Swiss-based Foam Partner, a specialised manufacturer of polyurethane foams, has developed a family of foams that, says the company, combine all the advantages of its conventional range of foams but are, in addition, based on sustainable raw materials.
The new foams are based on the sustainable polyols produced by Covestro, who developed a novel tecnology CO2 to be incorporated into polyols - key components for polyurethanes. While the initial application for the new CO2-based cardyon polyols was foam for mattrasses, Covestro has continually sought to develop others, as well.
Today, next to mattresses, the polyols, which can contain as much as 20% CO2, are also used in the production of upholstered furniture, special adhesives for sports flooring underlays, while their use in elastic fibres for stockings and medical textiles is also being explored. To that end, Covestro is currently working with various textile manufacturers to bring fibre production to industrial scale.
Automotive foams are the most recent development, enabling the company to take another important step towards using carbon dioxide as an alternative raw material in the chemical industry - "on an even broader scale," said Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Covestro.
The foams meet the requirements of the FMVSS 302 flammability standard and, with VOC and FOG emission values well below the current thresholds for a healthy car interior climate are easily compliant with all prevailing legislation.
They also offer excellent lamination for faster processing and provide good hydrolytic stability for durable lightweight components in electrical and hybrid vehicles.
The foams are marketed under the OBoNaturebrand name. Available globally in three versions, each version was developed for a specific automotive application in mind: headliners, interior trim and seating applications.
“The new foams are in line with the three core principles of our sustainability strategy: PLANET – Ecological Sustainability, PEOPLE – Social Sustainability, and PERFORMANCE – Economic Sustainability,” said Klaus Hellmold, Head of Marketing & Sales Automotive Rolls Europe at FoamPartner.
Foams contribute to a more lightweight car construction which not only reduces manufacturing costs but also, in electric vehicles, helps to extend range.
The three new foams bear the Foam Partner's proprietary Ecovative label, reserved for product solutions with particular sustainable and economic value.
Foam Partner says that the foams reduce the amount of petrochemical intermediates used by 20 percent. The calculated sustainable share in the final foam is greater than 13 percent.
"Novel materials like cardyon are extremely important for the development and responsible production of sustainable foams," noted Michael Riedel, CEO of FoamPartner. "We are pleased to work with Covestro as one of the innovation leaders in the use of alternative raw materials."