Exclusive Interview with Anja Schulz from ExxonMobil

Ahead of her presentation at Thermoplastic Elastomers World Summit we spoke to Anja Schulz about Vistamaxx performance polymers.

Smithers Apex: The presentation will review Vistamaxx™ performance polymers enabling oil free soft touch grips, what did this project set out to achieve and has its goal been reached?

Anja Schulz: When we first introduced Vistamaxx performance polymers we knew that they would be ideal for applications which require a soft-touch, good grip and flexibility – with a very similar performance to grips made with styrenic thermoplastic elastomers (TPE-S).

This project, which was the introduction of new high flow Vistamaxx grades, allows the molding of high-quality grips, with cycle times equivalent to the current industry norm. So, yes, these new grades will allow us to achieve our goal.

Smithers Apex: You look to explore the improved economics, the lower material cost, lower specific gravity and higher filler loading acceptance, can you give us a brief example as to how this has been achieved?

Anja Schulz: The ExxonMobil proprietary catalyst technology which we use to produce Vistamaxx delivers a lower density than both SBS and SEBS. Additionally, the amorphous nature of Vistamaxx allows higher filler loadings than standard polyolefinic materials such as polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP). These provide opportunities for improved economics.

Smithers Apex: Within the industry you serve, what changes and developments have you noticed recently?

Anja Schulz: The look and feel of end-products is very important. Brand owners and consumers are looking for soft, no-slip, comfortable grips which are durable and aesthetically pleasing. The experience of consumers in particular is becoming increasingly important. Today, they demonstrate less brand loyalty and are faster to switch to a new brand if they have a poor product experience like sticky grips. Plus, there is an increasing focus on recyclable solutions. Vistamaxx can deliver on all counts with formulations being tailored to meet the needs of the application.

Smithers Apex: Where do you foresee this industry headed in the next 5-10 years?

Anja Schulz: We do not speculate or forecast what may happen in the future, but we do know Vistamaxx is well-suited for a broad range of grip applications and we continue to explore new possibilities with existing and new customers globally.

Smithers Apex: What are you most looking forward to through attending and speaking at the TPE World Summit 2017?

Anja Schulz: We’re looking forward to engaging with molders and brand owners about the new possibilities that Vistamaxx can deliver in helping them improve the end-user experience of their products. The Summit provides us with the opportunity to explain how Vistamaxx-based grips can eliminate the sticky or oily feel of grips over time, while delivering a similar performance to grips made with TPE-S based compounds. This can extend the life of products and deliver a better consumer experience.