UTECH celebrates 75 years of global polyurethanes industry

UTECH celebrates 75 years…
75 years after Prof. Otto Bayer’s initial patent marking the advent of polyurethanes chemistry in 1937, the organisers of UTECH Europe 2012 taking place in Maastricht, The Netherlands 17-19 April, have announced the full speaker programme for the three-day conference and confirmed that the accompanying exhibition will be the biggest ever staged. Anyone wishing to book a place at the conference or register for the free-to-attend exhibition can now do so online at www.utecheurope.eu.

Often described as the hidden polymer, polyurethanes are ever more widely used throughout manufacturing and construction industries today. Applications are as diverse as automotive, aerospace, building and construction, furniture and bedding, electrical and electro-technical, footwear and textiles, mining and offshore, pipes and pipelines, refrigeration and insulation as well as specialist surgical and medical.

The UTECH Europe 2012 exhibition and conference offers materials specialists from across all these industries the perfect opportunity to see global advancements in polyurethane technology including all the latest products and machines. Among more than 100 exhibitors are industry leaders Bayer, BASF, Huntsman, BorsodChem, Wanhua, Shell, Repsol, Baule, Dow, Silcart and Evonik as well as systems houses, technical consultancies, and test laboratories.

“Interest from exhibitors has been so strong that we have just had to extend the exhibition space to cater for increased demand and this too is selling fast,” said Sue Rothwell, Business Development Director at Crain Communications, organisers of UTECH Europe. “This is set to be our most successful event ever.”

Opening the UTECH Europe three-day conference will be a keynote presentation from Ding Jiansheng, Chairman of Yantai Wanhua Polyurethanes Co Ltd, China, leading into a Plenary Session focused on celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the invention of polyurethanes chemistry. Six further presentations look back over the history of the industry and assess its prospects for the future. Experts will discuss the development of the key raw materials and processing equipment used to make these versatile materials.

In the afternoon of the first day two papers look at the development of and prospects for the global markets amid the current turmoil in the world’s leading economies, including a special report on the development of the polyurethanes industry in Indonesia. This is followed by an Innovations session, with eight papers detailing recent work from the world’s leading suppliers. The parallel session in the afternoon comprises 10 papers looking at the latest advances in “Green” chemistry, raw materials based on renewable resources.

The main technical conference continues through to 19 April, in a series of half-day sessions focused on the key technical developments in the use of polyurethanes to make rigid and flexible foams, and CASE products (coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers), with a separate session on the final day discussing more scientific approaches to the production of PU-based products.

In addition to the technical programme, there will be separate sessions created by ISOPA (the European Diisocyanate and Polyols Producers Association) and the Polyurea Development Association Europe. The first of these, in the afternoon of the second day of the conference, will address key safety, health and environmental issues including an overview of the latest life-cycle analysis work on rigid PU foams and details of the latest US legislation, Chemical Action Plans, and their likely impact on the industry.

“In the 75th Year of Polyurethane, which is also the 25th anniversary of ISOPA, the visibility of this ‘hidden’ polymer still has to be increased,” said Dr. Frank Wolfram, ISOPA’s Secretary General. “ISOPA will have a strong presence at UTECH Europe 2012 and we look forward to seeing everyone in Maastricht.”

“Our keynote speaker will be the ISOPA president Steven English and the ISOPA stand will convey two key messages, which are both part of the special ISOPA session,” Wolfram continued. “These are the launch of our new Product Stewardship program Walk the Talk 2nd generation focusing on the requirements of REACH and an update of the new Polyurethane Passive House Project in Brussels, which positions Polyurethane as the high performing and sustainable insulation material contributing to reduce Europe’s CO² emissions.”

In the second special session, on the morning of the final day of the conference, 19 April, the latest commercial and technical developments relating to the fast-growing polyureas market will be discussed.

Last time the event was held in 2009 visitors came from more than 85 different countries worldwide. In 2012, thousands are expected to travel to Maastricht for all the latest information on polyurethane technology from isocyanates, polyester polyols, polyether polyols, formulated systems and ancillary chemicals, as well as surfactants, catalysts and flame retardants. Manufacturing technology innovations unveiled at the exhibition will include the latest cutting equipment and machinery for making flexible foams, rigid foams, elastomers, reaction injection moulding and test equipment.

Anyone wishing to attend the paid-for UTECH Europe conference and the free-to-attend exhibition can now register online at www.utecheurope.eu A wealth of travel and accommodation information is also available on the event website.