Spanish polyurethanes maker Merquinsa Mercados Químicos SL launched seven new grades of thermoplastic PU at K 2004.
The grades cover the Barcelona-based firm's Pearlthane brand, which is aimed at injection molding and extrusion, and Pearlcoat brand, used for calendering, said elastomers business manager Jean-Marc Galvez.
The new Pearlthane products incorporate polycaprolactone technology, which allows for faster cycling time when molding components for athletic shoes, sporting goods and auto parts, Galvez said Oct. 25 in Dusseldorf. Pearlthane also improves high-heat performance in blown film.
``We're making a concentrated effort to go into the film and sheet market with these new grades,'' he said.
Also in 2005, Merquinsa will commercialize its first halogen-free, flame-retardant TPUs developed through a partnership with leading North American compounder PolyOne Corp. of Avon Lake, Ohio. Those products can be produced at PolyOne plants in Spain, China and Singapore.
Merquinsa is debottlenecking its sole production site, in Barcelona, which should achieve its full production capacity of 44 million pounds by year-end, said General Manager Albert Adroer. The firm is to add 13 million to 15 million pounds of capacity by 2006, but then will have to look for a second site. Adroer said Merquinsa is considering sites in Spain and China, but officials will not decide on the location until after 2006.
Currently, less than half of Merquinsa's annual sales - estimated at $50 million - are in elastomer-type TPUs, which are used in standard plastic applications. Most of the firm's TPU business is in the adhesives market, but elastomer TPUs have seen strong growth, particularly in North America, which accounts for 30 percent of Merquinsa's elastomer TPU sales.
Merquinsa, founded in 1964, originally made PVC and acrylic resins, but switched to adhesive TPUs in the mid-1980s. Elastomer TPUs were added to the product mix in 1996.