Europe’s Largest Event for Technical Foam Innovation and Technology
Foam Expo Europe covers all types of foam and raw materials used in the manufacture of foam and foam-related products, including moulded, rigid and flexible foams using materials ranging from urethanes to elastomeric materials such as rubber and PVC, as well as manufacturing machinery and foam service providers. The event offers a single marketplace for foam manufacturers to meet with potential buyers and their supply chain.
The event, taking place 09 – 11 November, 2021, in Stuttgart will offer synergies for applications across the automotive, aviation, construction, and sports and leisure industries, establishing a superior range of opportunities for key application industries seeking to utilise advanced materials and technology.
In January 2022, it’s that time again. The Association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes e.V. (FSK) will be holding its industry event – the International Specialist Conference Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes – from January 26 to 27, 2022. Due to the Corona pandemic, the FSK specialist conference in 2020 had to be cancelled and could not take place in 2021 either. Therefore, the FSK will hold its industry event next year not in autumn as usual, but already in January 2022. With innovations, presentations, contacts and trends, the trade association offers a platform for knowledge exchange and networking, this year in Dortmund. Innovative lectures by industry experts and the traditional evening event will shape this year’s FSK specialist conference. The event will be rounded off by a highly interesting factory tour at ATLAS Schuhfabrik GmbH & Co.KG in Dortmund.
In August 2020, the EU decided to restrict diisocyanates. Accordingly, in the future, all diisocyanate users must be trained in the safe handling of the chemical. In this interview, FSK Managing Director Klaus Junginger explains this new regulation’s impact on the industry.
The restriction of diisocyanates under the EU REACH regulation, published in the EU Official Journal, introduces new minimum training requirements for employees handling diisocyanates and mixtures containing diisocyanates.
In August, the EU Commission finally published the restriction of diisocyanates in the Official Journal of the EU. According to this, qualified training in the handling of diisocyanates along the entire value chain in the PU industry will be mandatory in the future. The restriction regulates the placing on the market and handling of diisocyanates as independent substances, as a component of substances or in mixtures. Diisocyanates for industrial and commercial purposes are regulated at concentrations of more than 0.1 % by weight. The restriction provides for a transitional period until August 24, 2023. After this date, the training courses will become mandatory throughout Europe.
Content of the regulation
Specifically, the restriction regulates the following:
the minimum training requirements for industrial and commercial users of diisocyanates (stricter national regulations of the Member States are not affected),
the provision of training material in the official languages of the Member States by the respective diisocyanate suppliers,
the obligation to include information on training requirements already on the packaging by suppliers of diisocyanates,
the obligation of employers or self-employed persons to document the successful completion of the training,
updating the required training every five years,
the obligation for the Member States to report on the progress and effects of the restriction.
Application and restriction of diisocyanates in practice
Typical cases of handling diisocyanates are processing, spraying, various application types, post-treatment, cleaning, and waste handling. As part of the promotion of occupational health and safety when handling chemicals such as diisocyanates, the European REACH regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals) allows the manufacture, placing on the market or use of a potentially hazardous substance to be restricted or prohibited to protect human health and the environment. For diisocyanates, this restriction means that all employees who come into direct contact with the substances must be both informed and trained to manage the risks involved in handling the substances. Otherwise, handling is not permitted.
Industry collaboration for optimal employee protection:
The entire diisocyanates industry – from manufacturers, formulators/system houses, and machine manufacturers to processors – were involved in the process from the very beginning through their interest groups. National and European associations have worked closely together to compile and make relevant data and information available to the authorities. The development of a comprehensive package of training materials for the industrial and commercial value chain is imminent. The Specialist Association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes (FSK e.V.) is actively involved in this process at the European level with its processors’ specialist knowledge. Klaus Junginger, Managing Director of the FSK, sees an online platform’s development as the right and appropriate solution from his many years of experience. Last but not least, to ensure a consistently high level of training throughout Europe: “We are pleased to be involved in the successful implementation of the restriction and started developing training material several years ago. We understand qualified personnel as the key to every successful company. The continuous improvement of employee protection is, therefore, in the interest of our members. We, therefore, support the restriction proposal to the best of our ability and drive the implementation forward with our knowledge and expertise”.
