Material selection is critical to any manufacturing process. Add in a shortage and steep cost increases for several engineered resins, and correctly selecting material has become more challenging than ever. While many try to get by on knowledge, research or materials they have used before, the best thing to do is rely on your resin material provider to help you.

At PolymaxTPE, we are here to help our customers from start to finish. By achieving a complete understanding of the end-use of your application, we improve the material selection process. As a custom compounder specializing in creating better solutions faster, PolymaxTPE always finds the best solution possible. Whether your application can be satisfied with a thermoplastic elastomer material from our standard product line or if your need is more complex, we can develop a custom solution because we are a cutting-edge developer in thermoplastic elastomer technology.

With a wide range of thermoplastic elastomer technologies available, PolymaxTPE is here to help simplify the process with our TPE material checklist, highlighting common questions to consider.

What Are Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPEs)?

Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are a group of materials that combine the processing advantages of plastics with the elasticity characteristics of rubber. Characterized by their soft feel and cushioning nature, TPEs work well alone, or they can also be bonded to many other, harder thermoplastic substrates to improve functionality and design. With an incredible range of aesthetic, sensory, and performance characteristics, TPEs offer part design flexibility.

Important Considerations – TPE Material Selection Checklist

  1. What is the purpose of the application? 

To deliver the best solution possible for your TPE material needs, it starts by fully understanding the application requirements. What is the intention for this product? Is this a new application or an existing one? If this is an existing application, will the same thermoplastic material be used, or are you looking for a new grade of TPE?

Additionally, consider how the part will be manufactured. With our extensive capabilities, PolymaxTPE develops leading thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) materials for use in injection molding, insert molding, two-shot injection molding, over molding, extrusion, blow-molding, and film process applications. No matter the process, we can help.

  1. Material Performance Requirements

Often selected for their excellent range of physical properties and aesthetics, thermoplastic elastomers also provide customization options.

Some general material performance requirements to evaluate for your application include:

  • Abrasion Resistance
  • Adhesion
  • Clarity
  • Colorability
  • Durability
  • Elasticity, Bounce-back, Elongation
  • Hardness
  • Rheology
  • Sensory (Low-Odor, Taste-free, Wet Grip, etc.)
  • Tensile StrengthPolymax TPE material product performance characteristic chart

TPE formulations are created based on the physical and mechanical properties needed to satisfy. With nearly limitless combinations, finding the correct TPE material formulation is simplified by narrowing down the specific properties.

With our comprehensive range of hardness characteristics grades, from 0-99 Shore A, PolymaxTPE can formulate our standard TPEs to meet a variety of specific physical and aesthetic requirements, including flexibility, grip, colorability, opacity and taste or odor neutrality.

  1. How will the end-product be used?

In addition to general material performance, TPEs display exceptional thermal properties and material stability, allowing them to be durable in a range of temperatures and conditions. To provide a solution that works for you, consider:

  • What are the maximum and minimum temperatures of exposure?
  • Where will the product be used?
  • Any exposure to UV?
  • Will it be exposed to any chemicals?
  • What is the estimated life expectancy?

The versatility of thermoplastic elastomer materials also includes excellent chemical resistance making it a fit for a broad range of applications.

  1. Are there industry-related requirements?

Depending on the industry of the end-product, several requirements beyond traditional ISO standards may need to be satisfied. For example, in the automotive industry, there will be specific OEM material specification requirements to meet and in the medical industry, there are critical FDA regulations that will factor in.

Additional requirements may include UL certifications, REACH, RoHS, NSF, and EU restricted substances compliance, as well as low extractable levels required by the food contact and medical industries.

  1. Is there a specific cost target?

As resin prices continue to rise, meeting cost goals is becoming more of a challenge. In all situations, the price will always remain a top consideration. Often there is a specific budget related to material selection that serves as the cost target.

The PolymaxTPE Advantage

Driven by our technical expertise and growing R&D capabilities, PolymaxTPE is quickly building a reputation as a premium provider in the global TPE market. Because we are an easy-to-work-with partner that can effectively leverage our proven research and development capabilities, our dedication is simple – “Create Better Solutions Faster” without the customization cost.

PolymaxTPE has a deep line of products containing more than 500 standard and premium grades of thermoplastic elastomers. Do you have a custom need? The PolymaxTPE technical sales and custom compounding team is skilled in modifying our standard products to meet the demanding environments that your application requires.

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