"We are very pleased that NCFI can now offer its customers I-Skin foam systems that are HFC-free, with comparable or better performance," said Sanjeev Rastogi, business director, Honeywell Fluorine Products. "With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandate to discontinue HFCs in I-Skin foam by year-end, NCFI's adoption of Solstice LBA provides its customers the time required to convert to new systems."
EPA regulations will ban the use of HFC blowing agents in I-Skin polyurethane foam applications beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Solstice LBA, based on hydrofluoro-olefin, or HFO, technology, is an ideal replacement for three commonly used HFC blowing agents: HFC-245fa, HFC-134a and HFC-365mfc.
Integral skin foam is composed of a two-part polyurethane system: a flexible, lightweight foam core encased in a thick outer "skin" that is created in a single molding process. I-Skin is used in a wide variety of applications including office furniture, molded seat pads, shoe soles and many other products that require cushioning properties and a durable surface. NCFI is reporting excellent skin quality at a variety of Shore A hardness levels, a critical quality measure.
"Formulating HFC-free I-Skins that meet our high performance standards was a major part of our White House-recognized low-GWP commitment," said Chip Holton, president, NCFI Polyurethanes. "These new I-Skins will give us a real competitive advantage in markets in which we have a strong presence. NCFI's internal plan for conversions is well ahead of the EPA's deadlines."
Coastal Foam Molding is among the NCFI customers who have already transitioned to the new I-Skin system. Michael Nash, owner of Coastal Foam Molding, said, "The moldability and ease of processing of the Solstice-blown I-Skin chemistry makes working with it very easy. Its consistency and lack of flammability is a big plus. This is a home run as far as I am concerned."
Air Products, an industry leader in enabling blowing agent technology transitions, continues to innovate and further build out its product platform as Solstice LBA gains adoption. Jane Kniss, senior application chemist for Comfort Platforms, Air Products, said, "Our non-emissive catalysts, such as Polycat® 203, are specifically designed to increase shelf stability of Solstice LBA I-Skin systems while providing durable skins and fine internal cell structure for various padding applications. We are proud to be assisting manufacturers worldwide like NCFI reduce their GWP footprint, lower VOC emissions, and comply with the impending ban on HFC blowing agents."
NCFI's adoption of Solstice LBA demonstrates a commitment that was shared with the Obama Administration during an exclusive 20-company roundtable discussion last October. At that White House event, NCFI was honored for its proactive plans to transition from HFCs to low-global-warming-potential (LGWP) products. Honeywell was also recognized at the event and shared projections on greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the global adoption of its LGWP Solstice products. Worldwide adoption of Solstice products has resulted in the reduction of more than 27 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to date, equal to eliminating emissions from more than 5 million cars.
Solstice LBA has an ultra-low GWP of 1, which is 99.9 percent lower than HFCs and equal to carbon dioxide. It is nonflammable (ASTM E-681) and is not a volatile organic compound under EPA standards. Solstice LBA is listed under the EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program. In Europe, it is not listed in the Annex I of F-Gas regulation and thus not considered an F-Gas. It is also registered under the European Union's REACH program. Honeywell's Solstice LBA world-scale manufacturing plant in Louisiana started up in May 2014.
Solstice LBA is used in a variety of rigid foam insulation applications, including residential and commercial refrigeration equipment, spray foam insulation, and insulated metal panels, as well as flexible foam applications such as molded and slabstock foam and integral skin. For more information on Solstice LBA, visit www.honeywell-blowingagents.com.
Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes, and industry; turbochargers; and performance materials. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywell.com/newsroom.
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