Materials | 1 MINUTE READ

TPE Compound Used for Sustainable ‘Cotton’ Swabs

Kraiburg TPE’s medical -grade Thermolast M TPE used for injection molded tips of LastObject’s reusable ‘cotton swabs.
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A medical-grade TPE compound from Kraiburg TPE (U.S. office in Duluth, Ga.) is playing a key part in a Kickstarter project that is supplying reusable, hygienic and reliable alternatives to single-use items we use on a daily basis such as ‘cotton’ swabs with great success.. Danish company LastObject has already sold more than 500,000 LastSwabs to customers all over the world. The company’s mission is to promote the “zero waste” movement and as is responding successfully to EU Directive 2019/904, which bans single-use plastic products and will be coming into effect from mid-2021.

Kraiburg TPE's Thermolast M used to injection mold the tip of reusable swabs.

The basic requirements for their reusable cotton swab, LastSwab, are durability and quick and easy cleaning. Close attention was given to these qualities during the development process. According to the manufacturer, each individual product is designed for up to 1,000 uses. Another requirement was for the product to be skin safe and not cause any irritation when in repeated contact with the skin.

In Denmark, Kraiburg TPE is collaborating closely with Teknisk Agentur, a trusted local distribution partner. The choice of material for the flexible, soft tip was a compound from the Thermolast M series. This compound, which was shown to be superior to its competitors in relation to processing options, adhesion and look, has the following properties: 40 Shore A hardness, 8.0 MPA tensile strength, 800% elongation at break, and 11.5 N/mm tear resistance.

The compound provides adhesion to PP and PE, high abrasion resistance and weldability. The rigid PP stick is extruded, while the Thermolast M tips are injection molded as is the case, which is made of recycled ocean waste plastic (OWP) from the Danish company Zeaplast who collects plastic from the ocean and rivers in southeast Asia and recycles it. The entire product is molded by AMP, a well-known Danish injection molder.

LastObject's swabs use Kraiburg TPE's Thermolast M for the tips/

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