At the COMPAMED 2022 exhibition, HEXPOL TPE officially launched their medical TPEs with bio-attributed content according to the mass balance principle. Adding to their growing portfolio of materials that enable a shift away from fossil feedstocks.
Mass balance allows for a gradual increase of the bio-circular share using existing infrastructure with the target to reduce the use of fossil resources step by step. It is an approach to account for materials entering and leaving a system. The bio-circular feedstock is added at the beginning of the process, traced through intermediate transformations, and allocated to the end product. As both bio-circular and fossil feedstocks are mixed, it is not possible to guarantee a specific concentration in the final product. This is comparable to ‘green’ electricity, where consumers cannot be sure the electricity they use has come directly from renewable sources, but the overall share of green electricity in the grid rises in step with demand.
HEXPOL TPE identified mass balance as a good option for their medical customers as the resulting TPE material is a drop-in solution with identical properties. This is because monomers from renewable sources, but with the same quality and purity as those of fossil origin, are used to make bio-circular polymers (through mass balance). HEXPOL TPE can replace the fossil polymers in their TPE compounds with the bio-attributed mass-balanced version to create a 1:1 replacement. The technical properties, chemical composition, and regulatory status of the mass balance TPE will be the same as the corresponding fossil-based material.
Annika Swanholm, medical development engineer at HEXPOL TPE, commented, “It’s important for us to support our medical customers as they address the sustainability of their products and help them make informed material choices. To be included as part of our Mediprene portfolio of medical TPEs, we must also ensure we uphold the highest levels of raw-material selection, regulatory compliance, traceability and change management”.
Third-party verification is required to audit the mass balance allocation and allow for correct product labelling. HEXPOL TPE’s Swedish site was among the first TPE compounders to achieve the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC PLUS) last year. ISCC PLUS is a global certification scheme providing traceability along the supply chain and guarantees correct and transparent use of the mass balance approach. Certified companies must meet specific environmental and social standards, creating a chain of custody.
The new materials will form part of the Mediprene portfolio of TPEs for medical applications. Mass balance versions of their Mediprene 500M standard series are available, as well as customised grades. Typical applications include airway management, face masks, resealable membranes, IV systems, seals and connectors.
Inger Haag Olsson, medical development engineer at HEXPOL TPE, added, “These mass-balanced TPEs allow customers to meet performance requirements while ensuring the regulatory status and, at the same time, working towards their sustainability goals”.
HEXPOL TPE can provide cradle-to-gate Product Carbon Footprints (PCF) to further inform customers. HEXPOL TPE’s PCF methodology is built upon the principles of ISO 14067:2018 for the carbon footprint of products, which is associated with the principles and requirements of ISO standards 14040:2006 and 14044:2006 for life cycle assessment. The PCF provides CO2 equivalent data per kg of TPE, calculated from raw materials and their transportation, product manufacturing and packaging.
About Hexpol TPE
HEXPOL TPE is an international polymer compounding group specialising in Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) for key industries such as consumer, medical, packaging, automotive and construction. We were among the 1st companies to produce TPEs in Europe, and more than 50 years later, the possibilities continue to inspire us – yes, we’re self-confessed TPE freaks! Our international teams work with customers around the world, developing new polymer combinations and creating customised materials that are safer, more durable, more sustainable. As part of the HEXPOL Group of companies, we share an extensive global footprint. Covering Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America, enabling us to support our customers worldwide.