New technology for the cost effective production of high quality integral skin steering wheels is discussed in this paper. ELASTO-FOAM® WB water-blown integral skin polyurethane foam systems were developed to replace the conventional CFC- (chlorofluorocarbon) blown systems currently used to manufacture steering wheels and other interior trim parts.
Comparisons are made between the typical, CFC-blown foams and the water-blown foams in terms of reactivity profiles, physical properties and processing. Several other inherent differences between the two materials are also reviewed. In addition, the cost effectiveness of the new foam systems is compared to CFC-blown systems. Finally, the advantages of utilizing water-blown products for the production of steering wheels are summarized.