Smithers Rapra: Your presentation will discuss new opportunities for lightweight elastomers, why is this important to discuss? What decisions can be made from knowing this?
Giulia Franceschetti: First of all we recognized the theme of lightening as trend in plastic market, from automotive sector to electrical, toys, construction and sports; and we believe that is a great developmental potential if market opportunities can be satisfied. You yourself have underlined the theme in the last TPE’s conferences.
Among the advantages of lightweight elastomers, customers find the appeal of cost savings, but recognize a still open challenge: to keep the same physical and mechanical properties by reducing weight.
Reduction of density by a foaming process not only allows weight reduction, but also make possible the production of bigger thicknesses and enable molded or extruded parts with a higher freedom of design.
Our aim and our work - for next future market - is offering the right compounding solution for the right application, giving customers a ready to use solution and a strong compounding competence.
Smithers Rapra: Within the industry you serve, what changes or developments have you noticed recently?
Giulia Franceschetti: There is an increasing awareness of price-quality ratio, customers evaluate the entire production chain, as well as the possibility to recycle out-of-use products. In this contest certifications and homologations are gaining importance, almost a necessity rather than a choice.
On technical point of view, open themes are mechanical and thermal properties. The high performances required, now need a co-design by bringing the customer to be a partner with whom to find a solution.
Smithers Rapra: Where do you foresee the industry going with regards to TPEs over the next 5 years?
Giulia Franceschetti: It is not a simple question, but we can say that we expect a slow growth in the use of TPE in medical applications.
While in the automotive sector a central theme will be the recyclability, we foresee the improving TPE’s properties in order to get closer to high performance polymers as the main research and development focus in the next years.
Smithers Rapra: What are you most looking forward to by attending and participating at TPE 2017?
Giulia Franceschetti: We look forward to participating in a reflection on the main issues of the market, gaining more information on trends and knowing our competitors’ point of view. We expect a comparison with the other actors in the market as regard the most felt themes in research and development, market’s trends, applications.
Also networking is a focal part of the meeting.