Interview with Suresh Swaminathan from Teknor Apex

Suresh Swaminathan from Teknor Apex speaks to us about the elastomers industry ahead of his presentation at Thermoplastic Elastomers World Summit 2018.

Q. What do you see as the major challenges and opportunities for TPEs in the next 5 years?
Current products, chemistries and applications have entered the maturity phase of their respective life cycles. Therefore a commodity mind set is setting in, creating opportunities for new value creation and "blue ocean" thinking towards innovative ways of doing what we do currently, better.

Our industry needs to learn from the fast-paced innovation and adaptation behaviour of the hi-tech industry. We need to try, adapt and fail fast, if we are going to fail. Globally as more entrants are making inroads, opportunities for consolidation are going to increase. Geopolitical barriers and regulations are going to play a big role in where we make, sell and consume these products.

Q. What innovations are happening in the industry that you are excited about?
Light weighting is a common theme in the industry and it’s exciting to be able to expand the property-performance envelope of products and applications, and in some cases deliver an even better performance.  

There has also been a push from OEMs to develop more sustainable solutions, even in applications that are performing well because it is more socially responsible.

We are also excited about the continued research being done to incorporate consumer behaviour and preferences for better product and part design.

Q. What is it about attending the TPE World Summit that you are most looking forward to?
Seeing how the TPE community as a whole is going to collaborate and step up to the challenges that face us today and in the years ahead to create pathways and opportunities for our collective sustainable future.

Q. Why is this meeting important to the thermoplastic elastomers industry?
It creates a forum for us to exchange ideas and thoughts and challenge the accepted norms of our industry and beyond.

Q. What are Teknor Apex’s plans for the near future?
Teknor Apex is building a new manufacturing facility in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany that will increase our TPE and ETP compounding capacity.  We have made a commitment to expand our presence in Europe and believe this new state-of-the art facility will provide more local support for our customers.  With our acquisition in 2016 of PTS – Plastic-Technologie-Service GmbH we have also been focused on introducing more high performance ETP products to markets outside Europe.