Processing of Rubber Materials





- Processing methods for thermoplastic elastomers-TPE -
Introduction

Link to Thermoplastic elastomer

The processing of thermoplastic elastomers, TPE is characterized by the fact that the material becomes fluid when heating and then is going back to a solid phase when cooling. Thereby rubber-like products can be manufactured by the use of plastic processing equipment.

The differences between processing of vulcanised rubber and thermoplastic elastomers may be visualized in following way:

Rubber process:



TPE-process:

Almost all TPE materials are fully compounded by the supplier and delivered as granulate. Therefore no mixing procedure is needed. Neither is curing needed and the scrap can be reprocessed.

These differences lead to lower energy consumption and shorter cycle times for production of TPE products in comparison with rubber products.

As machinery for thermoplastic materials differs from equipment for rubber materials, new investments normally is required when switching the material for a product from rubber to TPE.














Thermoplastic elastomers are normally supplied as granulates in bags and can be used directly to feed extruders and injection moulding machine. (Photo Flexys)


The processes used for thermoplastic elastomers are the following. The two first are the most important.

  • Extrusion
  • Injection moulding
  • Calendering
  • Blow moulding
  • Melt calendering

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