Years of intensive research and development have paid off for Baxenden Chemicals with the extension of its established range of Witcobond polyurethane dispersions (PUDs). Designed for a wide variety of applications, including leather, textile coatings and finishes, the range can be compounded with pigments, fillers, waxes and other additives to provide fully formulated coatings that are more environmentally-friendly than their solvent based counterparts, and maintain good performance properties.The new developments are a result of the company's emphasis on teams of excellence and investment in a new plant at its site in Droitwich, Worcestershire.The dedicated team of professionals is headed by section leader Karen Richardson. Karen works with Ruth Giles, the applications laboratory manager; and Peter Hassall, who was recently appointed coatings technologist.The company has also made a major investment in the latest instrumentation for the applications laboratory. New equipment includes a Werner Mathis LTSV and an LSA, small and medium sized coating machines and a laboratory scale 3-roll fabric calender and padder. A UV curing machine has recently been purchased to aid the developments of water-based UV curing PUDs and assess the advantages of this type of cross-linking system.