About Industrial Urethanes
Industrial Urethanes is a leading provider of polyurethane expertise and customised solutions to manufacturers throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The company was established in 1983 and is a member of the specialty chemical cluster of the AECI Group that is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Our experienced polyurethane technologists are involved in ongoing material development programmes to tailor products to meet each customer's unique requirements in the automotive, mining, insulation, appliances, construction, flooring, furniture and other major industries. This pool of local expertise is supported by worldwide technology agreements with internationally renowned organisations.
Quality assurance is a critically important feature of the technology package and to this end we have achieved the internationally recognised ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System.
Non-conformances are seen as an opportunity to improve; and customer complaints are an opportunity to impress.
Polyurethanes are frequently encountered in the course of our daily lives. They are used in a multitude of diverse applications from refrigerator insulation, motorcar headrests and construction panels to mattresses and pillows. They may be formulated as rigid foams, flexible foams or solid elastomers.
Our Base Product
Polyurethanes are formed when two chemicals - a diisocyanate such as ‘MDI’ and a blended polyol, are mixed together in the presence of suitable catalysts and activators. The secret of “tailormade” polyurethanes to best suit specific end uses lies in the blending and subtle variations of base chemicals, catalysts and activators.
Rigid polyurethane foams are characterised by their outstanding insulation properties that can be utilised in many different ways. Systems may be poured, injected or sprayed according to the application requirements.
The construction of modern domestic refrigerators and freezers would not be possible without the use of polyurethane foam. While its high insulation efficiency ensures minimal wall thickness, the polyurethane also acts as the structural adhesive to bond the inner and outer skins of the refrigerator during the foaming process. In the construction industry, similar technology is used to produce laminated rigid foam panels for the manufacture of industrial roofs and walls that, through their excellent insualtion properties, help to maintain a constant and comfortable working environment whatever the season.
Integral skin mouldings are also produced from rigid foams for structural and decorative purposes in the furniture industry. The excellent definition properties of the foams allow high quality simulated wood articles to be easily and cost-effectively fabricated.
Flexible polyurethane foams may be formulated across a broad range of hardnesses and densities to accommodate a multitude of end applications.
They can be produced in a variety of shapes by either cutting from slabstock or by moulding, with their main uses being in upholstered furniture, mattresses and automotive seating. The versatility of polyurethanes is demonstrated most comprehensivly in the automotive industry, where the special properties of the foams can be tailored in the development phase to meet the needs of very specific and often extremely demanding applications.
Industrial Urethanes works in close partnership with its own customers and the major motor vehicle manufacturers in order to develop new materials for applications such as acoustic attenuation, door panels, steering wheels and dashboards. We have successfully converted our customers away from ozone depleting chemicals, known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which have been widely used for many years as blowing agents in both rigid and flexible grades.
Today, more environmentally acceptable blowing agents are widely used. In this endeavour, Industrial Urethanes and its technology partners remain at the forefront of international technology.
In addition to the foamed polyurethanes, many types of solid elastomers are available, including thermoplastics for use on conventional thermoplastic processing equipment, soluble grades for textile coatings and adhesives, castable systems for hand and machine dispensing, solvent-free sprayable systems for high build coatings and elastomeric fibres for stretch garment manufacture.
The major applications are based upon the outstanding abrasion resistance of polyurethane elastomers, as well as their resistance to solvents and chemicals. Other properties such as low temperature flexibility or resistance to microbiological attack can also be designed into the polymer if required. In South Africa, the mining industry is a major market for solid elastomers and Industrial Urethanes has developed specific materials for applications such as separating screens, pipe linings, conveyor scrapers, idler rollers and a variety of flotation process components.
The excellent adhesion characteristics of polyurethanes are used in many applications that require requiring the binding of a diversity of materials. These include foundry sand for the metal casting industry, timber particles and other by-products for wood composite panels, rubber crumb for sports and safety flooring and flexible foam chips for low-cost cushioning. In addition to the foamed polyurethanes, many types of solid elastomers are available, including thermoplastics for use on conventional thermoplastic processing equipment, soluble grades for textile coatings and adhesives, castable systems for hand and machine dispensing, solvent-free sprayable systems for high build coatings and elastomeric fibres for stretch garment manufacture.
New market development is an ongoing goal of Industrial Urethanes. A successful strategy to enter the surfactants market has led to the development of a range of customised surfactants for the mining, pulp and paper and other specialist process industries.
Our dedicated technical support section helps customers in their selection of polyurethane foam dispensing systems and associated equipment and works closely with customers in the development and refinement of polyurethane blends best suited to the successful production of the end product. Services include: laboratory testing and analysis of polyurethane compounds; testing of blends and formulas on our state-of-the-art high-pressure polyurethane mixing and dispensing machine; on-site trouble-shooting and new product development.
Our wide range of polyurethane products and services set benchmarks of excellence in the markets in which we operate. Our focus is to maintain and build upon those benchmarks with solutions that are practical, cost-effective and add value for our customers.
Industrial Urethanes is a signatory to the Responsible Care Initiative. Our ISO 9001:2000 quality management system is augmented in this by accreditation to the ISO 14001 environmental protection standard and the OHSAS 18001 standard for health and safety. Within these approved systems we operate responsibly and safely while providing high quality products and services.
Supply Chain Management
Focused management of the supply chain has for a number of years been of strategic value to Industrial Urethanes. Our investments to increase polyol production and establish extensive storage facilities, our supply agreements, our international partners and our international standards accreditations are all critical components to ensure customers are supplied with the right products at the right time, every time.
Industrial Urethanes' has a production plant at Umbugintwini in KwaZulu Natal and is capable of oxypropylation, polyol blending and the production of a variety of prepolymers that will meet the ongoing needs of the polyurethane industry in South Africa.