The EU reach restriction procedure for diisocyanates was initiated by the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), which submitted a restriction proposal to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in 2016. Within the framework of the European restriction procedure for substances, ECHA determined that mandatory training is the most appropriate, safest, and effective EU-wide risk management measure to reduce occupational asthma among employees exposed to diisocyanates. ECHA submitted the relevant restriction proposal to the Commission.
The FSK e.V. and its polyurethane processing members:
The Specialist Association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes e.V. (FSK), is an association of the plastics processing industry. It represents the interests of plastics processing companies at the national and the European level. Among its members are also manufacturers and processors from the polyurethane material sector. Together with polyols, diisocyanates are the essential building blocks of polyurethanes. It can be either rigid or flexible and offers various end-user applications such as insulation (of buildings, refrigerators, and freezers), adhesives, coatings, car parts, sportswear, beds, and furniture.
Further information on the Specialist Association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes e.V. (FSK), its members, materials, and products can be found at : www.fsk-vsv.de or by phone: + 49 (0) 711 993 751- 0.
The Restriction on diisocyanates under the EU’s REACH Regulation published today in the EU Official Journal introduces new minimum training requirements for workers handling diisocyanates and mixtures containing diisocyanates. ISOPA/ALIPA and their member companies welcome the Restriction which is an important step to enhance and harmonise the level of protection of workers using diisocyanates across the EU. The Restriction will apply from 24 August 2023 after a transition period of three years, and ISOPA/ALIPA together with other industry-associations are developing a comprehensive package of training materials for the industrial and professional value chains.
Brussel, 04.08.2020 – The EU REACH Restriction process for diisocyanates started in 2016 when the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) submitted a proposal to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). ECHA delivered its opinion to the European Commission in 2018 on the measure, finding that mandatory training is the most appropriate, protective and effective EU-wide risk management measure  to reduce occupational asthma cases among workers who deal with diisocyanates.
The Industry agrees with ECHA’s assessment that the Restriction is the most effective and efficient measure to enhance occupational health and safety. Jörg Palmersheim, Secretary General for ISOPA/ALIPA, said: “The Restriction is the culmination of years of constructive cooperation between the diisocyanates value-chains and the European REACH Authorities. It raises the bar for how we can work together to enhance protection of workers and ensure the use of best practices across the EU in terms of health and safety. We now look forward to ensure the successful implementation of the Restriction together with the downstream users and Member States.”
The Restriction establishes requirements for the use and placing on the market of diisocyanates as substances on their own, as a constituent in other substances or in mixtures for industrial and professional use(s) in concentrations above 0,1% by weight. Specifically, the Restriction establishes:
Minimum requirements for training to be provided to industrial and professional users without prejudice to stricter national obligations in the Member States.
Requirements for diisocyanate suppliers to provide training materials in the official language(s) of the Member State(s) where they supply the substance(s) or mixture(s);
Obligation to include information on training requirements on the packaging by suppliers of diisocyanates;
Mandatory documentation by the employer or self-employed of the successful completion of the training which must be renewed at least every five years.
Obligation for Member States to report on progress and impact of the Restriction.
ISOPA/ALIPA and its members are committed to working with stakeholders and authorities to make available the training and courses across the EU in all Member State languages.
The diisocyanates industry’s work moving forward
The Restriction provides a transition period of three years from its entry into force for compliance with the requirements.
ISOPA/ALIPA is already working together with other industry-associations on an online training material platform. The platform will provide the different levels of training required based on the risk categorization of the tasks that diisocyanate workers perform.
We will share regular updates with guidance and on the availability of training moving forward. If you want to receive further updates you can register here.
About the EU’s REACH Regulation and Restriction
The EU Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) aims at improving the protection of human health and the environment from potential risks from chemical substances; whilst ensuring the EU chemicals industry’s global competitiveness is maintained.
