By David Reed, UT EditorWashington, DC-The Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA), the trade organisation for flexible polyurethane foam manufacturers and their suppliers in the United States, inducted Robert Volz, Harris Bradley and Union Carbide Corp. into its Hall of Fame during the PFA’s May 2005 general membership meeting in Washington, DC.Volz (left in pic) was credited with the development of reticulated polyurethane foam technology which creates flexible skeletal cell structure without membranes.Reticulated foams have many applications, particularly as filters for liquids, and are used today in a variety of medical, military, automotive and other applications. He spent 29 years with Scott Paper Co., moved to General Felt Industries (GFI) in 1983, and completed his career at Foamex International. Volz passed away in 1996.Harris ‘Ace’ Bradley was recognised for his contribution to the ‘One-Shot’ method for producing flexible polyurethane foam (FPF), now the standard method for producing FPF products. It allows a continuous production process of simultaneous polymer formation and expansion to form the foam. The original prepolymer process required a polymer-formation step in a reactor vessel with expansion of the polymer into the foam product as a separate step. After holding positions at E.I. Dupont, E.R. Carpenter and Essex Wire, Bradley perfected ‘One-Shot’ in 1964 at North Carolina Foam Industries (NCFI), the company he founded.In addition to Volz and Bradley, the Polyurethane Foam Association inducted Union Carbide Corp. in recognion of its contribution to the development of the FPF industry. Union Carbide’s contributions began in the early 1960s and include the development of polyether polyols; the first general purpose silicone surfactant; the first fire retardant surfactant, the first High Resilient (HR) silicone surfactant – still used today to manufacture viscoelastic polyurethane foam products – and speciality modifiers that helped to eliminate dependence on CFCs in FPF manufacturing. The Union Carbide technology enabled the ‘One Shot’ process to be commercialised.Doug Warner, Global Business Director-Polyols with Dow Chemical accepted the award on behalf of Union Carbide and the former employees who attended the award ceremony. Union Carbide is now a division of Dow Chemical.The PFA created the Flexible Polyurethane Foam Hall of Fame to recognise the individuals and companies who significantly contributed to the growth and betterment of the FPF industry in the United States.To be eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame, an individual or company who currently is or was a member of the US flexible polyurethane foam industry must have been nominated and subsequently elected to the Hall of Fame by the Executive Committee of the PFA.”
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