Waldkraiburg — In contrast to cable sheathing made in PVC, TPE sheathing does not cause toxic or carcinogenic fumes in the event of fire. This property makes the thermoplastic elastomer material an interesting option for all companies that take health concerns and the protection of the environment seriously.
For cable manufacturers and suppliers in the IT and entertainment electronics sector, KRAIBURG TPE has developed number of special halogen-free and flame-resistant TPE compounds that meet the most stringent flame-resistance requirements of the relevant European and US standards. “In the event of fire, PVC sheathing can cause serious harm to health. Cable manufacturers and OEMs in the electronics industry who are aware of their responsibilities in relation to health and safety can now avail of a real alternative to this potentially hazardous material”, explains Franz Hinterecker, Managing Director of KRAIBURG TPE. The new compounds conform to the European RoHS directive and contain no hazardous ingredients. They are thus free of heavy metals and organic halogen compounds such as polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).
KRAIBURG TPE has already found numerous customers for its innovative technology. Together with number of renowned cable manufacturers, the company has developed a TPE-based halogen-free flame retardant or HFFR cable that is available in the market since early 2009. The sheathing material made from the new TPE successfully passed the VW-1 vertical flame test, which is the most demanding flame test for single cables. This test was passed with minimum layer thicknesses, proving the excellent fire safety of the material.
High tensile strength and flexibility combined with excellent surface properties
In addition to outstanding flame resistance, the new compound has a number of other properties that meet the specific requirements of the IT and entertainment electronics manufacturers. They include very high tensile strength as well as excellent flexibility and surface quality. “To achieve high flame resistance on the one hand and good strength and surface properties on the other was a balancing act. We mastered this challenge by using a halogen-free intumescence flame retardation system that is compatible with the polymer matrix. This compound is added in quantities that are much lower than those normally used with conventional halogen-free flame retardants. In order to produce the new TPE in large quantities with the necessary process safety, we also needed to adapt the extrusion process”, explains Dr. Markus Beitzel, Director of Product Technology at KRAIBURG TPE. Thanks to the compatibility of the flame retardation system with the polymer matrix and the excellent surface proprieties, the compound can be extruded at high speeds on standard polyolefin cable extruders.
About KRAIBURG TPE
KRAIBURG TPE manufactures thermoplastic elastomers based on HSBC (hydrogenated styrene block copolymers) and markets them all around the world. In addition to custom solutions, the company offers under the THERMOLAST® and HIPEX® brand names a broad spectrum of standardized compounds to cover a wide range of applications. The company produces at sites in Germany, the US and Malaysia. KRAIBURG TPE also maintains sales offices in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, China and India.