Lear Corporation, a leader in the manufacture of automotive seating and interior systems, is the first company to make parts in production with CannOxideTM, a process patented by Cannon. CannOxideTM is the industrial process that pioneered the way for using liquid Carbon Dioxide as the alternative blowing agent in flexible moulded foams.
Lear had decided to investigate the use of Carbon Dioxide with their existing projects. Their engineers found it to be an easy "drop-in" that would enable them to save raw materials, improve their process and reduce scrap. Lear chose Cannons CannOxideTM System because they felt that Cannon had the best equipment to address their existing needs and, at the time that they began researching the addition of Carbon Dioxide in the mixhead, Cannon was the only supplier that offered an industrial solution. They purchased their first CannOxideTM unit to produce foam-in-place armrests and headrest, with a second unit currently being delivered.
Blowing flexible foams with CO2 instead of water offers many benefits. First, it is a safe, non-flammable blowing agent. Second, Carbon Dioxide is an environmentally-accepted blowing agent with zero Ozone depletion potential and no global warming potential. Just as important as environmental concerns are cost issues. The use of naturally-occurring liquid Carbon Dioxide not only offers substantial savings in comparison to producing "chemical" Carbon Dioxide with Isocyanate and water, it also eliminates the extra heat and Ureas which are generated when creating "chemical" CO2.
There were numerous obstacles to hurdle in the development of an industrial solution to process Carbon Dioxide, including difficulties associated with precisely metering the liquid CO2, obtaining a good mix of chemicals and Carbon Dioxide, sequencing the addition of the CO2 and controlling the resultant froth. The result of effectively dealing with these obstacles is Cannons CannOxideTM unit.
The system, utilizing a patented metering group (including the Cannon DXP pump), allows for instantaneous, precise and repetitive dispensing of liquid CO2. This pump is coupled with a frequency-controlled motor, a flow transducer, a special sealing system, a mixing head and safety features to create the stand-alone unit.
The most recent improvement that Cannon has incorporated into the CannOxideTM System is a modified Cannon FPL mixing head in place of a special mixhead designed solely for this application. By utilizing the FPL mixing head, it is now possible to address applications for small-sized parts. Automotive headrests and armrests are just two of the new applications now able to be successfully produced with Cannons CannOxideTM technology.
* FPL: Cannon patents.98/021