K Special: Hexpol TPE to launch “circular” thermoplastic elastomers
Swedish compounder Hexpol TPE will highlight its thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) under the banner “soft, safe and sustainable” at K 2019 plastic & rubber trade show later this week.
The company will launch its Dryflex Circular TPE with recycled content to address the increasing concerns over the environmental impact of its products.
“We’ve noticed an increase in enquiries for recycled materials that support a circular economy model as our customers have more demanding ‘green’ goals,” explained Kirsty Wood, development technologist and sustainability lead at Hexpol TPE’s UK site.
“We share that feeling of responsibility and are pleased to present our growing range of TPEs with recycled content.”
The Dryflex Circular range is structured into different series based on the recyclate source, to help give clarity about material origins.
The series currently include post-industrial recyclates (PIR), which are diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process, and post-consumer materials (PCR), which are generated by households or commercial facilities.
The materials are available in a range of hardnesses from 40 Shore A, with recycled content up to around 80 % by weight, according to Hexpol TPE.
The Malmö-based company sold its first recycled-based compounds in 2005. The materials were originally developed to address demands in the automotive industry, which was obliged to use increasing quantities of recyclate and operate under the EU end-of-life vehicle directive.
“The plastics and recycling industries have changed greatly during this time, to meet changing demands we’ve created the Dryflex Circular TPE portfolio,” said Klas Dannäs, global R&D manager Hexpol TPE commenting on the new grades.
The new formulations, he went on to say, include grades based on a range of recyclate sources and the company is investigating emerging technologies.
The Dryflex PCR grades are currently only available in black. They are targeted at automotive exterior applications such as mudflaps, side-steps and wheel-arch liners.
The grades can also be used for outdoor equipment such as lawnmower wheels or safety barriers.
The Dryflex PIR grades are available in a natural colour, giving additional design possibilities, and are suitable for use in consumer goods, sports equipment, footwear, household and automotive applications.