Soft Elastic News 06/2020 | World days and TPE

​​​​​​​Dear Customer,

The world is full of curiosities, e.g. full of world and memorial days, some of which could not possibly be any more absurd.

World days – and what they have to do with TPE

Has anyone ever heard of Smoke Detector Day (every Friday 13th), World Nothing Day (January 16th), International Hairdressers’ Day (April 30th – some unusual things were on show this year), Toilet Paper Day (August 26th – surely to be celebrated even earlier in the future), or Buy Nothing Day (last Saturday of October)? The month of June is also full of international, national, and memorial days. But we do not wish to discuss the unusual days here (Hoppla Day on June 8th, Let Go Day on June 23rd) but rather those which actually make sense, such as World Bicycle Day which was back on June 3rd, and Child Safety Day, which took place on June 10th.

Safety for children

The latter has been organized and coordinated by the federal working party “Mehr Sicherheit für Kinder e.V.” (more safety for children) since 2000. The focus is on the safety of children of all ages and the prevention of accidents. Without events this June (likely to be held at later dates in the second half of the year), Child Safety Day has a new motto every year: from safety at home, outside, with animals through to the safety of products. We wish to devote ourselves to this topic and take a closer look here at the legislation, regulations, and standards for children’s and babies’ toys.

Strictest guidelines for children’s and babies’ toys 

Toys – particularly those for babies and toddlers – must be very safe. Especially when they are put into the mouth or licked. In its 88/378/EEC Directive, the EU has therefore specified that heavy metals in toys may only be dissolved in volumes which are harmless to children's health. DIN EN 71-3 “Safety of toys – Part 3: Migration of certain elements” specifies limit values for the various elements for extraction from toy material in an attempt to implement the Directive. These limit values were calculated on the basis of biologically available volumes in line with the Directive and by assuming a daily oral intake of 8 mg toy material.
This standard has been valid since July 2013. Children's toys are also governed by other regulations and laws such as the Washington Children’s Safe Product Act, which includes a list of chemicals subject to critical assessment. It makes sense, therefore, to ask the fundamental question about the material used for the toy to be produced. When selecting TPE materials for rattles, teething rings, bath toys, grip toys, etc., attention should be given to the content of heavy metals, plasticizers, PAH, and nitrosamines, for example. SOFT EST.® compounds offered by ACTEGA DS dispense with all chemicals classified as harmful for the protection of mothers and their babies. These TPE compounds, for example, do not contain PVC, problematic plasticizers, silicone, or latex. The oils used for the compounds involve those with the lowest PAH content. All products which come into contact with food meet EU Regulation 10/2011 and are certified. They are free of heavy metals and, depending on the respective requirements and application, feature increased adhesive properties, and are germ-reducing as an extra option. These are aspects which are also of particular importance for the areas of pharmaceuticals and medical technology. Please feel free to enquire about our examples.

Ergonomics and performance

This brings us to World Bicycle Day which is attributed a particular significance this year as, considering the current situation, the bicycle market is booming everywhere, even in a country such as Italy which is marked by traffic chaos and where potholes, impatient car drivers and smog have traditionally discouraged people from cycling to work or the shops. The “environment, mobility, health” triad, as preached by the Federal Environment Agency, is now supplemented by a fourth aspect: as buses and trains carry fewer passengers on account of social distancing, cycling has gained in importance.

​​​​​​​And it is much more pleasant for individuals than having to permanently wear face coverings in enclosed spaces. This means, however, that cycle paths are particularly busy and the risk of accidents increases. Some accidents can possibly be prevented by a firm and safe hold. Bike grips are of major importance when cycling: holding, steering, braking – these are the most important tasks for which bike grips are responsible. And they should also be as ergonomic as possible. This task can only be complied with by grips which fit perfectly to the hand. This brings us to the material. SOFT EST.® TPEs ensure bike grips have a particularly ergonomic design. This makes cycling very pleasant but also safe. Their improved mechanics, higher elasticity, and tensile strength also offer further advantages over other resilient plastics. Furthermore, these translucent TPE are easier to dye than grips in natural colors. Even slightly translucent areas are possible compared to natural ones which only permit muted colors. Another aspect concerns lightweight design. This involves the urgent task of saving weight while maintaining or even improving performance, whereby one determining factor concerns the selection of suitable materials and optimal coordination thereof.



How to save weight while increasing performance is demonstrated by the translucent SOFT EST.® TPE which display a very low density of 0.89 g/cm³ and are therefore significantly lighter than other flexible materials such as soft PVC (approx. 1.2 g/cm³ - 1.35 g/cm³) or TPU (approx. 1.2 g/cm³). The effects can be illustrated using the example of bike grips which are often made from resilient plastic. Thanks to the low density of the TPE material, a standard lock-on bike grip which is typically available on the market, is 31 grams lighter than when soft PVC or TPU are used. Sample calculation: with 75.9 million bicycles (number of bicycles in Germany in 2019), this would mean overall savings of around 2,353 kilotons of material if all bike grips were to be manufactured from this TPE material.

If you have plans for a product in the areas outlined here, please feel free to contact us. We will find the right material solution for you and your project. 

Stay healthy!

Clear all