The advantages of thermoplastic elastomers can best be explained by comparing thermoplastic elastomers with thermoset elastomers.
Producing traditional thermoset elastomers comprises four steps:
First, a compound has to be mixed. Then, the product is formed in the second step. In the third step, the material has to be vulcanised. And finally, the excess edge has to be removed. This makes for a slow and complex process.
Products made from thermoplastic elastomers are, on the other hand, made on standard plastic injection mould machines. In that process, TPE products are produced in a single step and do not need to be refinished, shortening cycle times and lowering production costs.
Furthermore, waste arising from production of thermoset elastomers is (largely) non-reusable. Thermoplastic materials, on the other hand, are completely recyclable, resulting in less material waste.
REACH and PAHs
TPEs are very pure substances, compounded in a controlled environment. This allows us to know precisely which contents and plasticisers are used, making it easy to meet the increasingly stricter REACH requirements.
We can also thereby guarantee the exclusion of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Various types of TPE are also available that meet all kinds of requirements, such as those for toys, food or drinking water.
Colour and scent
The optical and aromatic properties of TPEs can easily be manipulated. In contract to elastomers, TPEs can easily be coloured (in smaller batches as well), making them perfect for visual and design elements as well as technical applications.
The unique scent of TPEs is minimal, meaning that TPEs can also be used for a wide variety of food applications. Aromatic additives can also be added to give a product a certain scent.