Dow Polyurethanes and Thermoset Systems: Leading the Industry in Innovative Developments
Houston, TX - October 17, 2005
As the world’s largest polyether polyols producer and an industry leader in the production of MDI and TDI, Dow has built one of the broadest product lines of polyurethane products in the industry, supplying quality raw materials worldwide for segments such as rigid foams; flexible foams; and coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers (CASE). Dow combines global polyurethanes production and supply capabilities and its commitment to technology, safety and environmental sustainability, with its broad expertise in polyurethanes chemistry and systems formulation. Dow’s polyurethanes are serving industry needs world-wide in a variety of end use applications, including:
As a leader in polyurethanes manufacturing and with technological leadership as a core competency, Dow is constantly working to improve processing efficiencies and product performance, including developing a generation of more economically viable and environmentally sustainable products. Dow’s polyurethanes product line continues to grow and evolve to meet customers’ changing requirements and address environmental guidelines. Recent technological developments include:
VORANOL VORACTIV Polyols
VORANOL™ VORACTIV™ polyols have generated strong interest among flexible and molded foam manufacturers and within the automobile, bedding and furniture industries since their introduction in 2001. These technologically enhanced polyols have the amine catalyst grafted into them, allowing foam manufacturers to eliminate a formulating step. This streamlines the production process, generates significant cost savings and improves foam consistency and performance. The polyols also generate lower VOC emissions than those associated with amine catalysts, thereby reducing odors in the manufacturing environment and in key end-use markets, including furniture, bedding and automotive. In automotive interiors, VORANOL VORACTIV polyols are also known to help reduce windshield fogging, polycarbonate degradation and PVC staining.
Dow’s VORANOL VORACTIV polyols were specially designed for application in viscoelastic foams, whose use as the upper layer in high mattresses and luxury couches has grown considerably in recent years. Dow is developing industry-leading solutions for superior performance memory foam. VORANOL VORACTIV polyols reduce the consumption of amines and eliminate production steps and reduce production costs in the manufacture of viscoelastic foam. Viscoelastic foams offer numerous performance benefits, including their ability to conform to body shape, provide customized resilience and demonstrate excellent load bearing properties.
Natural oil-based polyols
Dow continues to make significant progress in the development of natural oil-based polyols that can be used in lieu of a significant percentage of hydrocarbon-based polyols in urethane formulations. This development, being tested mainly for flexible polyol products first, allows natural oils to be selectively modified, impacting final urethane product performance. So far, production success has been achieved at the lab and pilot-plant scale and key product properties have been matched with formulations incorporating at least 35% soy monomer. Trials are underway with select customers as the product advances in its developmental and testing phase. The exploration of natural oil-based polyols is part of Dow’s efforts to offer products with greater economic stability and environmental sustainability.
We have recently introduced our new product, VORANOL WR 2000 Mannich polyols used in spray foam for roofing and construction. This Mannich-based polyether polyol offers the lowest viscosity in the industry, allowing easier processing and faster spray. It also provides good compression strength and dimensional stability, in addition to increased environmental benefits through reduced blowing agent use.
Dow offers a wide range of polyether polyols and pure, modified and polymeric MDI, specialty prepolymers and polyurethane dispersions for use in formulating coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers (CASE). As the dynamic CASE market undergoes rapid changes in performance and environmental requirements, Dow’s polyurethanes chemistry and systems formulation expertise brings about technologically innovative changes to meet the evolving performance needs of customers in a range of applications. Dow has developed products and application technologies that address the specific performance requirements of customers, while keeping with the highest quality and EH&S standards.
Dow Polyurethanes product offerings to the CASE market include:
Dow Thermoset Systems also manufactures and markets custom formulated offerings for the CASE market, including its VORAMER™ and VORASTAR™ products.
Dow Thermoset Systems:
In addition to its role as a global leader in polymer chemistry and a major producer of intermediates for polyurethanes (isocyanates and polyols), our Thermoset Systems business aims at positioning Dow as a polyurethane “solution supplier” with a full formulation package of chemicals to satisfy the needs of a large customer base with the knowledge of chemistry that produces end-use products utilizing PU polymer functionality.
Dow manufactures and markets custom formulated rigid and semi-rigid, flexible, integral skin, and microcellular polyurethane foams and systems, as well as elastomers, coatings, adhesives and binders to meet specific application requirements. In the Thermoset Systems business, systems are developed, produced and supplied to meet present or future market requirements and are tailored according to the specific needs of each individual customer.
Dow Thermoset Systems produces and commercializes these foams, elastomers and binders that become part of major industries such as construction, automotive, footwear and furniture. Dow's R&D laboratories are fully equipped with molding units capable of simulating the operating conditions of the customers' plant and testing the molded parts. Laboratories are also equipped to measure all physical and mechanical properties and the overall compliance with end-use product specifications. Constant efforts are carried out to develop systems and applications with higher durability, increased productivity and new recycling options.
Among the custom polyurethane systems Dow produces are the following:
Breadth of Product Offering
Dow is the world’s largest producer of polyether polyols, a leading producer of quality aromatic isocyanates (MDI and TDI), and a major supplier of propylene oxide, an essential component of polyether polyols.
Global Production Facilities
Global demand for polyurethanes in both traditional market segments and in new applications continues to grow. Looking historically, from 1994-2004, global polyurethanes growth (MDI, TDI and Polyols) has generally been about 2X GDP, or about 6%. As the use of polyurethanes increases with its current applications and moves into additional applications, we expect global growth to remain strong. PU demand has also been influenced by global economic growth. Growth in emerging economies, such as Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific, particularly China, has fueled demand for PU raw materials.
To meet this growing customer demand, the Dow Polyurethanes business operates 23 plants in 17 countries worldwide. In addition, Dow Thermoset Systems operates 25 locations, with 14 production facilities and 11 service centers strategically located throughout the world. Dow Thermoset Systems consists of a global network of “Systems House” units that enable a localized, value-added, service-intensive model.
Dow has annual PU and systems sales of over 4 billion pounds globally, which encompasses all essential raw materials for polyurethanes, including polyols, methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), and toluene diisocyanate (TDI). The combined sales revenue for Dow’s Polyurethanes and Thermoset Systems businesses exceeds US $3 billion.
Dow’s Polyurethanes and Thermoset Systems business is committed to providing quality products and services while protecting the environment as well as the health and safety of those who make and use its products. One key theme that prevails in the business is Dow’s continued focus on sustainable development. Dow offers one of the industry’s broadest product lines for companies concerned with sustainability. Sustainability is a way of business at Dow. To ensure the safe handling, use, storage and disposal of its products, Dow maintains an ongoing product stewardship program that includes technical services, research and development assistance and easy access to Material Safety Data Sheets. For further information, visit www.dowpolyurethanes.com or www.polyurethanesystems.com
About The Dow Chemical Company
Dow is a leader in science and technology, providing innovative chemical, plastic and agricultural products and services to many essential consumer markets. With annual sales of $40 billion, Dow serves customers in 175 countries and a wide range of markets that are vital to human progress: food, transportation, health and medicine, personal and home care, and building and construction, among others. Committed to the principles of sustainable development, Dow and its 43,000 employees seek to balance economic, environmental and social responsibilities.
References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted.
For more information, visit www.dowpolyurethanes.com.
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