2 März 2006

Cargill: New, soy-based foam for use in upholstered furniture

A new, non-petroleum based flexible foam for use in upholstered furniture, bedding and specialty bed products will be available this spring from supplier Hickory Springs, using materials from Cargill.

The new foam, as yet unnamed, is based on polyols made with a proprietary process that uses such natural oils as linseed, rapeseed, soy and sunflower. Cargill, based here, several years ago launched Ingeo, a fiber for fabrics and floor coverings from renewable sources. Cargill also offers fiberfill made from corn.

Hickory Springs said it expects to announce in April the furniture and bedding companies that will market the first products using the new foam. “This new line of polyurethane foam products made with bio-based polyols is not only more environmentally responsible, it also brings performance improvements,” said Dimitri Dounis, corporate director of marketing and research and development at Hickory Springs.

All of the performance tests haven’t been completed, he said, “but there already are differentiated pluses. We see this as truly revolutionary — having feed stock from raw materials, not petroleum.”

Price is comparable to current urethane foams, “and this is a premium product,” said Dounis. He expects makers of bed pillows to use the new foam.

Cargill said it has the capacity to handle large volumes domestically for several years, and is preparing to expand global capabilities. Yusaf Wazirzada, Cargill’s business manager for bio-based urethane polyols, said the company has worked with major urethane players, “coupling their capabilities with our expertise in agricultural resources.”

(Cf. news of Oct. 26, 2005.)

Source: Furniture Today March 01, 2006.

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