Kraiburg TPE advances lightweight solutions for consumer applications

Lanxess opens tech centre in Shanghai

Germany headquartered Kraiburg TPE, a global manufacturer of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), is advancing custom-engineered materials in consumer and other key applications with new TPE compounds.

For consumer applications, Kraiburg TPE’s new Thermolast K Lightweight series compounds are, it says, the material solution for weight-reduced applications with adhesion to polyamides or polyolefins and excellent compression set.

With various applications in daily life, the compounds feature weight reduction up to 35 % compared to standard TPS; 30 % compared to TPV; and 50 % compared to PVC. It exhibits adhesion to polyamides (PA6, PA66) in two-component injection moulding (LW/PA Series); and polyolefinic materials (e.g. PP, TPV, TPS) in injection molding and coextrusion (LW/UV and LW/CS/UV Series)

The compounds also have an excellent compression set; as well as demonstrate reduced shrinkage and warpage of parts; and closed and uniform surface structure. They are available in black colours, natural and pre-coloured variants possible, and can be processed on standard machinery and equipment.

Typical Applications include personal protective equipment, seals and gaskets, handles and overmouldings, stoppers and bumpers, functional elements, and design elements.

According to Project leader Martina Hetterich, ”These new, innovative Thermolast K Lightweight TPE materials show not only a significant weight reduction but also present an extraordinarily good compression set. They also offer a wide range of options for custom-engineered material adaptions, e.g. coloration possibilities.”

In a related development, Kraiburg TPE has announced its innovative collaboration with a Southern Germany-headquartered premium vehicle manufacturer, which resulted in the creation of an outstanding solution. Future-oriented, sustainable and efficient, the new material was developed in close cooperation with the OEM and is now moving into series production, according to Kraiburg TPE. To date, the highpoint of these joint material development activities has been winning the Best of Award at the 18th Materialica Design Awards.

Installed in a wide range of locations within a vehicle, seals are used, among other things, to prevent ingress of water into vehicle interiors through doors, engine compartments, trunk lids or other areas. However, contact and movement between rubber components and those made of materials such as glass, plastic or metal can often result in unwelcome noise. In severe cases, movement is so inhibited that components begin to slide across each other in a jerky fashion known as the stick-slip effect.

The conventional way to eliminate the irritating noises caused by the stick-slip effect has been to add an anti-friction coating. However, it is sometimes impossible to apply these coatings in a completely reliable way, and they also tend to deteriorate as time goes by. When this happens, these irritating noises emerge at a later stage of a vehicle’s lifecycle, bringing a deterioration in quality that OEMs are keen to avoid. A further disadvantage of widely-used tribological anti-friction coatings is that they prevent separation of materials in end-of-life vehicles, severely impairing their recyclability.

The new approach removes the glaring disadvantage of previous solutions: thanks to the custom-designed material, adapted component and modified material, there is no need for an additional coating. Further advantages include the depot effect (ensuring long-term anti-frictional properties), maximum freedom of design, greater flexibility during processing, fewer processing stages, and savings in both weight and costs. On top of all this, the thermoplastic elastomer used in the new solution can be recovered for in-process recycling.

An overview of the key data:

  • Siding friction coefficient of the component reduced by up to 90%

  • Abrasion reduced by 50%

  • Material up to 100% recoverable for in-process recycling


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