Materials that combine elastomeric properties with many of the attributes of thermoplastics have been available to industry for over twenty years. A wide acceptance of these materials has taken place due to a growing catalogue of experience backed by convincing case studies in many sectors of industrial activity; new-generation materials have been developed to meet the demands of ever more discriminating customers.
This report contains discussion of the different families of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) materials, and of the trends in material developments. The key end-use sectors are analysed in terms of material usage and future trends. Each sector is examined in some detail starting with reference to activity in Western Europe, the involvement of polymers within the sector, and how important a share of that involvement is held by TPEs. The issues which affect the choice of different materials and how these are likely to impinge on the use of TPEs in future are discussed.
Data on TPE supply and consumption by material family and trends for future consumption are given. Growth in TPE usage is due to three main factors: replacement for other materials, new processing technologies and new applications and markets. TPEs have proven themselves in meeting a wide range of demanding engineering requirements and automotive applications. These applications will continue to grow because of the cost savings provided and the performance delivered.
1.2 The Report
2 Executive Summary
3 TPE Technologies
3.2 Styrenic Block Copolymers (SBCs)
3.3 Thermoplastic Olefins (TPOs)
3.4 Thermoplastic Vulcanisates (TPVs)
3.5 Thermoplastic Polyurethane Elastomers (TPUs)
3.6 Copolyesters (COPEs)
3.7 Copolyamides (COPAs)
4 Material Developments, Products and Trends
4.1 Styrenic Block Copolymers (SBCs)
4.2 Thermoplastic Olefins (TPOs)
4.3 Thermoplastic Vulcanisates (TPVs)
4.4 Thermoplastic Polyurethane Elastomers (TPUs)
4.5 Copolyesters (COPEs)
4.6 Copolyamides (COPAs)
4.7 Other TPE Materials
5 End-User Markets for Thermoplastic Elastomers
5.2 General Mechanical and Industrial Rubber Products
5.4 Medical and Healthcare Markets
5.5 Other Market Sectors
6 The Supply and Demand for Thermoplastic Elastomers
6.2 Current Supply and Demand by Material
6.3 Notes on Suppliers and Compounders
6.4 Estimated Future Demand for TPEs
7 Processing, Machinery and Other Factors
7.2 Injection Moulding
7.3 Finishing and Assembly
7.5 Testing Procedures
Peter W. Dufton graduated from Cambridge University in Materials Science before taking a research degree for work on mechanical properties of high strength aircraft materials. He joined Dunlop in 1970 to work on tyre reinforcement materials before moving within the company to technical support and product development in the Overseas Division. This was followed by a period as Overseas Business Development Manager in Dunlop Adhesives.
From 1987-2000 he worked for Rapra as a consultant in the business analysis and publishing areas, undertaking multi-client work in the field of market research on a range of topics. These include tyres, fire-related matters, wire and cable and various other end-use sectors for the polymers, individual polymer materials development and compounding additives. He is also the author of several reports in the Rapra Industry Analysis Series.