Technological advances in polyurethane coatings are driving market growth in a variety of end-use applications, including tanks and pipes, electronics, machinery, furniture, textiles and fibers, marine applications and appliances, according to a study by the Alliance for the Polyurethanes Industry.

Polyurethane coatings continue to play a key role in the construction and transportation markets, bringing new levels of flexibility in polymer design and temperature resistance, according to the API study. In 2002, polyurethane coatings demand reached 543 million pounds in North America.

"Whether it's paint to refinish automobiles or wood floors in consumers' homes, end-users are recognizing that polyurethane coatings meet market needs," says Dick Mericle, executive director of API.

According to the 2002 End-Use Market Survey, construction applications comprise 31% and transportation applications make up 30% of the polyurethane coatings industry in the United States. Solventborne coatings dominate the U.S. market, with waterborne and urethane alkyds the next most commonly used types of coatings.

The Polyurethanes Conference 2004 is scheduled for October 18-20 in Las Vegas. It will offer more than 80 technical papers on a wide variety of topics, including appliance applications; automotive interior trim and structural RIM applications; blowing agents; catalysis; coatings, sealants and adhesives; combustibility issues; construction; elastomers and TPU; environmental, health and safety issues; footwear; furnishings; recycling; and processing innovations.