Bayer MaterialScience is exhibiting a host high-end developments, including microcellular, rigid polyurethane foam based on the Baytherm Microcell system. The lightweight material is used in the solar aircraft 'Solar Impulse' to insulate the cabin against icy or hot conditions. The group claims that refrigeration equipment manufacturers are also now showing interest in the product.
The long-standing joint collaboration between Bayer MaterialScience, the CAT Catalytic Center of RWTH Aachen University and the utility company RWE, known as “Dream Production”, has also made advances which are being featured at the show.
Since the last K, a pilot plant in Leverkusen (pictured) has begun producing polyols, a component of flexible polyurethane foam, from CO2 with the help of a special catalyst. Production was recently switched from batch to continuous mode.
Polyols manufactured from CO2 are expected to hit the market in 2015 and will initially be used in mattress production. They could later also be used for the production of thermoplastic polyurethanes and then coatings and fibres. “Bayer is using the greenhouse gas CO2 to support a safe supply of raw materials,” said Thomas.
In the healthcare sector, the HAL exoskeleton from Cyberdyne is being used successfully in rehabilitation applications. It is also being used in Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Bayer MaterialScience is collaborating with Cyberdyne and its founder and CEO, Prof. Yoshiyuki Sankai, in the development of high-tech materials. Both companies are looking for additional potential applications for the robot suits and last year conducted an international design competition. Many promising developments by various designers demonstrate that there may be opportunities for the technology in areas besides health and caregiving applications, such as sports and recreation and physical labour.