TPE (Thermoplastic elastomers) sometimes referred to as the material of thermoplastic rubbers, are a class of copolymers or a physical mix of polymers that consist of materials with both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties. The materials have the potential to be recyclable since they can be molded, extruded and reused like plastics. And they have typical elastic properties of rubbers which are not recyclable owing to their thermosetting characteristics. These materials are available with different configurations and features as per the requirement of the client. The TPE Material with no need to add reinforcing agents, stabilizers or cure systems is sourced from reliable vendors of the market, who use superior quality raw material in the manufacturing process.

The selection of the material is an important decision in injection molding. The material has a significant impact on the properties of the product either these are regarding its appearance, stability, interaction with other materials, or physical property. Material is a basic element in the production of any product, so, it has a big impact on the cost which is an important element in decision making.

When you choose TPE (Thermoplastic elastomers) for your injection molding parts for your project you should know what the property, basically TPE overmolding is the normal molding process we work on. like PTE over ABS, TPE over PC, TPE over PP, etc. This material is a type of synthetic resin that starts melting when exposed to heat and hardening when the temperature lowers down but without changes in its chemical properties.

TPE injection molding

TPE injection molding

Process of TPE injection molding

In the process of TPE injection molding, a hopper is used to enter the TPE pallets into the machine and after that, into the barrel. Here, the high temperature of the barrel makes the material liquid resin. This liquid resin is fed into a closed mold with high pressure. When molten polymer makes the finished document dry and cool, it is then taken from the mold.

Although the injection molding is a good solution for a number of problems, so, custom injection molding is used to resolve the problems. However, the use of appropriate material is crucial. Injection molding is a fast process and the properties of TPE make it a desired material for the injection molding. The products in which TPE is used are Thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU),  Thermoplastic olefins (TPE-o), Styrenic block copolymers (TPE-s), Thermoplastic copolyester, Elastomeric alloys (TPE-v or TPV), Thermoplastic polyamides.

Advantages of using TPE in injection molding

  • As the plastic pallets are liquefied with high temperature and using high pressure, these are molded into a component which can be converted into the desired shape by curing without the use of chemical bond. It implies that this type of molding can be easily melted and reshaped to make corrections in the product and resin is reusable multiple times.
  • TPE has a lot of applications in various industries for making impact-resistant devices and component housings, sealing rings, some food-contact-approved applications such as bottle cap and closure liners, baby bottles, and toddler cup spouts (provided proper FDA regulatory compliance is met), PVC, silicone, seals, etc.

Disadvantages

However, at the same time heat-liquidation is disadvantageous for the TPE because when these are exposed to heat after curing, there are chances of the product to be reformed due to high temperature.

TPE overmolding with inline switch

TPE overmolding with inline switch

Conclusion

In the injection molding process, the choice of material is a key decision because the main component of the molded product is material. Now a day, injection molding is being used as a solution to many problems. TPE is considered as an appropriate material for injection molding due to its properties which are considered as desired properties for the molding process. Although it has some disadvantages, proper handling will help to avoid such negative consequences.

If you have any project that needs TPE or TPU injection molding service, if have you are welcome to send us your requirement for quotation, we are custom injection mold & molding company, offer a different type of custom molds and molded products for all of the industries, we will provide you the best solution.