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A. Schulman introduces new tpe soft-touch injection molding and slush products in Europe

A. Schulman announced the European launch of two new thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) products for automotive applications – Invision VX EP ultra high-flow TPE, and Invision SLX slush TPE.

Invision VX EP ultra high-flow TPE was developed for multi-component injection molding of large interior parts. It allows manufacturers to mold a base substrate, and then mold another material on top of or adjacent to the base substrate, in a single process step. Previously, this two-shot processing had been prevalent for smaller consumer products, but had not been widely used for soft-touch trim for large automotive parts such as instrument panels, door panels, door bolsters and armrests.

- As automotive molders and integrators seek to further reduce system costs, large part multi-component molding is receiving significant attention as a viable process - said Jeff McCoy, Manager, North America Automotive Marketing for A. Schulman. - A. Schulman has developed a leadership position in materials technology specifically for this unique process. Our specialized TPE chemistries will help our customers develop a similar leadership position in the marketplace.

The new ultra high-flow TPE from Invision also allows automakers to achieve greater design flexibility, such as multi-touch and multi-tone designs, as well as improved craftsmanship, including superior grain definition, high-contrast colors, clean lines, and precise fit and finish. Other advantages of Invision ultra high-flow TPE include low surface gloss, low fogging, excellent weatherability, and scratch and mar resistance. Next-generation products are already in development.

Similarly, Invision SLX slush TPE offers manufacturers greater flexibility, allowing for designs with desirable sharp radii and deep curves, along with well-defined grains and cast-in color. For instrument panels, door panels and consoles, Invision SLX offers a cost-effective alternative to slush-molded thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) or sprayed urethane.

- Invision slush TPE has a lower specific gravity and wider processing window than other products, so manufacturers are able to use less material per part and produce thinner skins, while maintaining performance requirements for the finished part - said Jane Maselli, Invision SLX Program Manager. - In addition, parts made with Invision slush TPE pass stringent automotive industry requirements relating to odor and emissions, and provide excellent long-term UV stability.

A. Schulman is the only company licensed to manufacture and market this new slush TPE technology on a global basis.

- These two new products from Invision represent how we are addressing the needs of the market with technology-driven, customer-focused solutions - said Joseph M. Gingo, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of A. Schulman. - They join our Invision line of engineered TPV compounds, TPO sheet technologies, and soft-touch TPEs in meeting a wide range of design challenges and customer requirements, by delivering the right product for the right application.