As a part of the improvement of performance and functions in its thermoplastic elastomer products SEPTON, HYBRAR and KURAMIRON, Kuraray Co., Ltd. today announces the development of a new thermoplastic elastomer, "Q polymer." This material is suitable for designing polymer alloys that exhibit excellent abrasion resistance, scratch resistance, lightweight and hydrolysis resistance characteristics.
SEPTON and HYBRAR hydrogenated styrenic thermoplastic elastomers can be easily molded like various plastic products, while being characterized by rubber-like elasticity, widely replacing vulcanized rubber and soft polyvinyl chloride as soft material. Currently there is a 120,000-ton demand for hydrogenated styrenic thermoplastic elastomers in the global market, with demand expanding approximately 10% per year (Kuraray estimate). On the other hand, KURAMIRON thermoplastic polyurethane is a unique elastomer based on proprietarily made polyurethane, and it displays excellent abrasion resistance, tensile strength, oil resistance and ozone resistance characteristics.
Leveraging its excellent compatibility with various resins, Q polymer-based alloys boast significantly improved properties over the Company's existing thermoplastics product lines of SEPTON and KURAMIRON. Compared to SEPTON-based compounds, Q polymer-based alloys exhibit superior mechanical properties, abrasion resistance and scratch resistance. And compared to KURAMIRON, Q polymer-based alloys exhibit amazing lightweight characteristics, exceptional adhesion over olefinic materials, and superior hydrolysis resistance. As a result, Q polymer-based alloys show the revolutionary combination of hydrogenated styrenic thermoplastic elastomers and thermoplastic polyurethane by improving the advantages of both materials. To that end, Kuraray expects wide application in such markets as auto parts, electric and electronics components and a variety of sporting goods, in which the Company's existing products have had difficulty finding application in thus far.
Currently, a pilot-scale test production framework of a few hundred tons per year for Q polymer has been established, with the aim of commencing full-scale commercial operations in 2010. Kuraray will conduct market development with a wide range of thermoplastic compounders by combining Kuraray's polymer alloy technology with compounders' application technology. Simultaneously Kuraray aims to accelerate its development activities and expand product applications further through joint development with manufacturers of end products or components, together with those of molders.
By working in close liaison with each manufacturer, Kuraray plans to grow this business up to a production scale of a few thousand tons. To that end, Kuraray will add this new product to its core items, striving to expand the elastomer business.
Q polymer is a new, high-performance thermoplastic elastomer developed by Kuraray's advanced polymer synthesis technology.
By leveraging Kuraray's compound formulation technology, polymer alloys with higher performance can be created from Q polymer.