About the uses of diisocyanates
REACH Restriction may limit or ban the manufacture, placing on the market, or use of a substance to protect human health and the environment. For diisocyanates, the Restriction entails that all workers who interact directly with the substances are both informed and trained in order to manage any risks associated with handling the substances otherwise the use is restricted. Typical uses of diisocyanates are handling, spraying, different types of application, post treatment, cleaning and handling of waste.
About diisocyanates and polyurethanes
Together with polyols, diisocyanates are the essential building blocks of polyurethanes, a plastic material used in a multitude of everyday objects and applications. It can be tailored to be either rigid or flexible, and it is the material of choice for a broad range of end-user applications such as insulation (of buildings, refrigerators and freezers), adhesives, coatings, automotive parts, sportswear, bedding and furniture.
About ISOPA and ALIPA
ISOPA and ALIPA represent major European manufacturers of aromatic diisocyanates, polyols and aliphatic isocyanates, the main raw materials used to make polyurethanes.
More information on diisocyanates, their applications and ISOPA’s and ALIPA’s product stewardship initiatives can be found on our websites: www.isopa.org, www.alipa.org
The press release also available on ISOPA’s website.
Like the rest of our society, the diisocyantes value-chain have been strongly affected by the health and economic crisis triggered by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Despite many challenges, the crisis has also shown the potential for cooperation and innovation in the face of a common problem.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have seen many stories about how production lines were adapted to making personal protective equipment from polyurethanes. We’re proud of the role that the industry can play in supporting those in society who are most at risk.
As many countries across Europe slowly emerge from lockdown, the major question will be the economic recovery. In this context of the EU’s recovery plans, it is positive that the European Commission clearly acknowledges the chemicals industry as a strategic sector. At the same time, initiatives like the Renovation Wave could provide new growth opportunities.
However, the success of any of these initiatives depends on keeping the pandemic under control.
So, please stay safe and take care.
– Jörg Palmersheim
REACH Restriction on Diisocyanates still to be published in EU Official Journal
The EU adoption of the Restriction on diisocyanates under the REACH Regulation is in its final stages after a clerical error has caused some delay. The Restriction introduces new minimum training requirements for workers handling diisocyanates and mixtures containing diisocyanates.
After the start of the three months scrutiny period by the European Parliament and the Council of the amendment to the REACH Regulation, an error was discovered in the legal text with regards to the labelling requirement in point (b) of paragraph2 of the Annex. The previous wording seemed to indicate that only industrial and professional uses of diisocyanates are allowed.
It was originally indicated that a re-vote might take place in the REACH Committee, but the European Commission instead sent a letter to the Member States and the European Parliament explaining that a linguistic change would be made. The revised draft amendment (annex) including the change was sent to the Council and the European Parliament on 25 May 2020.
As no concerns have been raised in either the European Parliament or the Council of the EU, the next step is the formal adoption by the European Commission and the subsequent publication of the amendment to the REACH Regulation in the EU Official Journal.
Given the delays, it is expected that the publication of the amendment could be delay to early September 2020.
EU Green Recovery and Renovation Wave could provide new opportunities for the diisocyanates value-chain
The European Commission presented on 27 May the Recovery Plan for Europe, Next Generation EU, to support the EU’s economic recovery after the Covid-19 crisis.
The plan sets out the way forward for establishing and financing a €750 billion recovery instrument which will be used to support Member States, companies and for doubling the capacity of InvestEU.
The European Commission have followed the calls for a ‘Green Recovery’ by asserting that the European Green Deal will be the EU’s Growth Strategy and all public investments in the recovery should respect the green oath to “do no harm”.
In this respect, the upcoming Renovation Wave is a flagship initiative which together with the reinforced sustainable infrastructure window in InvestEU, aims to at least double the annual renovation rate of existing building stock.
The renovation wave is a part of the drive to achieve a more sustainable built environment which is seen as essential for Europe’s transition towards climate-neutrality. New measures are also expected to address the sustainability of construction products and improve the energy efficiency and environmental performance of built assets in line with circular economy principles.
