Forward-Thinking Industrial Product Companies Are Recognizing the Benefits of U.S. Soy
Long before a company’s industrial product can be promoted to buyers, it must prove its mettle by passing extensive and rigorous laboratory testing. From compression and heat tolerance to flexural and tensile testing machines, industrial product scientists use an array of specialized equipment to substantiate a product’s claims and validate its performance before it can be moved toward commercialization.
Each year, more of these scientists and product development teams are recognizing the potential and evaluating the benefits of soy as an altogether new or alternative ingredient to replace traditional petrochemical-based elements.
PoreShield™ Recognizes the Power of Soy
Through research at Purdue University, partially funded by the Iowa Soybean Association, soy methyl ester was identified as a possible solution ingredient to provide durability to concrete for the Indiana Department of Transportation. The Iowa Soybean Association began using the name PoreShield to brand the technology.
“Most sealants, or similar concrete durability products, create a coating on the surface which can wear away over time. The soy methyl ester delivered a combination of hydrophobicity and low surface tension that allows PoreShield to penetrate deep into concrete’s pores,” said Paul Imbrok, technical director at PoreShield. “In our case, soybean oil wasn’t just a replacement for a different oil in an existing technology, it was a completely different approach to concrete protection.”
Officials at PoreShield found value in the cost-effectiveness of soybean oil, its broad geographic supply chain that makes it readily available in large quantities and the fact that, for their customers like county engineers who battle with limited crews and budgets, PoreShield requires no training to apply or costly PPE for applicators.
The Ultimate Goal
Research and development of soybean oil-based technologies have advanced over the last decade. To the unknowing eye, it may seem like there is no difference between products made with or without soybean oil, but this could not be further from the truth. As more industries place greater emphasis on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) pillars, soybean oil is being recognized for its performance benefits, its renewability and its sustainability profile.
“Soybean oil-based products are finding a more natural fit within corporate business models than products reengineered purely for the sake of being ‘green,’” said Imbrok. “As the use of soy continues to expand as a product ingredient, I believe the door will open to additional research and development ideas that utilize soybean oil-based technology.”
Imbrok’s insights are supported by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s recent decision to source sustainably produced U.S. soybean oil and phase out petroleum-derived oils from its products by 2040.
Given the wide availability of U.S. Soy and the trend of expanding U.S. soybean oil crush capacity combine to make integrating soy into a product line much simpler from a supply chain perspective. Corporate partnerships aligned with soy crush plants and biodiesel manufacturers could also lead to reduced manufacturing, packaging and shipping costs.
“There may be similar opportunities for other industries to reduce risks across their supply chains and strengthen their manufacturing margins by sourcing U.S. soybean oil,” concludes Imbrok.
Commercial products on the market today with soy as an ingredient number in the thousands. That list continues to grow thanks to the strategic investments of the soy checkoff – the organization implementing research, promotion and education programs on behalf of America’s 515,000 soybean farmers.
Aligning an organization or company partnerships that lead to the commercialization of soy-based products continues to be a fundamental goal of the soy checkoff. That goal was nearing fruition when CRAFCO, INC., a leading manufacturer in quantity and diversity of packaged pavement preservation products for asphalt and concrete, expressed interest in purchasing PoreShield.
“PoreShield represents the next generation of pavement preservation products: safer, easier to use and more effective,” says Lisa Zentner, Vice President of Specialty Products for Crafco. “With this acquisition, Crafco is poised to enter new markets, helping reduce the burden of preserving concrete in a variety of applications. PoreShield is truly the future of concrete preservation.”
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