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11. March 2010

Foamed TPE substitutes PU in steering wheel production

French compounding specialist CTS has developed a range of foamed TPE materials for the production of steering wheels.

In this application the thermoplastic elastomers substitute polyurethane. The Téfabloc formulations are a proprietary technology based on a TPE-S matrix foamed with a hybrid expansion system that is said to offer a fine and perfect dispersion of the cells inside the matrix. The foaming masterbatch is developed and produced by CTS.

According to Franck Ruel, CTS Global Automotive Sales Director, Téfabloc offers two main advantages compared to the existing PU solution: It is 100% recyclable and provides economical advantages. Scrap is reduced because there are no burrs to remove at the mould parting line, and the cycle times are shorter. This proven technology already equipped the last Renault Mégane launched during 2008, and the new Renault Scénic in 2009.

Ruel is considering this innovation for steering wheels as the continuity of the technological breakthrough done for airbag covers, for which the Téfabloc TPE ranks no°1 in Europe and no° 3 worldwide. With this range of materials CTS feels in a good position to respond to current and future interior automotive requirements like low FOG/VOC, invisible airbag, light colours, green materials, weight reduction, etc.

CTS will inform about its complete materials portfolio for automotive applications at the VDI conference “Plastics in Automotive Engineering”, 17 - 18 March 2010 in Mannheim, Germany. Besides the Téfabloc TPEs it includes among others the Marvyflo range of free flowing vinyl compounds for the slush moulding of instrument panels.

As a member of the Tessenderlo Group, CTS is the business unit bringing together brands belonging to French Cousin-Tessier and Polish TCT-Polska. CTS thus makes up the compounds section of Tessenderlo Group, which develops and produces PVC and TPE compounds. The products are marketed under the Marvyflo, Marvylex, Téfabloc, Téfanyl, and Téfaprene brand names.

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