NCFI Polyurethanes is Using Honeywell’s Low-Global Warming Material in Foam Applications

Honeywell announces that NCFI Polyurethanes has began to use Honeywell’s low-global-warming material in foam used in applications ranging from office furniture to molded seat pads to shoe soles.

NCFI is using Honeywell’s Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent (LBA) in its integral skin polyurethane foam systems, also known as I-Skin, to replace hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) blowing agents being phased out by regulations aimed at reducing use of high-global-warming materials. Blowing agents are critical for such applications because they cause the foam to expand properly and significantly impact the foam’s performance and processability.

“We are pleased that NCFI can offer its customers I-Skin foam systems that are HFC-free,” said Sanjeev Rastogi, business director, Honeywell Fluorine Products. “With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandate to discontinue HFCs in I-Skin foam by year-end, NCFI’s adoption of Solstice LBA provides its customers the time required to convert to new systems.”

EPA regulations will ban the use of HFC blowing agents in I-Skin polyurethane foam applications beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Solstice LBA, based on hydrofluoro-olefin, or HFO, technology, is a replacement for three commonly used HFC blowing agents: HFC-245fa, HFC-134a and HFC-365mfc.

Integral skin foam is composed of a two-part polyurethane system: a flexible, lightweight foam core encased in a thick outer “skin” that is created in a single molding process. I-Skin is used in a variety of applications including office furniture, molded seat pads, shoe soles and many other products that require cushioning properties and a durable surface. NCFI is reporting skin quality at a variety of Shore A hardness levels, a critical quality measure.

“Formulating HFC-free I-Skins that meet our performance standards was a major part of our White House-recognized low-GWP commitment,” said Chip Holton, president, NCFI Polyurethanes. “These I-Skins will give us a competitive advantage in markets in which we have a strong presence. NCFI’s internal plan for conversions is ahead of the EPA’s deadlines.”

Coastal Foam Molding is among the NCFI customers who have transitioned to the new I-Skin system. Michael Nash, owner of Coastal Foam Molding, said, “The moldability of the Solstice-blown I-Skin chemistry makes working with it easy. Its consistency and lack of flammability is a plus.”

Air Products continues to innovate and further build out its product platform as Solstice LBA gains adoption. Jane Kniss, senior application chemist for Comfort Platforms, Air Products, said, “Our non-emissive catalysts, such as Polycat 203, are specifically designed to increase shelf stability of Solstice LBA I-Skin systems while providing skins and internal cell structure for various padding applications. We are proud to be assisting manufacturers worldwide like NCFI reduce their GWP footprint, lower VOC emissions, and comply with the impending ban on HFC blowing agents.”

NCFI’s adoption of Solstice LBA demonstrates a commitment that was shared with the Obama Administration during a 20-company roundtable discussion. At that White House event, NCFI was honored for its plans to transition from HFCs to low-global-warming-potential (LGWP) products. Honeywell was also recognized at the event and shared projections on greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the global adoption of its LGWP Solstice products. Adoption of Solstice products has resulted in the reduction of more than 28 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to date, equal to eliminating emissions from more than 5 million cars.

Solstice LBA has a low GWP of 1, which is 99.9 percent lower than HFCs and equal to carbon dioxide. It is nonflammable (ASTM E-681) and is not a volatile organic compound under EPA standards. Solstice LBA is listed under the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program. In Europe, it is not listed in the Annex I of F-Gas regulation and thus not considered an F-Gas. It is also registered under the European Union’s REACH program.

Solstice LBA is used in a variety of rigid foam insulation applications, including residential and commercial refrigeration equipment, spray foam insulation, and insulated metal panels, as well as flexible foam applications such as molded and slabstock foam and integral skin. For more information on Solstice LBA, visit www.honeywell-blowingagents.com.

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