Especially in sanitary facilities and household appliances the components and functional elements come into direct or indirect contact with drinking water. Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE), due to their elastic properties and the economical processing methods of injection molding or extrusion, open up diverse possibilities for manufacturers of drinking water applications – at the same time, the materials must pass stringent controls, due to the extreme requirements of this market for quality and safety.
Epecially for drinking water applications KRAIBURG TPE has developed TPEs with different grades of hardness that contain no softeners and comply with the European standards in Great Britain (WRAS), France (ACS) and Germany (KTW and W270). Within the scope of the German guidelines for plastics in drinking water issued by the Federal Environmental Agency the new compounds are approved for drinking water applications. Approvals according ACS and WRAS are in progress and will be confirmed shortly. The formulation of the new drinking water compliant series had been optimized according the increasing requirements of the market: the economical thermoplastic extrusion process allow use of the material for the manufacture of supply hoses for showers or dishwashers, for example. In the development and manufacture of drinking water compliant TPEs KRAIBURG TPE focuses on the stringent regulations from Great Britain, France and Germany. After all, drinking water is considered a foodstuff and must be of high quality to prevent damage to health through its consumption or use. All raw materials used must therefore conform to these regulations. On its way from the waterworks to the consumer’s tap the quality of the water must not be impaired with respect to flavor, odor, color, concentration of pathogens, etc.
The requirements of the European drinking water standards are mandatory for TPE manufacturers such as KRAIBURG TPE in the development of new compound series. Thermoplastic Elastomers are manufactured for the most part on the basis of styrene block copolymers, which also form the raw material basis for developing compounds for use with drinking water. The market-oriented portfolio of KRAIBURG TPE includes three series that are specially adapted to the requirements of the drinking water market. The secret of drinking water compliant TPEs is the special formulation of the compounds. The growth of microorganisms is prevented without the addition of biocides. However, the special materials not only fulfill the requirements for drinking water compatibility, but also feature the special advantages of a high-quality TPE: due to a hardness spectrum between 50 and 90 Shore A and the capability for precise coloring, which has no effect on the drinking water certifications, they can be used in numerous applications.