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Merquinsa reintroduces itself to North America

Although the company itself is 40 years old, and its North American elastomers business was established roughly seven years ago, Barcelona-headquartered thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) supplier Merquinsa is bolstering its push into the U.S. market, starting with a booth at the upcoming NPE 2006 (June 19-23; McCormick Place).

Former Dow veteran Dennis Lauzon, now with Merquinsa NA (Seabrook, NH), said that capacity wise, Merquinsa is the fourth largest TPU maker globally, with an annual output of roughly 40,000 tonnes from its lone Barcelona production facility. But he adds it is the only TPU supplier dedicated to the manufacture of TPUs, with that material as its primary product line.

In addition to its Pearlcoat and Pearlthane lines, which are used for injection molding and extrusion applications, including overmolding, blown/cast film, and melt coating, Merquinsa offers Pearlstick adhesives. Lauzon said two-thirds of the North American market for its TPUs goes to extrusion processors with one-third sold to injection molders. The company is hoping to boost its injection presence with the lower crystallinity and faster cycling Pearlthane line. Its new Pearlthane offering is intended for automotive, which takes up the lion''s share of TPU business, and is already being tested for a gear shifter application.

Lauzon said Merquinsa is the largest polycaprolactone TPU producer in the world, with that particular chemistry offering a faster cycling and lighter weight material. TPU''s based on that chemistry reportedly offer a specific gravity advantage of 3-4% over competitive materials.

In addition to a seminar on Wednesday of NPE week at the Hyatt McCormick Place covering TPUs, Merquinsa (Booth #418) will use the triennial show to launch two products: the aforementioned Pearlthane for automotive, and a Pearlcoat called Activa for extrusion coating.

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