The versatility of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) and thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV) has led to their increased use across various industries. Since the versatility comes from the fact that the materials combine the characteristics of plastics and rubber, players in different sectors are reaping the benefits. It might explain why the market for thermoplastics has been growing since 2016, and it is expected to see an incremental growth of 1.83 million metric tons by 2021.
If you own a TPV fabrication business, then you must know the emerging markets that are demanding for elastomers and vulcanizates. It is the only way to remain relevant in the highly competitive market. This article highlights some of the new sectors that are driving the demand for thermoplastics.
The amount of latex, rubber, and silicone required by the healthcare industry is immense. Given that non-harsh sterilisation methods for latex, rubber, and silicone are limited, you start to understand why the materials can be expensive at the end, which is why TPEs have become the preferred option for healthcare facilities.
One of the reasons behind the shift to TPE is the material's ability to withstand harsh sterilisation methods such as gamma irradiation and ethylene oxide with zero possibility of damage. Therefore, healthcare practitioners can reuse their gloves in this case. TPEs help to drive cost down, hence the increased demand in the healthcare industry. Furthermore, the low levels of toxic substances in TPVs and TPEs make them environmentally friendly.
With the construction industry expected to continue growing until 2020, TPV and TPE manufacturers need not be left behind. The construction sector growth is another opportunity for thermoplastics. For instance, for quite some time construction product manufacturers have used conventional thermoset rubber for window seals. However, ever since the introduction of TPV and recently TPE, construction project managers have never looked back.
One reason is that TPEs come in pre-coloured grades; therefore, a site manager does not have to dye the material to achieve the desired colour. Additionally, TPVs and TPEs can be co-moulded to produce a two-component seal, thereby increasing the sealing integrity. Moreover, TPEs' high resistance to deformation makes them suitable as secondary liners for underground tanks during construction.
The importance of bottling cap liners to beverage firms cannot be overstated. It is because the integrity of a carbonated drink's taste lies with the quality of the liners. Traditionally, beverage companies have used PVC for their bottle cap liners. However, PVC liners do not offer beverages complete protection from oxygen leaching. Consequently, processing plants have realised that TPEs can do a better job than PVCs. TPEs have helped to increase the shelf life of beverages such as beer where taste is the selling point.