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appliance DESIGN April 2014 : Page 21

PlaStIcS Appliances, medical products, and other tools are all looking better, performing better and have more appeal with the use of TPEs. Source: Star Thermoplastic Alloys & Rubbers Inc. washing machine, today’s appliances have signature colors along with 3-D effects and curves, says Prakash Sanjeevaiah, manager, R&D, Star Thermoplastic Alloys and Rubber. They aim to have “some sort of identity, some attitude built into these appliances,” he says. Today’s appliances have more buttons and features, which leads to more materials developed for the appliances, including innovations in TPEs. Although the look and feel of a product is important, it can also affect another sense: sound. Voyce says that TPEs provide an audible advantage and allow designers to bring down the noise levels in appliances. This can help lower noise in the home, whether it is in a washing machine or a coffee machine. depending on what type of material they are replacing, TPEs can provide a better value in a product. Thomas Bell of S & T Group LLC, a member of the SPE Thermoplastic Elastomer Special Interest Group, echoes this idea of the interest in the medical market segment. “Everybody is trying to get in that industry,” Bell said. “It’s higher margin, more secure, sexier, or sexier than toothbrush handles. There’s interest in medical, and high-value applications.” example. Still, design engineers increasingly seem to know what they want. “All of the design engineers have become smarter, more educated about materials, and ask the right questions and specific questions,” says Sanjeevaiah. “Time is the key factor. They don’t want to try too many materials. Once they do that quick turnaround launching a product, there is an even quicker timeline for the next product. There is always a need for a universal dream material in any field.”  ST AR THERMOPLASTICS . Y OUR SOURCE FOR TPES . Material Selection No matter what the application, choosing a new material can be challenging. Stephane Morin, owner of APS Elastomers, offers this advice: “Try not to get lost in all the data sheets that suppliers can give you,” Morin says. “Look for a specific property, or get in touch with people like us, to accelerate the process of selecting the right material for the application. You can get lost in a sea of data sheets if you don’t know what you’re looking for.” Customers may say that they want a material with a certain hardness level, but what they actually want is something with better tensile strength, for YOUR PROJECTS DESERVE THE BEST TPE MATERIALS For soft-touch surfaces, non-slip grips and feet, mar-resistant bumpers, vibration-damping seals, and countless other applications, try Star TPE. More Interest in Medical In addition to their use in white goods, TPEs are now in high demand in the pharmaceutical and medical field. Furst of Freedonia Group says that the materials are in high demand in medical markets, as TPEs replace PVCs in tubing and bags and related products because of health concerns related to PVCs. And www.appliance DESIGN .com Mention Code “APPLIANCE” to get a free sample of TPE material for your design project. STAR THERMOPLASTIC ALLOYS & RUBBERS, INC. www.starthermoplastics.com | 708-343-1100 appliance DESIGN April 2014 21 AD0414STAR.indd 1 3/14/14 1:26 PM

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