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BASF says it has improved the process for manufacturing Lupranol (polyether polyol) so car components which are made of its polyurethane systems emit an average of 20% less aldehyde.

This allows automotive suppliers which manufacture acoustic parts, seats, steering wheels or back-foam instrument panels and doors for example, to meet increasing requirements for lower emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds in vehicle interiors.

Following the process change at BASF’s Asian production sites at the beginning of 2017, the modification is now being made in Europe and will take place in the US plants during the course of this year. Alongside isocyanate, polyol is the starting product for polyurethane foam systems.

The emissions have been optimised by improving the cleaning and finishing processes of Lupranol in such a way the mechanical properties of the material remain unchanged during the following foam and processing steps.

This means the currently-used Lupranol grades can be exchanged immediately, eliminating the need for elaborate tests or renewed approvals of the PU systems which are based on these improved polyol grades.

BASF markets the PU systems for flexible, semi-rigid and integral foams under the trademarks Elastoflex W, Elastoflex E and Elastofoam I.

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Completed parts made of BASF PU systems are tested internally as well as by certified test laboratories such as Imat-Uve and Institut Fresenius.

The improvement of the emission values varies from part to part: An average reduction of 20% is possible, maintains BASF, measured according to commonly accepted chamber test methods such as VDA276 and BMW GS 97014-3.