Increasing local presence with the opening of a new Dubai facility, MD of BASF’s Elastogran Kanoo Polurethane Systems for the Arabian Peninsula, Dr. Joerg Schneider, talks about the versatile application of polyurethanes
Products in AC ducting, district cooling pipes, and roof insulation receive a special focus here in the region and the share is above global average,” observes Dr. Schneider.
“Cooling in this part of the world is not a luxury but a necessity and taking into consideration that cooling is more energy demanding than heating, high value insulation is best invested into cooling systems,” Schneider adds.
The high value insulation Schneider describes is manufactured from polyurethane (PU), a market which BASF leads on a global scale, producing solutions for a number of industries, not least construction (see below).
Following the opening of the latest “systems house” in Dubai on April 6 this year, BASF now operates 38 similar facilities worldwide, six of which are joint ventures and two of which are located in the UAE in Dubai Industrial City and Abu Dhabi. Two more are under development the Chinese cities of Chongqing and Tianjing.
Constructed between March and November 2010, the new 2.8 hectare Dubai facility is a base for localised sales and production units, while providing clients with “fast comprehensive and technical services”.
Described as “de-centralised”, each of the 38 houses work independently from each other to maintain local contact with clients; understand local requirements and regulations; improve or adjusting products and trigger innovative projects, while at the same time leveraging on a reliable supply and a knowhow network within BASF.
“The outcome for the customer is that we have one local contact for all questions regarding polyurethane; prompt technical support and fast, high performing innovative solutions, and reliable supply,” Schneider says.
Once sold to clients, PU can be used in the manufacture of sandwich panels, pre-insulated pipe fabrication, spray foam roofing or polyurethane and polyurea floorings; with recent applications including the Zublin oil-gas pipeline project and the DIC-based systems house.
The new Dubai house was constructed using the latest PU sandwich elements in the facade, PU insulation boards in the roof and technologies supplied from other BASF business units.
BASF says polyurethanes make life more comfortable and safe, while also contributing to energy sustainably. The application of the material can improve the insulation of buildings and even enhance the design of cars – it was recently announced that engineers at Opel Astra GTC used the material to create a 1.5 metre “panoramic windshield” for a new model of car.
In addition to every day applications in shoes, mattresses and household goods and sports equipment, the energy efficient properties of PU make it an excellent insulating material. “The easiest Polyurethane examples to illustrate
the significant contributions to energy efficiency are in the field of rigid polyurethane products, which are high performing insulation materials in various fields of the construction industry,” says Schneider.
“Due to outstandingly low thermal conductivity, in the real world a four inch concrete ceiling would require an additional layer of 8893 mm concrete and 315 mm of mineral wool, to achieve the same results as only 165 mm of PU foam,” he continues to explain.
“The performance of the PU roduct will be leveraged to its full potential in applications where PU combines outstanding thermal insulation with additional key properties, including structural properties. For example,
in sandwich panels high structural stability allows clients to reduce material consumption through reduced thickness of the sheet materials and steel structure.
“Another example is the insulation of pipelines in district cooling. The PU insulation of these pipes contributes essentially to the energy efficiency of modern AC concepts. The high compressive strength of the material assures
users that the insulation layer will sustain the performance over several years – which is a key economic element of any under-ground infrastructure measure,” he concludes.
Polyurethane is sold to clients for use in products for the following sectors:
10% appliances and electronics
10% other industries, including packaging, medical and technology
1% sports and recreation