Polymer Manufacture – Polyurethanes

An international materials company purchased a polyurethane technology and asked Witton to work as their contract manufacturer for a range of specialised polyurethane pre-polymers. To date more than 40 different grades have been manufactured.

Continual optimisation and improvement is demonstrated by :-

  • The transfer of production from 1 litre lab batches through pilot plant scale up batches on to 17000kg full scale production batches via 50kg, 1000kg, 4000kg scale up batches and 16000kg batch sizes.
  • Key raw materials suppliers have been changed to reduce costs, to meet increased volume requirements and to improved quality & consistency of supply. This has required modifications to the process conditions and formulation to give the same final product properties from the different complex polymeric staring materials.

The scale up required:-

  • The scale up of the process from laboratory through pilot trials and on to full scale production. This involved the transfer of the process to larger vessels as demand grew and the validation of product quality at each scale.
  • The staged installation of ancillary plant and equipment to allow contract manufacturing capacity to grow with demand.
  • As the raw materials changed the process was re-engineered via laboratory and pilot plant trials to determine the optimum conditions for the new starting materials before continuing large scale toll manufacturing.
  • A move to a dedicated polyurethane manufacturing vessel with further optimized raw material & finished product handling as increased demand required.