Polyurethane (PU) one-component foam (OCF)
PU foam (OCF) technology
OCF manufacturers representing more than 90% of the market in Europe are members of FEICA. These OCF manufacturers work together within FEICA to develop standards and further professionalise the industry. An important achievement of the group has been the development of standardised test methods, which allow the performance of OCF products to be measured, compared and communicated in an accurate manner for the first time.
The last 50 years have seen the introduction of many new devices and systems aimed at saving labour, providing entertainment and comfort, and enhancing productivity and communication: from dishwashers to satellite TV; from central heating to factory automation; and from personal computers to smartphones. Useful and enjoyable as these developments are, they have led to a rapidly increasing demand for energy in our homes, offices and factories. However, innovation in construction technology is helping to redress the balance. Double glazing, better insulation, smart control systems and improved construction methods and materials all help to reduce the consumption of energy.
OCFs play an important role in this context by improving energy efficiency and helping create a more pleasant environment. They bring significant benefits to window and door installation tasks. OCFs connect, provide thermal and acoustic insulation and render joints airtight, while still allowing water vapour to migrate. Quick and easy to use, they are typically supplied in convenient pressurised containers and extruded on-site. Application takes a matter of minutes and they usually cure in little over an hour.
OCF: Generic term for moisture-curing one-component foams dispensed from pressurised containers ("aerosol cans”) as well as self-curing two-component foams dispensed from pressurised containers ("1.5 component foams”). Often also referred to as PUR or PU foam.
Standard Test Methods guarantee consistency and comparability
A challenge faced by the industry had been the lack of official standards for the verification and comparison of OCF products. Although there are many standards available for PU foams, most are not appropriate for OCFs because they were developed for manufactured, cured PU foams. As a result, they do not give a reliable indication of the quality of an OCF because they do not take into account the application process, which has a huge bearing on the ultimate quality of the OCF.
Consequently, FEICA’s OCF Technical Working Group (TWG) has developed a new range of standard test methods that deliver realistic, reproducible results for OCF products. A series of FEICA’s OCF test methods has been approved as CEN standards too. All the companies represented in the TWG have committed to using these standard methods to evaluate and communicate the various properties of their products, such as foam yield. As a result, customers can rest assured that the data they read on product packaging and in literature provides an accurate and honest representation of the product performance, allowing a reliable comparison of different OCF products. These standard test methods are available for download in the FEICA OCF Test Methods webpage or via the CEN standards one.
Publications and support
FEICA provides input to the ECHA call for evidence on MCCP
The European Commission has requested ECHA to prepare an Annex XV Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) proposal for alkanes and C14-17 chloroalkanes for submission in February 2021. As medium-chained chlorinated paraffins (MCCP) mixtures are very important to OCFs, FEICA and individual interested FEICA members have contributed to this call for evidence. Please see the FEICA input to the ECHA call for evidence on MCCP.
CE marking for OCF under the Construction Products Regulation (CPR)
The CE mark is a claim that a particular construction product can be marketed in the European Economic Area (EEA). Thus, within the EEA the CE mark is an important factor in the marketing and free movement of construction products; several member states prohibit construction products without CE marking from entering their market. FEICA has developed a fact sheet about CE marking for OCF products.
The PU Foam Information Centre is an institution set up to serve leading European manufacturers of PU foam cans. The Information Centre gathers and updates information across the market focusing on PU foam can products. Another objective pursued by the PU Foam Information Centre is ongoing promotion to enhance the image of the product. It is the Company’s endeavour to communicate the above-mentioned goals to interested parties and the general public, adopting and maintaining an objective, fact-based information policy.