Hexpol TPE, the international polymer compounding group, has added another member to its family of Dryflex Circular TPEs. The range, launched in 2019 to promote the shift toward the use of more sustainable materials, comprises recycled polymers from various sources, including post-consumer and post-industrial waste. These Dryflex Circular TPEs can also be recycled in closed-loop systems at the end of life.
The newest grades are targeted at the automotive industry. An important aspect of automotive interior parts is their emission behaviour regarding odour and volatile substances.
The exact specifications and requirements vary depending on application and OEM. But generally, the material odour must not be disturbing even at higher temperatures (e.g., 80°C). A representative Dryflex Circular TPE grade, a 65 Shore A material for inlay mats with a recyclate content of 20%, showed a very low amount of VOC (60 μg/g) and FOG (594 μg/g).
"Recent developments resulted in us bringing the first TPE with recycled content for automotive interior applications to the market,” said Thomas Köppl, group product manager, Hexpol TPE.
The new grades have specifically been tested for odour and emissions performance in automotive interiors. Testing was performed at an external accredited laboratory and shown to have almost no odour (grade 2.0 according to VDA 270, B3). The mechanical properties fulfil automotive requirements, and colourability is possible. The material is currently being approved by a German car manufacturer.
The recyclate sources are diverted from waste streams during post-industrial manufacturing processes. They originate from injection moulding sprues or edge trims in extrusions. The chosen recyclates were selected due to their high levels of consistency and purity. With consideration of transportation and energy impacts, the recyclates are sourced in Europe. Dryflex Circular TPEs are produced at Hexpol TPE's European sites, which use 100% renewable electricity.
The new Dryflex Circular TPEs can be used in various automotive interior applications such as inlay mats, cup holders, sealing lips and HVAC parts.