Growing new TPE compounds

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Hexpol TPE Hexpol TPE has additionally developed compounds using organic fillers and natural fibres from plants, crops or trees, including cork.

Hexpol AB has put a cork in its sustainable products.

The Swedish materials firm’s thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) compounding group has added new compounds to its Dryflex Green family of bio-based TPEs, creating more opportunities for sustainability.

The bio-based content in Dryflex Green compounds can derive from various raw materials such as polymers, fillers, plasticizers or additives. For applications wanting a look even closer to nature, Hexpol has developed compounds using organic fillers and natural fibers from plants, crops or trees, including cork.

“The use of cork and natural fibers helps to give an additional ‘organic’ appearance,” global R&D coordinator Klas Dannäs said in a news release. “With these new developments…we have created more design and sustainability possibilities.”

Company officals added that cork is a natural product which comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. The removal of the bark does not harm the trees and the bark is only harvested after the first 20 years of growth, they said. Each cork tree provides on average 16 harvests over its 150-200 year lifespan.

Dryflex Green TPE compounds can be processed using standard thermoplastic processing methods, including injection molding and extrusion. Typical applications include soft-touch grips and handles, tools and hardware, sports equipment and packaging.

Hexpol’s North American office is in Burton, Ohio. Its North American assets include compounder RheTech Inc. of Whitmore Lake, Mich. and compounder and mixer Gold Key Processing Inc. of Middlefield, Ohio.