MAASTRICHT, Netherlands—Glenn Wright, president of Dow Chemical Co.'s polyurethanes and formulated systems business, revealed that nearly a third of the company's sales come from new products in conversation at UTECH Europe 2015 in Maastricht.
He said that polyurethanes are being driven by market participation and innovation within key industries where the material is the preferred option. He added that Dow's annual research and development spending is currently $1.7 billion.
The Midland, Mich.-based company is investing in new technologies with 30 percent of the revenue to fund that innovation coming from the sale of new products, according to Wright.
Wright pointed to insulation and comfort industries, adding that in both sectors polyurethane is the material that is most often lending itself to innovation and new products. In insulation, polyurethanes satisfy the standard for better energy conservation being pushed by Governments around the world.
The material is also key to the efficiency of industrial processes in that polyurethane coatings are key to preserving the integrity of infrastructure.
“The diversity and scope of applications will continue to grow and there will be a broader scope of applications where PU will be the preferred material,” the executive said.
“Without innovation and without growth of markets, those markets can be over supplied—what is happening with oil is a good example of that.”
He also said the company is investing heavily in plants—for example its joint venture with Saudi Aramco in Sadara—but that this had not seen funding diverted from research and development. Investment can be made because the company is “not seeing the spinning declines that we saw in 2008 and 2009.”
But, said Wright, while money is being targeted at physical asset creation, research and development “has the same top priority as capacity growth. We cannot trade one investment off for the other.”