Zeon Chemicals LP began producing new grades of thermoplastic vulcanizates for the blow molding market earlier this year.
The new grades - produced under the Zeotherm brand name - are aimed at automotive parts such as CVJ (constant velocity joint) boots and air ducts, Zeotherm business manager Brian Cail said during an interview at TPE Topcon, Sept. 12-14 in Akron.
In CVJ boot applications, the new products compete with copolyesters and standard TPVs, which Cail said are limited on heat and grease resistance. Boots made of the new materials are in functional testing and could be commercialized in the near future.
For air ducts in air-intake systems used on diesel engines for semis, large sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, the Zeotherm offerings have better heat resistance than other TPVs and copolyesters, Cail said. Higher temperatures on those vehicles are being created by new environmental regulations that will take effect in North America in 2007.
The first air-intake parts made from the new materials will be commercialized this fall, Cail said.
TPVs ``are still an opportunity to upgrade vs. rubber and metal,'' he added.
Zeotherm TPVs differ from standard TPVs in that they are based on polyacrylate elastomers and nylon 6, rather than on the combination of polypropylene and ethylene propylene diene monomer from which most TPVs are constructed.
Louisville, Ky.-based Zeon is making the new grades at a plant in Bayport, Texas. About two-thirds of its TPV business is in the automotive market.
Zeon, a division of Zeon Corp. of Tokyo, does most of its business in thermoset rubber production. Zeotherm began producing TPVs in 2003. To date, production has been limited to the United States.
Zeon Chemicals, which employs 400, posted sales of about $220 million last year.