TPE takes to 3D printing applications

TPE takes to 3D printing applications

In recent years, the 3D printing process has made great strides in the automotive, medicine, industry, and consumer markets. A process previously limited to prototyping, 3D printing is nowadays more often used for small batch production and the manufacture of spare parts.

Thus, the evolution of the 3D printing technology implemented in the open hardware supply system offers tremendous potential for considerable time, labour, and cost savings involved in the development of new applications.

TPEs or thermoplastic elastomers are now being used as 3D printable materials for the additive manufacturing industry, especially when soft polymers are required.

Kraiburg TPE, a global TPE manufacturer, offers a broad slate of TPE compounds with a wide range of features, making them a suitable choice for various applications when it comes to 3D printing.

Kraiburg TPE also offers compounds with a wide range of TPE hardness, from super soft <10 Shore A to 66 Shore D.

TPEs for customisation
The 3D printing technology allows the ability to customise designs to suit the specific needs of products. This is where Kraiburg TPE’s Thermolast K product series comes into the picture.

The Thermolast K TPE compound allows the possibility for customisation and different properties in the 3D printing process – like haptic surface touch for handles or low surface friction for smooth parts. Furthermore, extremely detailed surfaces can be produced with very soft TPEs. Another benefit is that a variety of colour options are afforded with TPE compounds, allowing the freedom of design flexibility.

For industry sectors that are looking at improving a product’s impact on the environment, TPEs are a specifically good choice as the materials are recyclable. The compounds are also free of latex, PVC and phthalates, and feature low odour and reduced emissions.

Prototyping made easy with TPEs
The 3D printing technology is gaining popularity for products that are targeted at outdoor activity usage and prototyping, especially in high-performance applications. Kraiburg TPE’s compounds offer excellent UV and weather resistance, enabling the materials to withstand the harsh environment and climate.

Possible applications for Kraiburg TPE’s compounds are fasteners, gaskets, seals, adapters, handles, grips, and more. Other advantages of Kraiburg TPE compounds are that they are well established with numerous certifications. For example, for the consumer market, Kraiburg TPE compounds are in compliance with various regulations and approvals such as China’s GB standards (中国国标), EU Directive 10/2011, the EN71/3 European safety standard for toys, as well as the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 21.

Medical and healthcare industry
TPE is the perfect choice of materials conforming to high safety standards in the medical industry. Furthermore, Kraiburg TPE’s compounds comply with recognized medical standards such as USP Class VI, DIN ISO 10993-4,-5,-10,-11, and VDI 2017 Medical Grade Plastics. Offered in the range of compounds is the Thermolast M, which is a specially developed medical-grade TPE for medical, pharmaceutical, and diagnostic applications.

Possible applications of the Thermolast M compounds include masks, straps, fastness, seals, and more.


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