All these developments could impact the diisocyanates value-chain. The renovation wave could drive demand for polyurethane construction materials, like insultation, with the focus on improving energy efficiency of buildings. At the same time, the circular economy in combination with the chemicals strategy for sustainability could entail new requirements for products both upstream and downstream.
It will be key to strike the right balance to ensure that the industry can provide the solutions to support the green recovery in Europe.
ISOPA co-signs letter drafted by CEFIC calling on the Commission not to re-open REACH
The European Chemical Industry Council has drafted a letter, co-signed by ISOPA, to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, regarding the possibility of the re-opening of REACH under the Chemicals strategy for sustainability.
The letter emphasises, that while the industry stands in support of the European Green Deal, Europe has the most comprehensive regulatory framework for chemicals in the world, as the Commission itself recognises. REACH, at the core of the system should be an anchor in the current uncertain environment, to ensure Europe’s strategic autonomy.
The signatories recognise, that the current Regulation is complex but after years of development and billions of investments in making REACH work, they call for regulatory predictability to be able to invest in a greener future.
Instead of a messy re-opening of the Regulation, the organisations suggest creating a multi-stakeholder forum to facilitate structured dialogue, which has been proven to work with great success in the past.
In the media: Innovation in the face of the Covid-19 Pandemic
· Media coverage has been focused on the Covid-19 crisis to a great extent and there were many stories about uses of polyurethanes in personal protective equipment, for medical personnel and more. For instance, Nike remodelled its production chain to manufacture face shields and Viessman created a mobile airtight treatment unit for Covid-19 patients, using polyurethane materials.
· Smart and electric mobility is of growing importance, especially in crowded cities, so the Poimo, an inflatable e-bike, is a very promising solution. The bike can be carried in a backpack and is made of polyurethane, making it highly flexible when folded and providing secure shape when inflated.
· Researchers at Northwestern University developed low-cost polyurethane sponges to soak up oil in water. This technology would be especially useful to limit the environmental and biodiversity effects in the event of oil spills.
ISOPA continues activity online
As Belgium and the rest of Europe went into lockdown, ISOPA like most others took steps by moving our meetings to digital format and minimising travel until further notice. These policies remain in place and ISOPA will keep stakeholders informed on changes to these policies.
Polyurethanes.org to be relaunched
ISOPA is finalising the relaunch of polyurethanes.org to give the website an updated design to better present the solutions and benefits that polyurethanes bring to society. The website will be updated regularly with new information and stories about polyurethanes.
ISOPA updating E-book and website on REACH Restriction
To successfully implement the Restriction, the first step is the development of high-quality training materials. ISOPA and ALIPA will be presenting the e-book ‘A guide to the Restriction applying to diisocyanates’ this summer, along with an update of the Safe Use of Diisocyanates website.
Product Stewardship activities
The guidelines for safe loading/unloading, transportation and storage of TDI/MDI in bulk have been translated in FR/DE/ES/NL.
Conversio, a consultancy based in Germany, has conducted a study “PU Waste Generation and Waste Management in Europe – Volumes, Waste Streams, Actors along the Value Chain and Conditions”. This is the first study of this kind and is available from ISOPA against a license fee.
New ISOPA socio-economic study
ISOPA socio-economic study on jobs, enterprises and value creation in the European polyurethane industry also now available on request.
The corona pandemic also forces the Association of Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes (FSK) to cancel the majority of its planned events for 2020. This also applies to the annual International Conference Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes 2020, which also includes the General Meeting and the presentation of the FSK Innovation Award 2020.
