Introduction

Polyurethanes are linear polymers that have a molecular backbone containing carbonate groups (-NHCO2). These groups, called urethane, are produced through a chemical reaction between a diisocyanate and a polyol. First developed in late 1930s, polyurethanes are some of the most versatile polymers. They are used in building insulation, surface coatings, adhesives, solid plastics, and athletic apparel.

Polyurethane foam is the most widely used flexible foam plastic. It is used to produce a wide variety of items including thermal insulation and packaging materials, comfort cushions, bed mattresses, carpet backings and resilient floor coverings.

Market potential

Polyurethane foam (PU foam) is a very versatile material. Its open and elastic cell structures make it very resistant to oxidation and aging, especially if compared to rubber or latex foams. According to the additives and the manufacturing systems used, very different characteristics and foams for very different uses can be achieved.

Thanks to its diversity, it is present in all aspects of daily life. In order to compare the different foams, we usually use the density, but it only serves as a comparative element when we are talking about foams with the same composition. Their uses are multiple- the insulation capacity, the ease of profiling or shaping, the lightness, the rigidity, etc. The sectors that most use this raw material are:

  • Rest area: in mattresses as main filling or as part of quilts.
  • Furniture sector: in seats of sofas and chairs, padded fillers, etc.
  • Construction sector: as thermal insulation, acoustic absorbent, etc.
  • Automotive sector: in dashboards, seats, etc.
  • In many toys, sponges, shoes, pillows, clothing, packaging and in general all kind of fillings and quilting.

 

Growth of polyurethane foam market can be attributed to increasing demand for polyurethane foam from bedding & furniture and building & construction end-use industries. Significant investments in new infrastructure development, new housing projects, and renovation of non- residential buildings in US, China, India, and Brazil have also influenced the growth of the polyurethane foam market.

India has consumed 1 kg of polyurethane (PU) per capita by 2020 at 1200,000 TPA, as per a conservative estimate by the Chairman of the Indian Polyurethane Association (IPUA). Current per capita PU consumption in India is about 200 grams. The 1 kg per capita target will be possible, depending mainly on easing bureaucracy by the government that will speed up some of the processes and make it easy to set up factories and help to build infrastructure, as well as initiatives by the industry.

Technical

A smaller unit can be set up with a capacity of 4 MTs of Polyurethane foam sheets per day. This is will have a capacity of 1200 MTs per annum. The plant required for processing includes the following namely slab stock plant (foaming Machine) consisting of tanks, pump arrangements for the flow of different chemicals, mixing tanks, flow meters flowing tunnel section and conveyor drive, chiller, heater and roller conveyor system for material transport. The machinery is available from reputed suppliers in India. The raw materials required are Toluene diisocyanate TDI and polyol which are available locally from imported sources.

The manufacturing process involves Foam forming and settling, curing, cutting and despatch.

A building area of 5000 sq. Ft is required on rental basis. The power requirement is 80 HP. About 15 persons are required for the factory

Investment and return

Excluding cost of leased building plant and machinery and other miscellaneous assets is estimated at Rs.130.00 lakhs. Working capital is required about Rs.200.00 lakhs from Bank for storing materials and extending credit to customers. The sales turnover at 80% would be Rs.25.00 crores. The selling price is about Rs.2.63 lakhs per MT. The material cost is estimated at Rs.22.00 lakhs. The profit before interest and taxes would be about Rs.155.00 lakhs on a turnover of Rs.25.00 crores. The unit can pay back the investment in three years.

Statutory

The unit requires MSME registration (Udyam), GST registration, Import Export code, if materials are required to be imported.

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