TPE Magazine international

Ausgabe 03 | 2018


Reach for the stars or cling to straws …

Plastic is my daily bread. No, I’m not a fish at sea. But I am working – just like you – in this industry, which is currently being pilloried worldwide.

In the course of this hunt, we notice in bewilderment the discussion on banning small and very small plastic parts, which the EU Commission has kicked off with petty actionism. Instead of reaching for the stars, Brussels clings to straws and cotton swabs. It is, of course, clear to everyone that the banishment of such plastic parts does not solve the problem. Such actions are eyewashing and hinder the development of sustainable solutions, as they obscure the real cause: The problem is not the plastic part, but the hand that drops it. In this part of the world, this often happens out of laziness, because the way to the next dustbin is “so far away”. However, billions of people worldwide have no access to a functioning infrastructure for waste collection and recycling.

The plastics industry and its associations are making an important contribution to solving this problem with a wide range of commendable initiatives. The current 4th Marine Litter Solutions Progress Report* has a whole series of encouraging success stories to report. They range from the Eco-Ranger Program in Malaysia, which is held in primary and secondary schools and which is designed to educate students about waste management, over to the so-called Net-Works project that has successfully developed a community-based supply chain for ghost fishing nets in the central Philippines, to the zero pellet loss initiative of the plastics supply chain in Germany. Reading the report is always worthwhile and also provides a good argumentation aid for companies in the plastics industry that are under pressure to justify themselves.

The proportion of thermoplastic elastomers in marine waste is likely to be low. In the whole discussion they are only a small part of the problem but offer promising approaches to solving the issue. This applies, for example, to their recyclability, which offers in many applications an advantage over conventional rubber solutions. A completely different and equally exciting approach to the topic of “Recycling & TPEs” comes from the area of waste tyre recycling. Exciting scientific and industrial projects have been initiated worldwide to use ground tire rubber in TPVs. In the discussion about the substitution of rubber by TPEs, it was repeatedly stated that although the potential of TPEs is great, it is not sufficient to revolutionise tire production. This is certainly true, but if TPEs can make a (small) contribution to a sustainable tire recycling, that would certainly be a good step. We will report on successful projects of this kind in the next issues.

With kind regards
Stephanie Waschbüsch




A glance at Covestro’s TPU business – Interview with Dr. Thomas Roemer, Head of Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPU), BU Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties

Since January 2018 the Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPU) business within Covestro is under new leadership. Dr. Thomas Roemer has taken over the responsibilities of Marius Wirtz, who changed to the position of Senior Vice President, PUR Commercial Operations APAC at Covestro. TPE Magazine had the chance to speak to Dr. Thomas Roemer about his new role and the innovations in the TPU portfolio. 


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Technical consulting for the global automotive and sealing industries – A portrait of the company HR-MoPrIn GmbH Huber-Röder – Molds Process Innovation

HR-MoPrIn was founded by Ralf Huber and Thomas Röder in Losheim am See,
a village close to the French border in the South West of Germany. Both started their careers in the automotive and sealing industry at an early stage. After his training as a car mechanic at Daimler-Benz, Ralf Huber moved into sealing solutions for the automotive industry. He gained a wide range of experience in the fields of EPDM and TPE mould technology, punching technology and process optimisation at companies such as Hutchinson Ela-Tech and SaarGummi Group. Thomas Röder did an apprenticeship as a tool mechanic specialising in mould technology at SaarGummi. He worked in the fields of EPDM/TPE mould development (automotive seals), punching technology, global supplier management, project support, prototype development, global equipment procurement, TPE and EPDM presses, and standardisation. Roeder holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. After working several years for SaarGummi, Huber and Roeder finally dared to take the bold step toward self employment and founded HR-MoPrIn GmbH in 2016.


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Portfolio for automotive and consumer applications expanded – Kraiburg TPE introduces new grades with focus on processing, adhesion and surface properties

The 26th edition of Fakuma will take place from 16 – 20 October 2018 in Friedrichshafen at the Lake Constance. In non-K years this event is the biggest and most important trade show for plastics processing in Germany. The German TPE compounder Kraiburg TPE announced that it will highlight at this fair its market-driven and customer-oriented development expertise. In addition to current applications, the company will be showcasing two new series for automotive interior and consumer applications.


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A sourcing and information platform for the TPE industry in China and worldwide

DZBH New Material Technology Services Co., Ltd. is a global material and technology service provider for the thermoplastic elastomers industry. The Chinese company was established in 1998 and is headquartered in Nanjing with subsidiaries in Hong Kong, the Silicon Valley (Palo Alto) and Houston.


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TPV for 2K molding applications with cross-linked EPDM

Thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPV) belong to the family of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE). Important areas of use for these materials are the automotive and transportation sectors. Typical applications in these fields include corner molds, end caps or sealing parts co-molded onto cross-linked EPDM rubber seals. This paper discusses the use of AlfaterXL TPV grades from Albis Plastic for automotive 2K molding applications with special focus on adhesion to EPDM. As these parts are usually exposed to a broad temperature range a very good ageing resistance under different temperatures is required. This paper will therefore also present the results of accelerated ageing tests.


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TPE for corner moldings and glass encapsulation – Current developments

Good adhesion, excellent sealing and sliding properties, a safe and tight encapsulation, and a perfect surface appearance throughout a car’s life cycle: the requirements for thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) for corner molding of EPDM and TPE door sealings and glass encapsulations are challenging. Compared to thermoset rubber, TPEs have multiple advantages such as ease of processing, short cycle times, and no flockmelting, which made them an industry standard for this kind of applications. Allod supplies a range of TPE grades for these applications under the brand name Allruna. 


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Styrenic block copolymer with high damping properties

Hybrar is a triblock co-polymer having polystyrene end blocks and a vinyl rich poly-diene mid-block. Due to its peak tan δ near room temperature, the material exhibits exceptional vibration damping and shock absorption properties. When blended with Hybrar, the damping properties of a polystyrene or polyolefin can be greatly ­enhanced. This results in novel compounds that meet the demand of the automotive industry for high performance damping materials, e.g. for applications in e-cars.
This paper discusses the use of Hybrar for high performance automotive damping ­applications.


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Smart TPEs based on PVDF and HNBR – Processing and structure-property relationship

Novel smart thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) with very high extensibility were prepared by blending polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) with hydrogenated nitrile butadiene rubber (HNBR) at an appropriate ratio and their processing-structure-property relationship was investigated. Although the rubber phase was found to be dispersed in the matrix of PVDF for all compositions, morphology was shear sensitive and changed significantly after each processing step. Droplet like structure was observed after the mixing in an internal mixer and compression molding, which changed to the lamellar structure after milling and injection molding. The compression molded sample exhibited very high extensibility (~ 1,600 % elongation at break for 30/70 PVDF/HNBR blend) and a tensile strength of ~ 6 MPa due to the formation of a strong interface. The elongation at break was much higher than any of the TPEs reported so far. Theoretical calculation of rubber particle size was also in agreement with the experimental observation. Dissipative particle dynamics simulation was run to capture the morphology, where HNBR chains were more sensitive to the shear force, than the PVDF chains. The electromechanical sensitivity of the blend was 14.3 MPa·s, much better than the existing reported elastomeric actuator as well as pristine PVDF. Dynamic vulcanization gave further improvement in tensile strength and tension set properties. 


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