"Momentive's investment strategy is "to produce locally what is needed locally in order to optimise global assets and supply competitively, while enabling the ability to produce a uniform product across all markets, explained Tony Lanchak, Global Business Director - Urethane Additives, Momentive. Capacity investment Momentive has recently completed a second finished goods reactor and is starting-up a new intermediates unit that facilitates back-integration into further downstream intermediates at its site in Nantong, China. Through its joint venture in X'ian, China, Momentive has become one of the world's lowest cost producers of siloxane. In addition, Momentive has started a new reactor in Chennai, India, re-started a reactor in Itatiba, Brazil, improved processes at a plant in Antwerp, Belgium, and continues to expand in Termoli, Italy. Momentive has application development engineers and R&D chemists in Leverkusen, Germany; Shanghai, China; Sistersville, WV, USA; and Ohta, Japan, and has recently expanded its Application Development Centres in Singapore and Brazil along with plans for new Application Development Centers in India, Korea, and possibly South Africa and Russia. Product evolution "Through our truly global infrastructure, we are positioned to commercialize solutions quickly and serve our customers effectively, Lanchak said. "The majority of our business is outside of the US and in fast-growing economies where demand is surging for cars, household appliances, building materials, consumer goods and a multitude of other products that use polyurethane foam." Dr. Paul Austin, Global R&D Director, Urethane Additives, Momentive, indicated that the company is constantly developing and testing new technologies to improve the performance of polyurethane and to offer potential processing improvements and greater production efficiency. Austin explained that Momentive considers the following factors as major drivers of the PU additive industry: Energy efficiencyLow VOCFire ProtectionProcessability and efficiencyComfortBlowing solutions with lower impact on the environment Examples of new product development for creating fine cell structure and excellent cell distribution include Niax silicone L-595 and Niax silicone L-895 (its low VOC analog) that are excellent candidates to consider for use in polyether foams. New Niax silicone L-537XF does not contain nonylphenol ethoxylates, which have been identified by the US Environmental Protection Agency as presenting potential environmental concerns, is applicable to polyester foam for creating a fine cell structure and excellent cell distribution. These products also offer multi-functionality to the PU foam processor, and have been shown to allow greater production efficiency. Momentive is very active in rigid foam applications and targeting the satisfaction of increased demand for energy savings in the refrigeration and construction industries. Along with a traditionally strong position in the refrigerator segment, Momentive now has a strong position in construction's rigid panels, boardstock, OCF and spray foam, due to a focus on enabling innovative solutions in silicone surfactants, catalysts, and special additives. New rigid foam products focus on improving thermal insulation performance, reducing flammability, maintaining structural integrity and eliminating foam defects such as sub-surface voids in construction panels and refrigerators. Optimising the adhesive performance of rigid foam is another key focus in this sector. With dedicated resources in product development and technical service Momentive is present "locally to address regional priorities, while focusing on global issues such as the ongoing transition to blowing agents with a lower impact on the environment and implementation of PIR foam formulations that are highly resistant to fire. In Europe, low emission catalysts for the automotive foams and flexible slabstock will continue to be a focus. Meeting VOC emission demands varies by region and by type of VOC. Niax reaches 50 this year! Momentive's legacy of breakthrough innovation in foam technology dates back to a heritage linked to Union Carbide Corporation, but through continual investment in the Niax platform technology over the past 50 years, the company's urethane additives business has introduced a steady stream of new products that have helped revolutionise polyurethane foam production. Innovations have included the first non-hydrolysable silicone surfactant, the first flame retardant surfactant, and the first high resilience silicone surfactant. "Being a global technology leader has been our key to success in the industries we serve, said Lanchak. "What sets us apart is our ability to research, develop and test diverse technologies that address the variety of industry trends and issues that matter most to our customers.