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Teknor Apex Rolls Out New Styrenic TPE Molding Grades for Auto Interiors
New grades are reported to provide higher flow than TPVs and improved cost/performance balance
PAWTUCKET, R.I.—Teknor Apex Company recently announced that it has expanded options for injection molders of automotive interior parts by developing styrene block copolymer (SBC) thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) with alternative cost/performance profiles to those of widely used thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs). The company reported that its development of the styrenic TPE grades is “in keeping with its mission of offering multiple compound choices for the same application.”
The styrenic TPEs have reduced packing and cooling times, the company said, and are offered alongside TPVs in the company’s Sarlink® range of elastomers. The new Sarlink ML-1100 Series and ML-1600 Series styrenic TPEs are general-purpose and enhanced-performance offerings, respectively, and are both available in a wide range of hardness levels. Both series are reported to exhibit higher flow than comparable TPV grades, enabling them to be molded into more complex, intricate geometries and to improve cycles. The improvement comes through reduced packing and cooling times. Particularly in applications where TPVs could be considered “over-engineered” with respect to performance requirements, the new styrenic TPEs also provide cost advantages, Teknor Apex Co. reported.
Recommended by Teknor Apex for such automotive interior applications as bin mats, cup holder liners, and soft-touch grips for knobs and buttons, the styrenic TPEs are already in commercial use in applications for Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. The company reports that the Sarlink ML-1100 Series are UV-stable, resist abrasion and scratching, are easily colored, provide good surface appearance and tactile properties, and exhibit low fogging and odor. Unlike many TPVs, they do not require pre-drying prior to molding.
The Sarlink ML-1100 series are general-purpose grades that are said to provide the best balance of cost and performance, and are recommended for cost-sensitive applications. They are denser than comparable TPVs, with a specific gravity of 1.19. Compounds are available with hardnesses from 30 Shore A to 40 Shore D.
Sarlink ML-1600 grades have a specific gravity of 1.0. They are more similar to TPVs in terms of density and properties, but offer a better cost/performance balance, the company reports. With apparent shear viscosity values lower than those of Sarlink ML-1100 compounds, they are said to exhibit even better flow properties. Compounds are available with hardnesses from 40 to 90 Shore A.
“While some automotive interior applications require the outstanding physical properties of TPVs, our new Sarlink ML-1100 and ML-1600 Series styrenic TPEs exhibit excellent performance in less demanding applications while providing advantages in cost and processing,” said Jeffrey E. Dickerhoof, senior marketing and sales manager for the Thermoplastic Elastomers Division of Teknor Apex, in a statement. “By offering both styrenic TPE and TPV elastomers, our goal is to help the customer to select the best possible material for an application, and we intend to extend this ‘polymer neutral’ approach by soon offering styrenic alternatives to TPVs in automotive exterior uses as well.”
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