Plastics News staff reporter Frank Esposito reported the following items from Performance Elastomers & TPEs 2001, held May 14-15 in Cleveland.
Big Three automaker increases use of TPV
Big Three automaker General Motors expects to use thermoplastic vulcanizates in 60 vehicle closures-sealing parts for its vehicles by 2010.
TPV usage in parts such as glass run channels and belt strips ``is in its infancy, but is progressing rapidly,'' said Denise Baker, GM's commodity manager for rubber.
TPVs can offer 20 percent reduction in mass, as well as design advantages and recyclability when compared to ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber, which currently dominates sealing applications, according to GM staff project engineer Imad Bazzi.
A majority of GM's Tier 1 suppliers have programs underway to add TPV technology, but some have done so reluctantly because of their familiarity with EPDM and because of the capital investment required to make the switch, Baker added.
GM engineers later this year will submit a list to company management of other automotive parts that could be switched to TPV or other thermoplastic elastomers.
PolyOne's unit offers PE/silicon for rollers
PolyOne Corp.'s Chase Elastomer unit has introduced a chlorosulfonated polyethylene/ silicon blend for industrial rollers and plans to unveil a new ultrahigh molecular weight PE compound for that market next year.
The PE/silicon rollers are more affordable than conventional ceramic ones and offer improved dielectric strength vs. straight chlorosulfonated PE, Chase Elastomer technical director John Moore said.
The UHMW-PE compound will be targeted at rollers used in advanced metal processing, Moore added.
Kennedale, Texas-based Chase was founded in 1983 and acquired by PolyOne forerunner M.A. Hanna Co. in 1996. The company produces elastomeric compounds, including those used in rollers for plastic film, foil and paper production.
Skydex Cushioning using Dow-brand TPU
Skydex Cushioning Technologies is using Dow Chemical Co.'s Pellethane-brand thermoplastic polyurethane in products ranging from bike helmets to playground surfaces.
Englewood, Col.-based Skydex has licensed its technology to Nike Inc. for use in footwear and is working on surfacing and seating products, in addition to helmets for football, skiing, snowboarding, motorsports, hockey and biking, according to applications engineer Mark Massman.
Skydex has worked with Dow to streamline Pellethane for its applications, which use cushioning made through a twin-sheet thermoforming process. Its playground surfacing, for example, has passed safety tests at temperatures ranging from 30°-120° F.
Other applications on the horizon for Skydex include automotive interiors, body protective gear and anti-fatigue surfacing for workers who are on their feet for prolonged amounts of time.
Freudenberg-NOK develops new TPV
Automotive seal and gasket maker Freudenberg-NOK has created a new fluorinated thermoplastic vulcanizate but hasn't yet decided how it will use the material.
Freudenberg-NOK researchers in Plymouth, Mich., based the new material on fluorinated terpolymers and an unspecified thermoplastic, rather than on the polypropylene/EPDM combinations that previously have been used in TPVs, staff chemist Craig Chmielewski said.
The new fluorinated TPV offers good thermal resistance and excellent fluids resistance and can be injection molded and extruded. It can withstand continued exposure of temperatures up to 302Ã¸ F and does not require post-curing, which would provide a significant cost advantage over other materials used in seals and gaskets.
Since Freudenberg-NOK is not a materials supplier, it would have to build its own facility or contract with a TPE maker to produce the new material for commercial applications.