Stuttgart, 18 June 2020 – The global outbreak of the corona virus (COVID-19) has been bothering us for months now. In private, social and economic life, adjustments and enormous sacrifices have to be made due to the current conditions. New hygiene regulations, distance regulations, the restriction of social contacts and the regulations on events affect everyone, including the FSK. Safety and health are top priorities for the FSK. Due to the increasing number of infections, the uncertain future situation and with regard to the health of its members, friends and patrons, the FSK is therefore cancelling most of the events planned for 2020. Most of the events will be postponed until next year, some unfortunately have to be cancelled completely. This includes the annual International FSK Specialist Conference Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes 2020, which was planned with interesting presentations from the world of foam plastics and polyurethanes and the traditional framework programe for 25 and 26 November 2020 in Dortmund. The trade association very much regrets the cancellation of the event. “It is a great pity that we cannot hold our International FSK Special Conference this year. The event offers members and interested parties an annual platform for knowledge transfer and networking. In addition to the exciting specialist presentations on topics from the materials areas of foam plastics and polyurethanes, the framework programe offers the opportunity to make contacts and exchange ideas in a relaxed atmosphere. We are already hoping that the situation will soon improve and that we will be able to hold another great symposium with all the trimmings in 2021,” says Klaus Junginger, managing director of FSK e.V.
An important part of the FSK symposium is the annual presentation of the FSK Innovation Award for Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes. This is traditionally awarded in a festive setting at the symposium. Here, young professionals and companies in the industry have the opportunity to submit innovations from the fields of foam plastics and polyurethanes in the categories “Design and Design” and “Technology/Process and Chemical Engineering” and to convince the jury of their projects. Due to the lack of planning security this year, the invitation to tender and awarding of the FSK Innovation Prize 2020 will be dropped. 2021 will again be the opportunity for interested parties to apply for the Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes Innovation Prize.
As a prelude to the symposium, the professional association holds its annual general meeting. Due to the pandemic, the Annual General Meeting will not take place as usual this year. The FSK informs its members separately about this.
Further information on the events of the FSK e.V. can be found at www.fsk-vsv.de or by calling 0711 993 7510.
The Specialist Association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes e.V. (FSK) invites to the anniversary meeting on 13.05.2020 in the research centre Deutsche Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY in Hamburg in view of the 25th anniversary of its largest specialist group.
On May 13, the specialist association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes e.V. (FSK) invites to Hamburg. The occasion is the anniversary meeting of the specialist group Polyurethanes. The 25th year of active group work in the field of polyurethanes is celebrated. The anniversary meeting offers an exciting specialist day with an introductory barge ride the day before and the get-together the evening before.
At the beginning of the specialist day on May 13, participants can expect a special keynote speech entitled “No chance of success” by Felix Leonhardt, purefood GmbH. His extraordinary fate and his impressive commitment in Africa within the framework of Welthungerhilfe are a worthy prelude to the event. In addition to the anniversary, the focus will be on the presentations by selected industry experts on the subject of polyurethane. Florian Kessler from cellEQ will present an innovation in material analysis at the symposium on the topic “Determination of characteristic values for reactive systems and foams under process conditions”. Under the title “Carbon4PUR – Extending the raw material base with CO2 and CO”, Dr. Liv Adler from Covestro Deutschland AG presents an international project. Christian Hanhart, Dow Anlagengesellschaft mbH Werk Ahlen, will then give a presentation on “Efficiency-increasing load securing with polyurethane”. In addition, participants can look forward to an entertaining contribution that presents the unique history of polyurethane and its rapid development into an indispensable material in a special way. You can find the detailed program of the symposium here: event program.
The presentation of DESY and a guided campus tour will round off the event. The research center DESY – Deutsche Elektronen-Synchrotron is one of the world’s leading accelerator centers. Using large-scale facilities, researchers here explore the microcosm in all its diversity – from the interplay of the smallest elementary particles to the behavior of novel nanomaterials and the vital processes that take place between biomolecules. DESY is not only a magnet for more than 3000 guest researchers from over 40 nations every year, but also a sought-after partner in national and international collaborations.
Registrations are now possible exclusively online via the FSK’s association website: https://www.fsk-vsv.de/veranstaltung. On the FSK website you will also find a detailed programme of events and hotel recommendations for overnight stays. FSK members pay 250 EUR per person, non-members 320 EUR plus VAT. The costs include the participation in the boat trip, the get-together on 12.05.2020 and the symposium itself on 13.05.2020, the conference documentation, the bus transfer and catering during the event.
