Polyurethane Foam Association Fall Meeting Highlights Work in Advocacy, Education, Member Support


News release written by the Polyurethane Foam Association and published, unedited, by BedTimes

Flexible Polyurethane Foam Trade Association Hosts Six Technical Presentations, Industry Issues Forum, with Keynote Speaker John Bassett III

SAN ANTONIO (November 9, 2016)—The Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA) just concluded its fall member meeting, marking the association’s work in environmental, worker safety, product stewardship areas.

Polyurethane Foam Association logoPFA’s three-day meeting brought together more than 120 executives from foam manufacturers, chemical suppliers, and other companies supporting the flexible polyurethane foam industry for in-depth discussion of industry issues, including technical advancements, regulatory action, and industry education.

“We were able to show solid progress this meeting for our industry in many key issues,” said Bill Gollnitz, Outgoing President of the Association. “These meetings give our members the opportunity to become informed about the topics that may affect their businesses in the coming months—and to understand what they can do to help address them.”

Gollnitz noted that the flexible polyurethane foam industry faces significant communications and educational challenges in issues as diverse as fire safety, environmental stewardship, and manufacturing plant safety.

“We were able to demonstrate to our members how working together as an association has helped all of them,” he said.

Gollnitz noted that PFA works to build coalitions with other industry groups, plus groups that may seem unlikely collaborators, such as firefighters and environmental organizations. This allows the flexible foam industry to get its positions heard, in a credible manner, supported with good science and statistics.

“Our industry is made up of responsible people doing responsible things,” he said. “We proactively reach out to stakeholders in many areas to explain what our members do. We may not always change minds, but we do earn respect. And very often, we make an impact that’s beneficial for our industry.”

In 2016, PFA actions helped keep a critical furniture fire safety standard in place at the American Society of Testing and Methods (ASTM), worked to prevent inappropriate broad legislation of upholstered furniture from being enacted in several states, and educated stakeholder groups by authoring papers about the recycling and the recyclability of flexible foam, among other projects.

In San Antonio, PFA hosted a technical program with six papers covering:

• An Update on the Incidence of Occupational Asthma Among Foam Plant Workers
• Variable Pressure Foaming Using the Vertifoam Process
• New Flame Retardants Developments for the Flexible Foam Market
• Detection of Isocyanates in the Workplace Using IMS Instruments
• Ester Flexible Foam Performance Comparisons Between EG Azelate (C9) and DEG Adipate (C6) Polyols
• Recent JFLEX Machine Technology Developments

The audience scored each presentation. The winner of the Herman Stone Technical Excellence Award was Michael Brooks of Emery Oleochemicals for his paper on Ester Foam Performance Comparisons, followed closely by “Detection of Isocyanates” by Frank Thibodeau, Bruker Detection, and by “Recent JFLEX Machine Developments” by Jim Shoup, Hennecke, Inc.

The meeting featured Keynote Speaker John Bassett, III, Chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture in Galax, VA. A longtime veteran of the furniture industry, Bassett’s company is one of the last remaining domestic manufacturers of mid-priced bedroom furniture. Bassett was the subject of a best-selling book, “Factory Man” by Beth Macy, which Tom Hanks and HBO are turning into a mini-series. The book focused on Bassett’s fight to keep manufacturing in the U.S.

Registrants for the meeting were presented copies of Bassett’s new book, “Making It In America: A 12-Point Plan For Growing Your Business And Keeping Jobs At Home.” In his presentation, John Bassett detailed many of the things he had done to keep his company going, including investments in production, re-thinking business models to accommodate customers, and taking care of his employees.

The Polyurethane Foam Association is a trade association founded in 1980 to educate customers and other groups about flexible polyurethane foam (FPF). This includes providing facts on environmental, health and safety issues and technical information on the performance of FPF in consumer and industrial products. FPF is used as a key comfort component in most upholstered furniture and mattress products, along with automotive seating, carpet cushion, packaging, and numerous other applications.

Wayne Bowman


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