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Kraiburg TPE Compounds in Leica Cameras

Kraiburg TPE Compounds in Leica Cameras
Kraiburg TPE compounds ensure a steady hand for sharp, clear pictures. Precisely dimensioned TPE mats serve as reinforcement material for the grips of the Leica S2 camera and the Ultravid binocular series.

These high-quality products are manufactured using the product group Thermolast A, which is pleasant to the touch and highly scratch resistant. Leica's in-house testing processes, developed based on customer applications, confirm that the grips made of Kraiburg TPE compounds withstand all effects of daily use, such as perspiration, alcohol and atmospheric conditions. Nor does the photographer have to worry about ill effects, since the TPEs are free of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, phthalates and allergens and are RoHS and REACH compliant.

The grips of the Leica cameras and binoculars consist of thin TPE mats that are integrated in the casing for a firm and stable grip. This is the result of a painstaking production process: the reinforcing mats are manufactured in a single-component process and then glued into recesses specially moulded in the casing. The depth of the recesses varies depending on the shape of the casing and therefore affects the thickness of the TPE layer.

The size of the TPE reinforcing mat also has to exactly match the recessed area, so there are no gaps. In view of these challenging injection moulding conditions, the manufacturer of high-quality cameras can rely on the manufacturer of high-quality TPEs: In cooperation with Leica, Kraiburg TPE developed solutions for tool design and application engineering. “We received sample material early on, in addition to useful information for the prototyping process, which enabled us to start production very quickly. Gluing of the grips was a high-precision process.

We were glad to have on-site support from Kraiburg TPE and their flexibility in responding to problems,” Oliver Neumann, a production planning specialist at Leica, summarizes.

The decision of the Leica engineers to use Thermolast A is no coincidence. These compounds were developed for applications in the automotive industry and for tool grips, so they are highly resistant to many types of influences. The TPE components can withstand scratches, media such as perspiration and alcohol, atmospheric conditions and UV radiation, which makes them ideal for use in extreme outdoor conditions and also for high-quality grip surfaces, such as those on Leica cameras and binoculars.

The compounds are suitable both for extrusion and injection moulding processes and feature excellent adhesion to hard components such as PC and ABS. The TPE series is available in the colours Black, as used in the Leica products, or Natural and in hardnesses from 40 to 80 ShA.

Read more: Thermoplastic 54