Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are used in many applications as they are pleasing both to the eye and to the touch. They are resistant to many different media and have different hardnesses. They adhere excellently to thermoplastics and feature optimal sealing, damping and anti-slip properties. Additionally, they are suitable for all processing methods used for conventional plastics. At the K show, the TPE specialist Kraiburg TPE presented various customer applications for the medical, consumer, industry and automotive sectors and CEO Franz Hinterecker reported on the current business situation and future plans of the company.
At the occasion of the K show, Franz Hinterecker, CEO, Kraiburg TPE, said: “I am satisfied with current levels of business and we are continuing our strategy of expansion and innovation. These are our two big goals”.
He continued: “We are expanding in South America and India in particular although we know that India is a difficult market. We were too optimistic about market volumes in the country. The economic situation, coupled with an extremely high bureaucracy, are not making things easy for us, but we are pushing ahead boldly. The key factors are finding the right customers who are willing to pay more for good quality”.
The company supplies its customers in the Asian market through a large-scale network. Customers from China are served from the offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Wuhan. In addition to production plants in Germany and the USA, Kraiburg TPE has also a plant in Malaysia.
From its plant in Duluth, Georgia, USA, Kraiburg TPE is developing its activities and expanding its sales organisation in the Latin American market. Logistics services such as transport and warehousing are continuously being improved with the goal of delivering products speedily and reliably to customers especially in Mexico and South America. The warehouse and production capacities at the plant in Waldkraiburg, Germany are also currently being expanded.
On the question what innovations Kraiburg TPE is presenting at the K show, Hinterecker gave this response: “As far as innovation is concerned, we have further extended our portfolio. Previously we only had products in the TPE-S range whereas now we are entering other TPE sectors with our Hipex, Copec and For-Tec E product groups. An example is the Thermolast developments we have made to the secure grip for walking aids and we have also improved our customer services.”
For many people with limited mobility, an elbow crutch is a necessity and makes everyday life easier at the same time. The newest walking aid of the leading French developer FDI France Medical, ErgoDynamic, has anti-slip properties and is highly comfortable due to Thermolast K compounds from Kraiburg TPE. A shock absorbing mechanism integrated in the material softens each step and protects the joints.
Other exhibits in the medical and pharmaceutical sector included infusion bags and caps, inhaler equipment, etc. The Thermoplast M compounds have good mechanical properties, and feature different key characteristics. Kraiburg TPE developed series with low sliding friction, for instance, or with good resealing properties, with a good compression set or with good adhesion to technical thermoplastics.
Another innovation included a bio-waste disposal container from Biologic made with thermoplastic elastomers from Kraiburg. Biologic is the only manufacturer of bio-waste filter covers who has been granted a patent for the system. The Thermolast K material was chosen to provide a tight seal for its bio-waste filter cover. Due to its flexibility and weather-resistance, the compounds are well-suited for outdoor areas and maintain a tight seal even under large temperature fluctuations as the robust material is said to withstand temperatures between -42 and +125°C. Unpleasant odours which sometimes occur at separate collection of bio-waste in summer can be broken down by the filter material in the waste container cover while the tight seal of the cover forms a barrier against pests.
Another consumer application was presented by Lars Goldmann, Head of Corporate Marketing at Kraiburg TPE. He presented an overshoe for surfers developed with Wet Grip compounds by a Korean sales partner two years ago and promoted at a fair in September 2013.
A reusable water bottle developed by California-based Vapur, one of the world’s leading designers of flexible, reusable, handheld products, features a custom cap made of Thermoplast K FD/n compounds. The new Anti-Bottle – designed to stand upright when full and folded or even rolled when empty – is noted for its wide-ranging sustainability advantages over rigid bottles including reduced energy and transportation costs. The patented product is also BPA-free and phthalate-free.
In the industrial sector Kraiburg TPE showcased applications of drinking water filters and showerheads. The compounds are said to be extremely elastic, feature a smooth surface that prevents dirt and limestone deposits and cater for attractive product designs, as all dyed versions are also compliant with the strict European drinking water standards.
The TPE series for automotive applications offers a solution that fulfils the stringent requirements for the automotive interior and is also suitable for exterior applications.