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Issue 05/2016

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Polyurethanes &

Polyurethanes & Elastomers Green Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) compounds Biobased TPE compounds offer plastic product manufacturers new opportunities for sustainability Global TPE compounding group HEXPOL TPE (which brings together the ELASTO and Müller Kunststoffe businesses) recently launched a new family of biobased thermoplastic elastomers to the market. The range, which is called Dryflex Green will be among the developments the group will be presenting at K’2016 in Dusseldorf. Dryflex Green is a family of biobased thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) compounds. A range of options has been developed containing raw materials from renewable resources that have been responsibly grown. Raw materials can be produced from various renewable sources, these include products and by-products from agricultural that are rich in carbohydrates, especially saccharides such as grain, sugar beet, sugar cane, etc. The biobased content could derive from different raw materials such as polymers, fillers, plasticizers or additives. The Dryflex Green family includes compounds with amounts of renewable content up to 90 % (ASTM D 6866- 12) and hardness from 30 Shore A to 50 Shore D. Klas Dannäs, Global R&D coordinator for Hexpol TPE commented, “Since we launched the Dryflex Green TPEs to the market we have seen just how diverse the requirements are for biobased products. While some of our customers have already adopted a ‘green’ strategy and are well on the road to developing sustainable products and practices, others are keen to ‘go green’ but are uncertain what this means and what the options are. Our role is to guide the market to a greater understanding of the possibilities and limitations of biobased TPEs. Many of the advantages with biobased plastics are not inherent in the material alone, but are rather a commitment to the shift to a sustainable circular economy.” “We also recognise that using renewable resources brings with it a responsibility to ensure that they are managed in an ethical way, without any impact on other global needs. In this regard, we are working closely with our suppliers to ensure they operate in a responsible manner with good environmental practices that comply with social and environmental demands”. Thomas Köppl, manager central technology and development at Hexpol TPE added, “One of the key challenges we faced was to develop low hardness TPE compounds with high levels of renewable content, since most biobased raw materials in the market are quite hard on their own. A major challenge has been to develop compounds with high renewable content, low hardness while at the same time maintaining mechanical properties at acceptable levels. The Dryflex Green TPE range divert from the other soft thermoplastic materials on the market today by including also soft materials with high level of renewable content and thereby covering a greater segment and opening up more design possibilities”. Percentage of Bio-content vs Hardness 100 % Biobased Content (ASTM D 6866) 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 Dryflex Green TPE Biobased TPA Biobased TPU Biobased TPC 10 0 20 40 60 80 100 Shore A Hardness (ISO 868) 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Shore D Hardness (ISO 868) 54 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/16] Vol. 11

Polyurethanes & Elastomers Since their initial launch, HEXPOL TPE have been working closely with suppliers and customers to trial new and emerging raw material combinations and further test the possibilities of Dryflex Green TPE compounds. As the requirements can vary greatly for each application, there is a need for highly customised formulations. Rather than a standard grade range, they have qualified a number of raw materials which will allow them to work with a modular system to build a compound that is tailored to customer specifications. The modular system will include options such as: • Percentage and type of renewable content • Hardness • Adhesion to polymers, such as PE, PP, ABS, SAN, PETand PLA for 2K multi-component applications • Colour • Filled or unfilled compounds • Mechanical behaviour such as flexibility and tensile properties • Price level • Surface finish and haptics • UV and heat stability Dryflex Green TPE compounds display mechanical and physical properties close to and comparable to TPE compounds from fossil based raw materials. The Dryflex Green compounds show very good bonding behaviour to PE and PP but there are also special grades with good bonding to ABS, PET, PLA compounds etc. Like conventional TPE compounds, Dryflex Green TPEs can easily be coloured to give vibrant and appealing visual impact. For applications wanting a look even closer to nature, organic fillers from plants, crops or trees can be used. These help to give an additional ‘organic’ appearance of products to the end-customer. Previously one of the main targets for bioplastics was mass produced single-use disposable items such as food packaging and carrier bags which were seen as the largest environmental offenders. Increasingly there is a push to also look at how bioplastics can be used in more durable items that are used longer-term. Dryflex Green TPE compounds have the potential to support this transition as they can be used in many applications that currently use conventional TPE compounds, such as: • Soft-touch grips and handles • Sealing and closures for packaging • Sports equipment • Toys and infant care • Soft-touch areas for packaging • Tools and hardware Klas Dannäs concluded “In a highly competitive marketplace, Dryflex Green TPE compounds offer plastic product manufacturers and designers a differentiator, we see that many companies are adding a ‘green’ line to their existing product portfolio. As demand for bioplastics continues to rise, over the coming years we expect to see a lot of activity as feedstocks, processes and technical capabilities continue to be developed. Hexpol TPE recognises that this is an important time in the development of the bioplastics industry. Our global teams are working with customers and supply partners to further test the possibilities of our Dryflex Green TPE compounds, as we continue to engineer progressive solutions to meet new and emerging market demands”. By: Jill Bradford Marketing & PR Manager Hexpol TPE Machester, UK 8aH18 PRICE LEVEL PROCESSING HARDNESS TENSILE BIO-CONTENT 2K COLOUR bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/16] Vol. 11 55

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