Polyurethanes: “We expect the restriction by 2020 at the earliest”

Polyurethane-based coatings are among the most robust and versatile systems that are being used nowadays. We spoke to Ulrich Meier-Westhues, Karsten Danielmeier and Peter Kruppa about the latest trends, the new 0.1 % diisocyanates regulation and their new book.

Peter Kruppa (Senior Vice President -

Which developments are currently most in demand for polyurethane coatings?

Peter Kruppa: We see a general trend towards efficiency and performance, especially when it comes to high solids and water-borne systems. They are experiencing a high growth rate in the last years, especially in the APAC region. Also, anything that helps curing at lower temperatures, faster curing speed or reduction of coating layers is what we expect as major trends for the years to come. And we are pretty much in it to supply materials to our customers.

What developments can we expect in terms of sustainability of polyurethanes in the near future?

Karsten Danielmeier: Sustainability is at the very core of Covestro, it is part of our DNA. Innovation inspired by sustainability is a key driver for our activities. Technically that means that we try to reduce the specific CO2 emissions of our processes. We also develop low VOC-products, we use bio-based materials and we have materials with very good catalytic activities which reduce curing temperatures. All this feeds into sustainability for our customers. And last but least we have certainly activities in recycling and recyclable materials. 


The EU plans to regulate substances with more than 0.1 % free polyisocyanates. What are the consequences for PU coatings?

Kruppa: We expect that the regulation for the restriction comes into force by 2020 at the earliest and will most probably be accompanied by a four years transition time. That basically means for the industry that if a formulation exceeds a threshold 0.1 wt% of diisocyanates, then all the people that are in contact with the formulation need to pass a training. This training is mandatory and needs to be repeated every four years. We at Covestro already started to launch a new product line last year which is having a diisocyanate content lower than 0.1 wt % which basically protects people from the need to go into any additional training. And we expect the industry to follow the trend and that we will see many more products like this in the years to come.

You are the authors of the new edition of the technical book “Polyurethanes”, what can readers expect?

Ulrich Meier-Westhues: After one year of intensive work we are really happy to present the second edition of the book. And when I say we, I mean the authors named on the cover (editorial note: The fourth author Edward Squiller is not part of this interview) as well as the global team of co-authors of Covestro and external partners.

As a result, the reader will get a comprehensive updated overview about polyurethanes in coatings, adhesives and sealants. The reader will find a description of the basic chemistry, the application technology, the various applications in various markets and branches – in new ones as well as in established ones. And he will find the latest developments in performance, sustainability, combinatorial chemistry as well as occupational hygiene. All in all, the reader will get a lot of information and ideas in order to formulate or create solutions for his customers. 

The interview was conducted by Jan Gesthuizen

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