Industry News

Estane® Engineered Polymers Celebrates Five Decades of Innovation

Published on 2009-01-15. Author : SpecialChem

CLEVELAND, OH -- Some products reach the peak of their life cycle potential early on and then become obsolete as newer materials and technologies are introduced to replace them. But that is certainly not the case for thermoplastic polyurethane (more commonly known as TPU). This 50-year-old innovation is showing no signs of slowing down and today, in fact, is being utilized for more applications in more industries than ever before.

January 27, 2009, marks the 50-year-anniversary of the patent filing for the new thermoplastic polyurethane sold under the Estane® trade name. The innovation was the result of a concentrated effort by the R&D department of what was then part of BFGoodrich to create new materials that could reduce manufacturing costs associated with tire production. Today, a broad and quickly expanding Estane TPU line is part of The Lubrizol Corporation product portfolio.

For five decades, Estane TPUs have been touted for their superior flexibility combined with their outstanding abrasion and wear resistance, as well as durability. This unique and highly versatile combination of benefits is the reason that TPUs have, over the years, found their way into diverse applications, including fabric coatings, footwear, and medical tubing. Early on, TPUs were actually credited with helping to create one of the big fashion fads of the 1960s and early 1970s. Known as "the wet look," the new, shiny, breathable material was used to create some of the trendiest go-go boots and mini skits of the day. Literally millions of pounds of Estane TPU were sold just to keep up with demand for the shinier-than-leather look.

Today, the company's tag line "Estane TPU... Everywhere... Every day..." exemplifies the explosion of industries and applications that rely on Estane TPUs to make their products stronger, bio-compatible, fire-resistant, impact-resistant, more flexible and lighter weight. - more - Mike Vaughn, vice president for Estane Engineered Polymers, credits the growth and diversity of the product line with customers' abilities to keep finding new processing methods. As a result, Estane TPUs are currently processed through film, sheet and fabric coating, extrusion, injection molding, calendaring, overmolding and blowmolding for markets such as wire and cable, hose and tube, optical, industrial, agriculture and many more.

Additional growth opportunities for Estane TPUs, according to Vaughn, will come from the conversion of TPU into fibers through such state-of-the-art processes as melt-blown technology and electro spinning. Estane TPUs have also made major inroads into the medical field, where newer TPU processing methods are making possible a number of life-saving devices. In 2003, Lubrizol incorporated Thermedics™ Polymer Products into its Estane Engineered Polymers product area. The experience and reputation of the Thermedics brand is helping to propel Estane TPUs even deeper into the medical field.

The company is aggressively expanding its presence in other markets as well, through a continuum of strategic acquisitions, including the most recent acquisition of the Dow thermoplastic polyurethane business.

"We feel that, at age 50, we're just starting to scratch the surface of the potential of TPUs," says Vaughn. "And we are very optimistic about what the next 50 years will uncover for us."

As part of the global anniversary celebrations, Estane Engineered Polymers will be hosting a number of special customer promotions and media events.

Estane® is a registered trademark of The Lubrizol Corporation.

About The Lubrizol Corporation

The Lubrizol Corporation is an innovative specialty chemical company that produces and supplies technologies that improve the quality and performance of our customers' products in the global transportation, industrial and consumer markets. These technologies include lubricant additives for engine oils, other transportation-related fluids and industrial lubricants, as well as fuel additives for gasoline and diesel fuel. In addition, Lubrizol makes ingredients and additives for personal care products and pharmaceuticals; specialty materials, including plastics technology and performance coatings in the form of specialty resins and additives. Lubrizol's industry-leading technologies in additives, ingredients and compounds enhance the quality, performance and value of customers' products, while reducing their environmental impact.

With headquarters in Wickliffe, Ohio, The Lubrizol Corporation owns and operates manufacturing facilities in 19 countries, as well as sales and technical offices around the world. Founded in 1928, Lubrizol has approximately 6,900 employees worldwide. Revenues for 2007 were $4.5 billion.

Source: Lubrizol Corporation

Nynas Naphthenic Process Oils
Back to Top