TPE Overmolding Takes Center Stage at Thermoplastics Elastomers US Summit

- Monday, July 1, 2019

Visitors to this year’s Thermoplastic Elastomers US Summit learned more about the benefits of TPE overmolding for automotive applications, during a presentation from Tony Samurkas, Trinseo’s Americas Director of Technical Services and Development for Performance Plastics.

Demand for the combination of soft and hard thermoplastic materials is growing in the automotive sector as OEMs place more emphasis than ever on function and surface design, particularly for premium vehicles. TPE overmolded solutions not only provide vehicle manufacturers with functional benefits such as improved grip, impact resistance, insulation and vibration damping, but bring aesthetic advantages as well as enhanced haptics. Trinseo’s MEGOL™ TPS-SEBS compounds offer improved adhesion for overmolding onto polar plastic stubstrates and are widely used for the production of in-vehicle cup holders, thumb wheels, ventilation knobs, fixed glass plastic encapsulations and more.

During the presentation, Tony Samurkas explained how Trinseo’s TPEs overmold onto rigid plastics, and in addition revealed 16 new TPE overmolding grades specifically developed for polar plastic substrates. These provide a broader range of hardness, melt flows, and surface finishes for excellent aesthetics and processability in injection-molded and extruded applications. Samurkas also explained the variables required for durable adhesion between soft TPEs and rigid thermoplastics, analyzing the various standards that can be achieved.

The VDI standard, for example, provides a systematic peeling-test method to define and measure bond strength, allowing the reliable selection of optimal material combinations. Trinseo has its own Specialized Overmolding Center in Mussolente, Italy, where adhesion is measured according to VDI 2019 standards.

The Thermoplastics US Summit took place June 25-27, 2019, in Cleveland, Ohio. The exhibition covered a range of materials under the TPE umbrella, including TPUs, TPVs, TPOs, EPDM and styrenic block copolymers.

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