Further information about the Specialist Association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes e.V. (FSK) and its events as well as the work of the specialist committees is available online at: www.fsk-vsv.de or by telephone: 0711 993 751- 0.
Due to the current situation the professional association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes e.V. (FSK) is postponing its Lightweight PUR specialist day to 24.02.2021 and is continuing the successful series of events next year. Together with its member Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal, the FSK is organizing the industry meeting.
Building on the success of the first four Lightweight PUR Days, the specialist association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes e.V. is organizing (FSK) is organizing the fifth Lightweight PUR specialist day at the Fraunhofer ICT. The FSK’s youngest specialist group and its events enjoy great popularity and are enormously popular. Due to the corona crisis, the trade association has to postpone the Lightweight PUR Conference, which was originally scheduled for April 30, 2020, until 2021. Cooperation partners, the lecture program and the venue remain unchanged. The venue alone and the unique insights into the work of the Fraunhofer-ICT are worth participating in the event. The presentation of the ICT and a tour of its laboratories form the interesting supporting program for the specialist lectures from the lightweight construction industry. The symposium invites to selected expert lectures, discussion and networking. The first specialist presentation “Lightweight construction for commercial vehicle cabins: The BWMI Project HylightCab”, is presented by Florian Wafzig, Fraunhofer ICT, and Oleg Saburow, KIT. The topic “Hot, hotter, Elastocoat® C for pultrusion” is presented by Dr. Julia Liese and Bert Neuhaus from BASF Polyurethanes GmbH. This will be followed by two further technical presentations on lightweight construction with polyurethane. At the end of the lecture block, the active member companies of the Lightweight PUR section will present a cooperation lecture entitled: “PUR systems for lightweight construction – a materials overview”. The FSK will then present its activities and allow time for questions, discussion and feedback.
Registrations are now possible exclusively online via the FSK website: www.fsk-vsv.de. On the FSK website you will also find the detailed programme of events and hotel recommendations for overnight stays. FSK members pay 175.00 EUR per person, non-members 250.00 EUR. Included in the costs are the participation in the evening get-together and the symposium itself on February 24, 2021, the conference documentation and catering during the event.
Further information on the specialist association for foam plastics and polyurethanes e.V. (FSK) and its events as well as the work of the specialist committees can be found online at: www.fsk-vsv.de or by telephone: 0711 993 751- 0.
At its International FSK Conference Polyurethane 2019 on November 13th and 14th in Reutlingen near Stuttgart, the Association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes e.V. (FSK) awarded this year’s FSK Innovation Award Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes in the categories “Technology – Processing and Chemistry” and “Design and Creation” to a total of five award winners, whose award-winning projects are presented below.
For the 21st time, the FSK Innovation Award of the Association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes e.V. (FSK) was presented at its International Conference on Polyurethanes 2019. The awards were presented in a ceremonial act in the city hall in Reutlingen near Stuttgart. The FSK Innovation Award for Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes was announced jointly for the first time in 2019. The award was presented in two categories: “Technology – Processing and Chemistry” and “Design and Creation”. “With the Europe-wide announcement of this annual innovation award, we as a trade association want to motivate, among other things, young professionals to submit innovative ideas, forward-looking concepts and sustainable new developments in the field of foam plastics and polyurethanes,” explains Klaus Junginger, FSK Managing Director. “At the same time, we want to encourage young talent and support cooperation between award winners and industry partners,” he adds. In 2019, a total of 16 projects from individuals and groups from universities and companies were submitted to the trade association within the application deadline. The decision on the award winners was made by a jury of experts selected by the Association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes. In addition to the novelty and innovative strength of the submitted products and solutions, the evaluation criteria were their expected market and competitive strength. Their material-specific implementation and technical feasibility also played an important role. In order to ensure a fair and appropriate assessment and awarding of prizes according to the level of knowledge and experience, the jury members assessed entries from young professionals as well as from specialists, professionals and companies