Huntsman: TPU elastomers helping in the fight against Covid-19

Huntsman announced that since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the company has been producing thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers for manufacturers of essential medical personal protective equipment (PPE) around the world. The TPUs are being used to produce hospital gowns, face masks, mattress covers, tubes, valves, cable jackets and, notably, powered air purifying respirators (PAPR).

BioThane uses Irogran TPU from Huntsman in the production of coated webbing (Source: Huntsman)

Widely used throughout the world, PAPR is a type of breathing apparatus that provides healthcare workers a very high level of protection against viruses such as Covid-19, said Huntsman. The battery-powered PAPR purifies contaminated air through a filter mounted on a PAPR blower unit that delivers clean air through a lightweight breathing hose into the wearer’s head covering.

BioThane, a manufacturer of coated webbing located in North Ridgeville, OH, USA, makes the waist belts that hold the PAPR battery pack in place. Huntsman’s Irogran TPU coats the webbing, ensuring the highly durable belts are easy to thoroughly clean. Additionally, BioThane uses the same TPU-coated webbing to create systems for other patient transfer applications where scrubbable materials are vital.

Ethan Bron, President of BioThane, said: “We have been serving medical and safety markets for decades and sincerely appreciate and thank the frontline workers for their dedication. We are working hard to supply the belting required for these applications to ensure they have access to the PPE they so urgently need.”

Tony Hankins, President of Huntsman’s Polyurethanes business, added: “We are pleased to be helping in the fight against Covid-19 and honoured to be a critical supplier to BioThane. This is the latest effort in a series of initiatives we’ve undertaken across the world in response to the pandemic, including the donation of our polyurethane systems to manufacture insulation panels for pre-fabricated quarantine hospitals, and to our customers producing spandex for medical PPE, such as masks, protection suits and shoes.”