On 22 July, The German Plastics Center (SKZ) invites to the second session of its online TPE conference. Due to Corona, the established industry event, which was originally planned to take place as a two-day event in Nuremberg in June, was redesigned into a series of twelve short online sessions of 90 minutes each. The individual sessions are recorded and can be accessed digitally by participants at any time.
For the central topics of networking, contact maintenance and contact building, SKZ also offers a new Match Making Tool, in which participants can enter their profile, specify their industry, define their offer and search criteria – similar to a partner exchange – and then use this tool to meet and network with their so-called „Best Matches“ or with all other participants.
„What we find really great for networking and exchanging ideas is the speed dating function and the so-called Virtual Round Tables on selected TPE specialist topics,“ says Sylvia Schmidt, responsible for sales in the Network and Event business unit of the SKZ, explaining the tool. „It was important to us at SKZ to give the TPE community the opportunity to stay in contact and network with each other in a virus-free, easy and target-oriented way despite corona restrictions“, adds Bettina Dempewolf, Head of Network and Event at SKZ.
However, the organisers of the SKZ conference did not cancel completely the personal exchange: At the end of the online series, there will be a joint dinner and beer tasting in Nuremberg on the fringe of German Rubber Conference / International Rubber Conference 2021 in Nuremberg in July 2021, which is also included in the participation fee of 350 EUR.
„Already the opening event on 23 June was very promising. Several online tools were used at once, which is why the event was rated as entertaining and almost no dropouts were recorded,“ said Dr. Guenter Scholz, team leader TPU product development at BASF and chairman of the event. The technical presentation on „TPE in eye protection applications“ was given by Dr. Marco Wacker, head of the Eye/Eye Protection business unit at UVEX Arbeitsschutz GmbH since 2016, where he has overall responsibility for the entire value chain in the product categories helmets, hearing protection, respiratory protection and eye protection.
Outlook for Session 2 on 22 July
For the second session, the participants can expect Prof. Dr. Norbert Vennemann, Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, and Dr. Thomas Wagner, Kraiburg TPE, as speakers.
09:30 a.m. Welcome and briefing, Bettina Dempewolf (SKZ)
09:35 a.m. High Performance TPE open up new possibilities and applications, Dr. Thomas Wagner (Kraiburg TPE)
10:00 a.m. Discussion: Thermoplastic elastomers at a glance, Prof. Dr. Vennemann (University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück)
10:45 a.m. Speed dating
10:55 a.m. Final moderation
11:00 a.m. End
High Performance TPE open up new possibilities and applications
Dr. Thomas Wagner, Kraiburg TPE
The term „High Performance TPE“ gives the impression that this TPE is the solution to all problems in the world of TPE applications. However, the past has repeatedly shown that on closer inspection there is and cannot be a „one size fits all“ solution. Kraiburg TPE has therefore broken new ground, and is not looking for the one high performance TPE, but has created a modular system of basic technologies. In his presentation, Dr. Thomas Wagner will explain how this „tool box“ has been used to develop innovative, high-performance materials which, for example, have significantly increased temperature and chemical resistance, or which, with their very low density, help to reduce the weight of components in a wide range of applications.
Thermoplastic elastomers – Multifunctional, sustainable and indispensable for tomorrow’s technologies
Prof. Dr. Norbert Vennemann, Osnabrück University, Germany
Since their market launch in the mid-1980s, thermoplastic elastomers are established in many application areas and have shown above-average growth. The initial development goal for TPE was to combine the performance properties (soft and elastic) of conventional elastomers (rubber) with the advantages of the easy processability of thermoplastics. In addition to the substitution of rubber, e.g. in many sealing applications, completely new applications have also emerged, especially in hard-soft combinations with thermoplastics. The mechanical, thermal and physico-chemical properties of TPE can be tailored to the respective requirements in a wide range by means of the formulation or composition. In technical components, TPE often fulfils multifunctional tasks, thus enabling functional integration and particularly cost-effective and intelligent solutions. Another advantage over conventional elastomers (rubber) is the good recyclability of TPE.
In addition to the easy recycling of production waste, TPE components can be easily reprocessed into new components after use. This aspect is of particular importance in terms of improved sustainability and the intended recycling management and gives TPE an additional boost. TPE is therefore indispensable as a particularly sustainable, multifunctional material for many modern technologies. The presentation will provide an overview of the different structures of the individual TPE classes according to DIN EN ISO 18064. Starting with the structure and morphology, the characteristic properties and application limits of the various TPE classes are presented and typical application possibilities are shown.
The TPEs available so far can be divided into two different categories, block copolymers and polymer blends. In the case of polymer blends, a distinction must also be made between simple blends (e.g. TPO) and thermoplastic vulcanisates (TPV). The latter are produced by a reactive mixing process known as dynamic vulcanisation. While the structure and properties of the block copolymers are already determined during synthesis in the reactor, the morphology of the simple polymer blends and thermoplastic vulcanisates is formed during compounding. In addition, there are TPEs based on block copolymers (e.g. SEBS) which are compounded with other polymers (e.g. PP) and other additives. When compounding TPE, thermodynamic and rheological boundary conditions must be taken into account and suitable process parameters have to be selected so that the desired properties can be achieved for a given formulation. A basic understanding of the morphology formation during compounding is therefore an important prerequisite for the optimisation and further development of TPE. Some time ago TPEs with increased temperature and oil resistance were introduced to the market. With these so-called Super- TPEs it should be possible to substitute special elastomers based on e.g. ACM, ECO, HNBR, or FKM. Although the properties are promising, the market penetration of these special TPE has in many cases fallen short of expectations. This could result in new chances for a new development that has recently been presented and launched on the market. The so-called thermoplastic elastomer hybrids (TEH) are also to be used for components with increased temperature and media resistance. What is the secret of these novel materials and what are the differences in structure and composition to the previously known TPE? This is an exciting question that will be examined in the lecture. Finally, the sustainability of TPEs will be discussed and it will be shown that TPEs are future-proof and indispensable for modern technologies.