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New digital tool finds the right formula for viscoelastic foams

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With the digital age we live in today, it’s no surprise that digitalization is one of the most important drivers of growth in the chemical and plastics industry. New technologies open the door to improved processes, especially when it comes to how customers create the right foam formula.

We capitalized on the new opportunities digitalization brings by creating Digital@Covestro—a strategic program focused on providing customers with added value and setting new standards in customer collaboration. Through this initiative, we’re incorporating digital technologies and processes into production, the supply chain, and research and development for customers and in new business models.

A key focus of this program is digital technical services for more efficient production processes. We found that by simulating process steps, we can improve flow designs and reduce development times along the entire value chain. One case in point: Using a new digital tool to find the right formula for viscoelastic foam.

You may be familiar with this very comfortable, yet supportive, material since it’s primarily used in pillows and mattresses. The foam is known for its shape memory: As soon as a person changes positions or gets up, it slowly regains its original shape. Additionally, it can prevent bed sores for older or bed-ridden patients.

Through computer simulations, our digital formula finder reduces the number of trials needed to find the right formula for viscoelastic foams.

Dr. Lutz Brassat

Head Application Development Flexible Foam and Raw Materials EMEA, Covestro

Formula for time, materials and costs savings

Our easy-to-use web-based tool works like this: Customers can enter the foam’s desired physical properties and wait for the matching formulas to be calculated based on our raw materials. It can also determine the properties of a finished foam for a predefined formula. No matter which method is used, the tool saves time, materials and costs.

The formula finder helps customers make the connection between several formula variables to determine what works best. It’s also user-friendly for less-experienced developers, thanks to targeted formulation development.

Collaboration and expertise: The perfect recipe

Our experts in polyurethane chemistry, polyurethane technology and computer science came together to develop this digital tool. First, the team used predefined formulas to manufacture a variety of viscoelastic foams and identify their properties. Based on these data sets, they then generated an algorithm that uses these foam properties to calculate other foam densities, hardness levels and viscoelastic behaviors.

  • The formula finder reduces the number of trials, leading to material savings.
  • The tool increases speed and efficiency for customers.

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