06/12/2013

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2013 Flexible Polyurethane Foam Hall of Fame inductions

[image_0]Graham Walmsley, inducted posthumously, was recognised for his role tackling foam production problems with patented inventions and innovations that improved flexible foam processing technology and foam products. Walmsley began his career in his home town of Glossop, UK, as a lab chemist at Volcrepe, a rubber products company that had acquired a polyurethane foam machine from Germany. Walmsley was drawn to foam production and soon moved to Long & Hambly in 1955 before joining Aeropreen, a foam manufacturing company, where he worked as chief chemist. In 1966, he was recruited by Kay Metzeler, Ltd. where he was technical director. As the foam industry rapidly grew, Walmsley became known for his firm grasp of the fine points of polyether and polyester slabstock production as well as his understanding of moulding machinery. In 1970, Walmsley moved to North Carolina where he became vice president and technical director at Reeves Brothers. He designed slabstock polyester machinery and also ran some of the first trials involving trough configurations that later became part of the Maxfoam technology. In 1978, Walmsley founded his own company, Periphlex USA Ltd., where he developed, built, commissioned and licensed the use of Varimax slabstock production equipment. His work with Varimax equipment led to employment at Hickory Springs Manufacturing in 1983 where he served as technical director, installing Varimax machinery at the company pouring locations across the USA. At Hickory Springs Manufacturing, Walmsley introduced poly-isocyanate poly-addition (PIPA) technology to the USA, which opened the door for lower density, high resilience foam production. He also invented and obtained a worldwide patent for the use of melamine as a flame retardant - a development that had an enormous impact on fire safety both in the USA and the UK, and provided the foundation for some of today's flammability standards. Walmsley also was granted a patent for the use of acetone, an exempt VOC, as an auxiliary blowing agent. This method supported slabstock foam production without ozone-depleting chemicals. Walmsley often said that in his career, he had the advantage of having one foot in the laboratory and the other on the shop floor. He was admired and respected by all his colleagues, but especially by the people on the technical teams with whom he worked. To say you once worked with Graham Walmsley is still a badge of honour in the industry. Graham Walmsley died in 1998. His widow, Doreen Walmsley, and two of his sons, Jeremy and Simon, attended the ceremony and accepted the honour.[image_1_right] Charles Morgan was recognised for his role as an innovator, inventor of foam formulations and processes, and particularly for being among the first to develop a national distribution network to serve customers on a local basis. Morgan has had a lifelong fascination with polymer chemistry. During his first job as a chemist at Coast ProSeal in Compton, California, he developed polyurethane components for moulding compounds and liquid polymers for sealing aircraft gas tanks. He then joined National Oil Products Company (Nopco) as chief chemist and helped build a low pressure foam machine that manufactured polyester-based foams. When Nopco moved east, Morgan joined Relaxer Mattress in San Francisco, where he managed the polyurethane foam division. In 1966, Morgan and Leonard Graff co-founded United Foam in Gardena, California. Foam products are bulky and require a specialized shipping and inventory management strategy. At United Foam, Morgan developed a foam distribution model that located the company's fabricating centers and warehouses near local customers. Over the next decade, he contributed to the company's rapid growth and expansion to 24 plants, from New Jersey to Hawaii. In 1977, Morgan was elected United Foam's president and chief operating officer. Not all of United Foam's customers were in the bedding, furniture, and cushioning industries. In 1977, in response to an unusual request from Paramount Pictures, United Foam supplied 80,000 pounds of polyurethane foam for construction of a giant mechanical ape used in the remake of the movie "King Kong.” While at United Foam, Morgan also created waves in the bedding industry with the eponymous Morgan waveless waterbed mattress. In 1990, Morgan founded Southwest Carpet Pad, where he patented four new processing technologies for flexible polyurethane foam. After selling Southwest Carpet to Leggett and Platt, Morgan remained a consultant with the company for nine years.

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