Americhem Thermoplastic Elastomer Technology & TPE Materials

For over 25 years, Americhem has led the TPE industry with innovative thermoplastic elastomer compounding solutions that support multiple global markets. Get your TPE material questions answered here and learn how we can engineer customized thermoplastic compounds for your unique application.  

theromplastic elastomers in a factory setting
WHAT IS TPE?

Thermoplastic elastomers, or TPEs, are a unique class of melt-processable polymers that exhibit rubber-like characteristics, including the ability to stretch without deformation and possess a soft-touch feel. The resilient behavior of these polymers is largely attributed to their chemical structural bonds, which are not fully cross-linked, imparting high elastic properties.

What are Thermoplastic Elastomers?

Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are plastic compounds that combine the performance attributes of rubber with plastic. They can be formulated to achieve physical and mechanical properties that cannot be achieved by rubber or plastic alone. Their dual hard and soft phases make TPEs extremely versatile, allowing for the production of both rigid and flexible parts. TPE plastic can be processed using injection molding, blow molding, compression molding and extrusion techniques.

The Americhem Advantage in TPE

When searching for thermoplastic elastomer manufacturers, know that a partnership with Americhem ensures the highest quality TPE materials customized to optimize the performance of end-use products. Our specialty engineered thermoplastic compounds help differentiate manufacturers while meeting their demands for high efficiency and value. Let Americhem’s material experts work with you to design a compounding solution that meets all your unique requirements.

Interior Car Parts
Automotive Sealing Systems
Airbag Covers
Cell Phone Cases
Food Containers
Vehicle Mats
Tool Grips
Medical Instruments
Sporting Goods
Toys
Kitchen Gadgets

Excellent flexural and tensile strength

Good chemical/tear/wear/weathering resistance

High impact strength with elastic recovery

Excellent adhesion to different substrates

Efficient processability across all production methods

Good creep dimensional stability

Good electrical properties

Low compression set

Wide operating temperature range

Ability to be colored

Recyclable

HOW DO THERMOPLASTIC ELASTOMERS DIFFER FROM THERMOSET RUBBER?

The main difference between thermoplastic elastomers and thermoset rubber involves the type of cross-linking bond within their structures. A thermoset is fully cross-linked, so the resulting part cannot be reheated and remolded. The chemical structure of thermoplastic elastomers allows them to soften or melt into liquid form when heated, allowing them to be formed into a shape and then hardened. The process is reversible, as no chemical bonding takes place.

Meets stiffness and elongation requirements

Can be processed using injection molding, blow molding, compression molding and extrusion techniques

Lower fabrication and energy costs

Shorter processing times

Can be customized with product additives for optimum performance

Excellent adhesion to different substrates

Great appearance, including excellent color matching and dispersion

Tailored soft-touch feel

Wide hardness range of 15A to 90A on the Shore hardness scale

Excellent insulation

More environmentally friendly (non-toxic and non-polluting during production)

Can be re-melted and recycled

Non-toxic and safe for people 

TPE Material Offerings

Americhem can optimize the performance of these TPE materials, tailoring them for injection molding, blow molding, compression molding and extrusion applications.

  • TPE-S (Sevrene®)
  • TPE-O (Oleflex™)
  • SEBS (Sevrene®)
  • SEPS
  • SEEPS
  • SBC’s (Sevrene®)
  • TPU (Uravin™)
  • TPV (Cerberon™, Thermovin™, Nitrovin™)
  • Fluoroelastomers
Scratch & mar properties
Antifungal & antimicrobial
Hardness range
Soft-touch haptics
Heat, ozone, and/or UV resistance
High flow
Flame resistance
Scuff resistance
Food contact
High modulus
Lubricated and low coefficient surfaces
Thermally conductive
WHY ARE THERMOPLASTIC ELASTOMERS IDEAL FOR OVERMOLDING AND CO-EXTRUDING?

TPEs are excellent for overmolding onto rigid substrates. This is especially important when a grippy or soft surface is desired, or vibration reduction or impact absorption is needed. The process involves insert or two-shot molding. If a mechanical lock is not possible, Americhem can provide material compatibility guidance to ensure a TPE material will bond well to the desired substrate. 

For plastic co-extrusion processes, engineered thermoplastic elastomers can be used in combination with rigid thermoplastics to provide profiles with multiple sealing surfaces. As with overmolding, the correct TPE must be chosen for compatibility.

ARE THERMOPLASTIC ELASTOMERS RECYCLABLE?

Yes! Unlike traditional thermoset rubber, TPE is 100% recyclable because it can be reclaimed, melted and recycled contributing to a more circular economy. Certain bio-based TPEs offer an even greater promise of sustainability. While most thermoplastic elastomers are fossil-based, biocompatible TPEs made from FDA-listed food-grade ingredients may also be classified as biodegradable.

 

 

FDA and EU food contact

FDA toy safety

NSF/ANSI 51 food equipment

Proposition 65 – Warns California residents about potential exposure to     carcinogens and reproductive toxins

REACH SVHC and RoHS – Controls restrictive substances in the EU