Processing technology and industrial application of polymer TPU

June 12,2020

TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) was first introduced in Germany in 1930. In 1958, B.F. Goodrich Chemical (now Bayer AG) developed a commercialized TPU and put it into the market in 1961. In recent years, due to the rapid development of adhesives, automotive, medical and other industries, more and more traditional materials are replaced by TPU. It is estimated that the compound annual growth rate of TPU will be 5-8% by 2025.

TPU is a polymer with many carbamate groups  (-NHCOO-) in the main chain of polymer structure, which is mainly made by the reaction of polyol, diisocyanate  and a small amount of chain extender . After many years of molding technology and formulation improvement, the requirements that were difficult to achieve in the past are now possible. And TPU, with excellent performance, is widely used in people's livelihood, automotive, sports, footwear, construction, medical and industrial uses, etc., The application of related end products is quite extensive. Because of its special properties such as excellent mechanical, elasticity, high abrasion resistance, chemical resistance and excellent biocompatibility, TPU has rapidly developed into one of the most important materials in the necessities of people's livelihood, industrial applications and medical industry.

(Image source: Coating P. Materials)


TPU Processing Type: 

TPU itself is an environmentally friendly polymer material and does not contain plasticizers. It is usually presented in the form of pellets. TPU pellets melted at a higher temperature can be made into different shapes or composite products. At present, injection molding and extrusion molding are the most common applications, accounting for more than 70% in total. At the same time, TPU and certain polymer materials can be processed together to obtain polymer alloys  with complementary performance and good reusability, which is resistant to oil, water and mold.

In addition, the processing and molding technology of TPU products is also very convenient, such as: injection, extrusion, calendering, blow molding, molded foam , melt spinning , high frequency welding , vacuum forming , 3D printing, and impregnation treatment . The general polymer processing equipment can be used to make different types of end products without re-investment in hardware and operators. With a wide range of TPU material series, CPMC can manufacture customized items for specific needs, and comprehensively apply them to different products:

  • Injection processing: All kinds of buckles, main materials/ accessories of footwear, gears, wheel cores, protective equipment, watch belts, etc.

  • Extrusion processing: Breathable films, sealing tapes, wire covering, conveyor belts, oil hoses and all kinds of adhesive membrane, etc.

  • Calendering processing: Eco-friendly leather fabrics used in sofas, bags/cases, shoe uppers, apparel, etc.

  • Blow molding processing: Hollow-shaped parts or products for gardening, sports, entertainment or industrial goods, etc.

  • Molded foam processing: Soles of shoes.

  • Melt spinning processing: TPU monofilament, core spun yarn.

  • High frequency welding processing: Inflatable boats, life jackets, waterproof backpacks, cold bags, waterproof tents, etc.

  • Vacuum forming processing: Packaging shell, integrated shoe upper.

  • 3D printing processing:Hard and soft wire for 3D printing, buffer elements, protective gears and soles.

  • Impregnation treatment: Various textile processing.


TPU Industry Application: 

In 2012, CPMC developed the environmentally friendly TPU for film and sheet materials by using existing calendering equipment and processes, which can completely replace PVC artificial leather. CPMC TPU items have the unique advantages of good fluidity, low melting point, good processing, UV resistance, abrasion resistance, and other characteristics.

In recent years, the applications of TPU in three major industries, electric vehicles, biomedical products, and footwear, are very promising. Although the COVID-19 pneumonia epidemic has hit the shoemaking and textile industries, because of the environmentally sustainable nature of TPU, many enterprises continue to use TPU to development related products. Its industrial applications are as follows: 

  • Automotive industry: With the rapid development of electric vehicles, TPU's environmentally friendly and lightweight features are widely used for automotive interiors, airbags, cushioning insulation foams and paint protective film.

  • Biomedical industry: It’s environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and good biocompatibility can completely replace PVC materials which contain plasticizers and make all kinds of medical tubing, bedspreads/ sheets/ pillowcases, surgical gowns/ isolating gowns/ protective gowns, blood bags/ drop bags, and human implants, etc.

  • Footwear industry: The trend of the green footwear industry is sweeping the world. Almost the whole pair of shoes whether main materials, accessories or adhesives can be made of TPU from inside to outside.

Over the years, through communication with customers and breakthrough in technology, CPMC is capable of solving the problems arising from the processing of raw materials. Plus, CPMC could offer professional customized products based on the needs of different customers and different end applications. CPMC has already developed many new products with customers in people's livelihood industry, construction industry, and wires and cables industry:

From the perspective of the development trend of TPU materials, TPU particle technology is relatively stable and has many varieties, which is in the stage of fierce competition. In response to the material and processing needs of different industries, CPMC always adheres to the spirit of environmental friendly pioneer, bringing environmental TPU into all walks of life through technology and services. Taking the dual strategy of customer application requirements and environmental protection as the development goal, CPMC has the courage to challenge the latest technology, strive to establish customer partnerships, and contribute to the sustainable development of the global environment. For more product information, please feel free to 【contact us】.