High-tech for oral hygiene
18 March 2015
High-tech for oral hygiene
Actega DS developed have developed a new TPE for the production of manual toothbrushes in the brand name segment. These TPE are characterized by softness, ease of colouration, good surface feel, good cycle times in injection moulding, low abrasion in feed line, very good adhesion to PP and PE and of course compliance with FDA and EU regulations.
Who would ever think while brushing their teeth in the morning that they are holding a high-tech product which complies with high demands on hygiene, appearance and function as well as haptic design?
Today, most manual toothbrushes are designed and manufactured to consist of up to four plastic components. Not to mention the fact that they are always available in four different colors. This translates into high demands on toothbrush production which also needs to be cost-efficient. Economical production of this mass-market item – more than six trillion toothbrushes are sold globally every year – therefore involves the use of multi-component technology. The multi-component injection-molding process offers the possibility to unite the properties of various plastics or colors in a single molded part. It is a manufacturing process for producing multifunctional components in a single step. Sequential merging of several melts in a single tool enables the properties of various plastics – e.g. hard/soft compounds – or colors to be united in a single work step. This shortens the process times, increases production reliability and dispenses with the expenses associated with the storage and transport of intermediate products.
In terms of tools, multi-component injection-molding is realized using rotary tables or rotation cores, core-back or stack-turning techniques which means that the first component is injected similar to classic compact injection-molding. The various processes or tools outlined above are available for injecting the other components. In the case of toothbrushes, i.e. the combination of parts with a hard substrate and soft surface, a turning or displacement technique is applied, i.e. the pre-molded part stays in the cavity. By turning or displacing a section of the die, space is created for injecting the TPE.
Multi-component technology makes major demands on the material. This involves compatibility among the plastics, for example, and the special requirement concerning adhesion. Material developments involve modifications of plastics to enable them to be optimized for the requirements of the actual products to be manufactured. For this reason, Actega DS has adapted ProvaMed formulae accordingly for the particular demands of toothbrushes on design, non-slip features, grip and handling. The plastic granulates are available in shore hardness A50 and A70, good flow performance, high elongation at break, high flexibility, low density, translucent or opaque
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