributed control architecture, which has, for specific projects, been extended to incorporate the control and management of large, bulk chemical storage systems, whilst interfacing with modern computer-controlled converting machinery.

The user benefits derived from such an approach are: enhanced plant controllability, formulation flexibility, repeatability, accuracy and extensive data logging input into the users own MIS enabling full trace-ability of chemicals through to finished product. This latter feature is proving essential to European foamers as environmental pressure and legislation dictate tighter monitoring and recording of hazardous chemicals storage and usage.

Combustion Modifying Additives and Flexible Polyurethane Foams, Herman Stone, Consultant, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, New Orleans, LA, October 18, 2001.

With the objective of determining the effect of FR additives on flexible polyurethane foam (FPF) physical performance, U.S. FPF manufacturers submitted physical performance testing data for a variety of FR and non-FR grade foams. The datasets were examined and categorized for comparison purposes. Performance testing results for equivalent grades of FR and non-FR products were then compared to determine how durability and comfort characteristics might be affected by the addition of FR additives.

Different types of FR additives are discussed. To be effective, an FR additive treatment must decompose rapidly at the critical time. Ideally, additive content will decompose into volatiles, lowering FPF melt temperature and retarding growth of a burning surface.

It is noted that since FPF is used as a component in composite furniture pieces that include a fabric covering, ignition and burn tests of FPF alone are not representative of real fire conditions. Contamination of the outer fabric through soiling or aging conditions has been found to effect composite ignition performance.

Marketing, aesthetic and design considerations are also factors in establishing reasonable performance parameters for commercially acceptable products.

In conclusion, FR modified FPF compared to non-FR FPF at equal density and IFD fell within commercially acceptable physical performance ranges. FR modified FPF in higher densities and in special performance grades (without non-FR equivalents) also exhibited acceptable properties. Lower density FR modified FPF was found to have slightly poorer performance than equivalent non-FR foam, and in medium density ranges, performance differences were less.

It is emphasized that specially FR modified FPF is available for all current furniture applications.

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