Mexico City — For Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Mexico is part of a global product launch for the eyewear market. The firm also is seeing strong Mexican sales in automotive and footwear.
A new grade of Estane-brand thermoplastic polyurethane — Estane VSN 9000 — now is available for stems and frames for eyeglasses. The material is “self-healing” and can remove scratches made during production or shipping, technical service manager Sat Nistala said March 8 at Plastimagen 2016 in Mexico City.
Scratches disappear in less than a minute when placed in water heated to 90 degrees Celsius, Nistala added. The technology used in the new material is similar to how human skin reforms, he said.
In the Mexican automotive market, Lubrizol TPUs “are all over the car — from coatings to under-hood to tubes,” according to account manager Talia Galvez. “Auto is huge right now for Mexico.”
TPUs offer high chemical and heat resistance in a variety of auto parts. Footwear “is also big,” Galvez added, with wire and cable, mining and medical devices also providing growth opportunities in Mexico for Wickliffe, Ohio-based Lubrizol.
Lubrizol's growth in catheters and other medical devices has been due in part to its 2014 acquisition of Franklin, Wis.-based Vesta Inc., a maker of catheters and tubing based on silicone and thermoplastics.
The Brazilian plastics market has been challenged by recent economic turmoil there, but Lubrizol's TPU sales in that country are expected to remain flat, according to Latin America business manager Alexandre Prado.
The auto market in Brazil is more mature than that of Mexico, but Lubrizol still has Brazilian growth opportunities for TPU in cable applications and in film, Prado said at Plastimagen. Cable used in the mining sector could provide new applications, he added.
Lubrizol Advanced Materials ranks as one of North America's 30 largest compounders and concentrate makers. Parent firm Lubrizol Corp. employs 8,000 worldwide and has annual sales of around $7 billion.