A cool twist: Polyurethane gel, comfort with a cool touch
The NA Polyurethane raw materials slab foam team put the fundamentals of chemistry to the test — and the result was a cool twist on an age old product.
The NA Polyurethane raw materials business unit in Wyandotte, MI, used creativity, collaboration and an entrepreneurial spirit to improve on a commodity product, and they did so with a twist. The team recently launched a new cool touch gel product for the furniture and bedding market called Elastopan 5291T Gel. The new gel can be used in the manufacture of bedding products such as the foam inside of bedding mattresses and pillow toppers.
And the twist? By creating a gel with a non-phthalate plasticizer, the product has a novel visual and contact quality in the foam. Simply put, polyurethane chemistry can create a “color swirl” that makes the end use foam product visually identifiable from the competition, as well as notably cooler to the touch.
Gels also contribute an innovative foaming option in High Resiliency and Viscoelastic Memory foams that offer two significant benefits for the bedding consumer: They can improve pressure relief and comfort, while providing a cool touch. The new gel provides increased relief for bedding consumers, helping to make bedding products more comfortable by decreasing the number of pressure points in the range of 5 to 25 percent.
New business opportunities for the gel are expected to create growth of up to 10 percent, according to the NA team.
“The mattress industry is creating innovations in bedding every day,” said Ted Smiecinski, BASF Senior Technical Service Specialist. Automotive seating, home furnishings and medical bedding are just some of the areas targeted for growth with the new gel. “Our main priority is to comfort engineer improvements so that our foam customers can promote a good night’s sleep, and exceed consumer expectations.”
The team is focused on a bio-based gel as the next generation product, as well as collaboration with BASF colleagues in Asia Pacific to bring our customers and consumers around the world a more sustainable option for foam applications. On the heels of BASF’s new strategy “We create chemistry” the cool touch gel project is another example of how at BASF, we are innovating to make our customers more successful. “Our team of technical experts and sales worked together to identify an unmet need in the marketplace, create a novel solution and deliver it to our customers and ultimately the consumer,” said John Maloney, Business Director for BASF Polyurethane Raw Materials. “It’s an exciting solution for all of us.”