Spanish materials firm Merquinsa will see its Bio-TPU-brand thermoplastic polyurethanes used in a Ford Motor Co. auto part and a Brooks Sports running shoe next year.
Ford will use the Merquinsa material as a top layer on a console tambour door on its 2011 Lincoln MKZ vehicle. The thermoplastic urethane offers the same performance as a standard TPU while remaining competitive, according to commercial General Manager Jean-Marc Galvez.
The Brooks shoe, which will be available in the spring, is 5 percent lighter as a result of using the thermoplastic urethane in its soles, Galvez added in an interview at K 2010, held Oct. 27 to Nov. 3 in Dusseldorf. The material also is replacing a standard TPU in that application.
Since launching Bio-TPU in 2007, Merquinsa has added more than 11 million pounds of annual capacity for the material at its plant in Barcelona, Spain, where the company is based. Bio-TPU is based on non-food plants, but Galvez did not provide specifics.
Merquinsa is growing in other areas as well, with plans to open a sales office in Guangzhou, China, early next year, and to hire four or five new application-development personnel by the end of 2011.
The firm also has seen recent success with its Pearlthane Silk-brand line of specialty TPUs for the conveyor-belt market. The materials are available in two grades one with a polyester element, and one with a polyether base.