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Lubrizol making a bioresin push

By: Frank Esposito

April 16, 2012

ORLANDO, FLA. (April 16, 1:40 p.m. ET) — Bio-based resins are getting a push from Lubrizol Corp.

Wickliffe, Ohio-based Lubrizol is combining its own line of bio-resins with those made by Merquinsa, the Spanish thermoplastic polyurethane maker that Lubrizol acquired late last year. The combined lineup of bio-based TPUs can have renewable content ranging from 20-90 percent. The materials have been tested in the recreation, electronics and transportation industries.

“The acquisition gives us the best of both worlds in one portfolio,” global sports and recreation business director Gert-Jan Nijhuis said at NPE2012. “The bigger [original equipment manufacturers] are really promoting biomaterials.”

At the show, Lubrizol also is launching a new hydrophobic grade of Tecothane-brand soft TPU for medical and health care applications such as neonatal feeding tubes. The material offers strong chemical resistance, said Doug Nalley, North American sales manager for Estane-brand TPU.

New pre-colored grades of Isoplast-brand TPU also are being aimed at the medical market, in white for nonimplantable applications.

In its additive product lines, Lubrizol is promoting products that can increase color strength and filler loading, according to global plastic additives business manager Julie Shlepr.

Nalley declined to comment on anticipated demand growth for TPU, but he said that Lubrizol “wants to outpace the industry and be above the organic growth rate.”

Lubrizol ranks as North America’s largest TPU maker. Last year, the firm — which makes a wide line of specialty chemicals — was sold to financial firm Berkshire Hathaway for $9.7 billion.