The last plenary meeting of the TPE-Forum network took place on 13 February 2019 at the Leibniz-Institute for Polymer Research, Dresden, Germany. The agenda included among others a look at the status in standardisation of TPE, the position of TPE in the CAMPUS database, TPE in drinking water applications, an update on TPE-related activities in education and training of the network partners SKZ, VDI, and WDK, as well as the introduction of a new book project covering TPE basics. The day was filled with fruitful and constructive discussions and was rounded up with a highly interesting tour through some of the technical centers of the IPF (Departments of Processing, Reactive Processing and Elastomers).
There are several working groups within the TPE-Forum dedicated to advancing the standardisation of TPE. Since the founding of the TPE-Forum network in 2016 many successful steps towards an adaequate standardisation of TPE materials have already been made. The drafts for TPS are meanwhile passed to Volker Krings, wdk, for initiation of the standardisation process. Since mid-2018 Krings leads the Standard Committee Elastomer Technology in the German association DIN (NET). The draft for the TPV standardisation is also already well advanced. A finalisation is expected for the near future.
The group also intensively discussed the topic of necessary changes to the current TPE nomenclature according to DIN EN ISO 18064. Günter Scholz, BASF, presented the results from the latest meetings of the relevant working group. Main changes compared to the current standard are proposed for TPO classification and TPS compounds as well. Further, some simplifications are suggested. It is planned to form a DIN committee to incorporate the changes into a new version.
Bernhard Ulmer, SKZ, informed the audience that a new intermediate recommendation for TPE in contact with drinking water will be published in the near future. Main contents are the separation of physically and chemically crosslinked TPE. So-called physically crosslinked TPE (TPS, TPU, TPC, TPO, and TPSi) will be classified as “thermoplastics” and thus need to comply with the EU 10/2011 which may be used as a positive list for formulation. TPV is currently not listed in the recommendation but will be treated as “elastomers” which are regulated in the “Elastomerleitlinie”.
In the field of education and training many projects have already been realised. The first courses started at SKZ. Some new courses are planned to start in 2019, e.g. standards for and testing of TPE. All events are listed in the events calendar of the website of the network (www.tpe-forum.com)
Other points of discussion included the presentation of a new book project on TPE basics authored by Günter Scholz and published by Dr. Gupta Publishing and measures to further promote the network in the national and international TPE world.
The next meeting is scheduled for 28 November 2019 and will be hosted again by the Plastics Center SKZ in Würzburg in Southern Germany. The participation is free-of-charge and guests are highly welcome.