PFA Spring Meeting Overview
Polyurethane Foam Association Spring Meeting Focuses On Education, Key Issues, Advocacy Action
Flexible Polyurethane Foam Trade Association Rolls Out New Training/Recruitment Program; Adds New Molded Foam Division; Defends Industry On Many Fronts
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (June 14, 2016)—The Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA) just concluded its annual Spring meeting here, unveiling a new industry introduction initiative and voting to create a new division for molded foam manufacturers.
PFA’s three-day meeting brought together more than 200 executives from foam manufacturers, chemical suppliers, and other companies supporting the flexible polyurethane foam industry for in-depth discussion of industry issues, including technical advancements, regulatory action, and industry education.
Robert Luedeka, Executive Director of PFA, called the meeting “a collaborative success.”
“The flexible polyurethane foam industry faces more challenges today than at any time in its history,” he said. “To preserve and grow the flexible polyurethane foam business, we have to work together, build understanding of foam products, and advocate for common-sense action on issues including fire safety, environmental stewardship, and manufacturing safety. We were able to make solid progress at this meeting.”
Luedeka listed several key issues facing the flexible polyurethane foam industry currently:
Isocyanates. Proposed emission limits and possible reclassification of isocyanates have the potential to disrupt plant operations and increase costs without effectively improving worker or public safety.
Flame retardants. Though flame retardants have been phased out of many types of foam production, there is significant public misunderstanding on this issue. In addition, the industry is working with a number of organizations to determine the best solutions for managing the recycling of foam scrap at end-of-life with possible FR contamination.
Fire safety. PFA continues to work with government agencies, firefighters, and other groups to promote responsible testing of composite systems which contain foam and other combustible materials. Because flame retardants in furnishings are an area of concern to firefighters, PFA has contributed to model legislation to help focus attention on the issues that are of most importance.
At the Spring meeting, PFA also unveiled a new education program designed to help the industry recruit and retain new talent. Called “An Introduction to the Flexible Polyurethane Foam Industry,” the initiative was sponsored by industry suppliers and featured sessions on foam chemistry and production, testing and safety, and foam applications and value-added benefits. The program was structured to provide newcomers to the industry an accelerated understanding of the business and its opportunities. The program also provided industry veterans with a solid refresher on fundamentals. PFA recorded the sessions and will develop video tools for future use.
Also at the meeting, PFA members voted to establish a new molded foam division that would allow manufacturers supporting automotive, commercial seating, and other industries to take advantage of PFA’s proactive advocacy on regulatory and legislative issues.
And PFA hosted a technical program with papers addressing responsible management of waste foams with flame retardants, development of foams with improved environmental profiles to meet stringent flammability tests, renewable resource polyols, and modifications to the ASTM E-1428 pink stain test method. Recordings of the technical presentations are available for purchase on the PFA website, www.pfa.org/pfameet.html .
“PFA builds its agenda on education, advocacy, and action,” said Luedeka. “We know that by working together as an association, we can amplify our voices and better support the flexible polyurethane foam industry. This meeting demonstrated how powerful this tool can be.”
The Polyurethane Foam Association is a trade association founded in 1980 to educate customers and other groups about flexible polyurethane foam (FPF). This includes providing facts on environmental, health and safety issues and technical information on the performance of FPF in consumer and industrial products. FPF is used as a key comfort component in most upholstered furniture and mattress products, along with automotive seating, carpet cushion, packaging, and numerous other applications.
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