separately. In 2019, the expert jury decided to award a total of five prizes – four of them in the category “Technology – Processing and Chemistry”. Within these, two awards were given to specialists, professionals and companies. The other two in this category went to young professionals in the industry. One prize was awarded in the category “Design and Creation” and with it the young talents of the industry. The Innovation Award was presented by Martin Dietrich, R&D consultant for polyurethanes and materials at Getzner Werkstoffe, specialist for vibration insulation, from Bürs, Austria. Starting with the category “Technology – Processing and Chemistry” in the area of skilled workers, professionals and companies, all five prize winners are briefly introduced below: Wiebke Speckels, Julia Liese and Bert Neuhaus from BASF Polyurethanes were pleased to receive the award for their project “High temperature resistant pultrusion material – Elastocat® C 6226/107”. BASF Polyurethanes has developed a pultrusion material that is suitable for applications with the highest temperature requirements in terms of temperature peaks and mechanical stability over a wide temperature range and has a special physical property profile for special applications. Another award in this category went to Katrin Laumann and Dr. Marc Schürmann from Bomix Chemie. The award went to the submitted concept with the project title “Bondable release agent for steering wheel production”. Bomix Chemie has succeeded in developing a release agent that reduces the cleaning process after foaming and demoulding of the steering wheels to a minimum and often even eliminates it completely. What is innovative about this is that it is a special solution which is also suitable for combination products with IMC. In the category “Technology – Chemistry and Processing” – Young Talent, it is not necessarily an innovation that is already in the marketability stage. Rather, it is about the idea and its potential possibilities. Lukas Knorr, a doctoral student at the Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU) in Erlangen/BMW, was delighted to receive an award in this category. He received the award for his project “Additive production (3D printing) of foams in a 2-component process”. Additive manufacturing technologies enable a decisive acceleration of the product development process. Prototypes and small series can be produced cost-effectively in a wide variety of materials without the need for a shaping tool. In addition, the layered structure allows geometric freedom of design, which is not possible with conventional production methods using ablation or casting processes. The jury of experts assessed this “academic idea” as an innovation, even though it is still unsuitable for prototype construction or series production. Markus Rottmar, Scientific Group Leader at Empa Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, was also honored as a newcomer to the industry. His project “ScarAvoid – A novel 3D foam to treat chronic skin wounds and scar tissue formation” received the award. As a researcher at the Swiss Research Institute for Application-Oriented Materials Science and Technology, he has developed ScarAvoid, a curcumin foam that is highly innovative for the medical technology sector and can be used to treat difficult-to-heal and complex wounds while preventing scarring. Similar products have so far only been concerned with wound healing, but not with preventing scar formation. Only one prize was awarded in the “Design and Creation” category. This was awarded to the newcomers to the industry. Michael Bettati, Product Design Engineer at Dolfinos, received the award for his “Violin rest as an ergonomic interface with high-end polyurethane padding”. The novelty is that unlike all previous violin supports with inferior foam, where the violin player had to adapt to the equipment, a solution was developed here that can be adapted to the needs of the human being. In this project idea, various polyurethane foam formulations were tested in close cooperation with Zelu Chemie and compared with other foams such as XPE 33 and XVA 45. This made it possible to develop a sustainable polyurethane cushion that was as good as new despite being subjected to even high levels of stress for seven consecutive days of six hours each. The decisive optimization of the violin rest in this sustainability concept is achieved through the material properties of the high-end padding. “We are delighted with the diverse and very interesting projects and ideas submitted,” sums up Dietrich: “We are already looking forward to receiving applications for the FSK Innovation Award 2020, which will again be jointly announced for foam plastics and polyurethanes next year and awarded at the FSK’s International Conference on Foamed Plastics 2020”.
FSK Innovation Award Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes 2019 F.l. Martin Dietrich (Getzner Werkstoffe), Markus Rottmar (Empa Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology), Julia Liese und Bert Neuhaus (BASF Polyurethanes), Michael Bettati (Dolfinos AG), Lukas Knorr (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) in Erlangen/BMW), Katrin Laumann und Dr. Marc Schürmann (Bomix Chemie).