Concentrol is a chemical solutions company that works for multiple industrial sectors through its four divisions: Performance Materials, Food Processing Aids, Additives, and Adhesives.

Within the Performance Materials division, the most successful solutions on the market today are the release agents, a chemical specialty for the final application of the product that has a great added value for customers.

These products are used to create molded polyurethane parts, elements present in a wide variety of sectors and applications. They are common in the manufacture of products such as mattresses, furniture, panels and building blocks, footwear, polyurethane systems, electrical applications and automotive, among others.

There are a number of critical factors that need to be taken into account when deciding on the use of a particular release agent. These are:

  • Quantity of VOCs

The use of release agents involves the emission of different grades of Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs) and aerosols, one of the most common pollutants in the atmosphere. One of the most agile options for reducing VOC emissions is to change the release agent with low solids content to a ready-to-use concentrate.

  • Flammability

In the use of release agents, the possibility of an explosive atmosphere (ATEX) must always be considered. This fact determines the regulation of the facilities where the work is carried out, the danger according to the flash point (Class) and other aspects related to the transport and storage of the products. 

  • Toxicity

The products involved in the formulation of release agents have a certain degree of toxicity. This is especially true for those that refer to tin compounds, and this has a direct impact on the work environment.

  • Final impact on the environment

Working with release agents can result in the release of tin compounds and other potentially hazardous materials into the environment.

Release agents can be solvent based, water based or hybrid based. Some time ago, all chemical producers used solvent-based release agents, but over time, the sustainability of these solutions began to be questioned.


Water-based release agents, the most sustainable solution

For the manufacture of polyurethane (PU) foams, experts recommend setting aside the use of solvent-based release agents and opting for water-based ones, which are more sustainable. However, there are certain aspects of water-based release agents that have some limitations, and this makes some manufacturers still reluctant to take the plunge and use them in their production plants.

The mold release industry is constantly growing and developing, which means that better solutions are being offered that reduce the limitations of these materials. Therefore, these solutions are getting closer to the results of traditional solvent release agents.

Following the industry trend, Concentrol’s R&D team is also working hard to improve its release agent solutions. That is why they have created a comparative study of water-based products designed for the release of cold-cured polyurethane foam, in order to give the same behavior and finish as solvent-based products.

The summary of the findings of this study can be found in the following summary table:



Given the results of the comparative study, the team has been able to get an overview of the strengths and also the aspects to be improved in its range of release agents. The main feature to consider after the comparison, however, is related to the issue of sustainability. In order to continue caring for the planet and the health of workers, Concentrol will continue to commit to water-based release agents, which are the most sustainable solution.