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Bayer MaterialScience touts engineering plastics innovations

By: Frank Esposito

June 20, 2013

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY — Bayer AG is looking pretty fit for a 150-year-old firm — as seen by its Bayer MaterialScience unit heading to K 2013 with success stories based on engineering plastics.

"At the K Fair, you'll see what our new dreams are, and we'll share the dreams of our customers," BMS Chairman Patrick Thomas said at a pre-K press event on June 20 in Leverkusen, where the firm is based.

Bayer was founded in 1863 as a dyestuffs factory in Wuppertal. Fifteen decades later, BMS materials are being used on Solar Impulse, a solar-powered aircraft that soon will complete a flight across the U.S. without using a single drop of fuel.

BMS is a partner on the Solar Impulse project. Its rigid polyurethane foam is being used to insulate the cabin against both heat and cold. Thomas described Solar Impulse as "a flying laboratory" for BMS products.

Thomas also disclosed plans for BMS to build a commercial-sale plant making polyurethane and related products from carbon dioxide in Germany by 2015. The plant would have annual capacity of between 10 million and 20 million pounds and "would prove world-scale economics for the process," he said.

BMS also is considering licensing its CO2-to-polymers technology because the process "is too important to keep to yourself," according to Thomas.

Also at K 2013, BMS will extend applications of its materials in the HAL exoskeleton made by Japanese technology firm Cyberdyne. The exoskeleton is being used to help old and infirm people to move without the help of others. It's also being used to protect workers involved in the cleanup of Japan's Fukushima nuclear reactor.

These initiatives are in line with BMS' K 2013 motto of "Sharing Dreams, Sharing Value — Be Part of It." The firm's three key themes of "Safe," "Free" and "Happy" also will be embedded in our K Fair stand, Thomas said.

BMS posted sales of almost $15 billion in 2012. The firm is a major producer of PU, polycarbonate and other specialty plastics. It employs 14,500 and operates 30 production sites worldwide.

K 2013 will be held Oct. 16-23 in Düsseldorf, Germany.