HOUSTON—Forty years after its introduction, Santoprene thermoplastic vulcanizate is growing faster than ever, claiming about 45 percent of the world's TPV market.
There are many reasons for this, according to Kurt Aerts, vice president, Specialty Elastomers & Butyl Polymers, ExxonMobil Chemical, and Mike Bednarik, Asia-Pacific technology adviser for ExxonMobil Chemical.
These include continuing major investments in capacity, research and development; a constant search for growth markets and new applications; and a total commitment to collaborating with customers to obtain the best quality and most appropriate applications possible, Aerts said.
"We are the undisputed industry leader," Aerts said. "ExxonMobil offers its customers supply security, product integration and on-time delivery. We follow new trends in the automotive industry, including electric vehicles. We put our knowledge together, using fundamental science in a way that allows us to collaborate with customers throughout our value chain.
"That's why we have a strong brand name," he said. "We do those things well every day, every minute, and therefore we have earned the right to be the preferred supplier and development partner in the marketplace."
Santoprene TPV was developed in the course of researching a new polymer for tires, according to ExxonMobil.
It turned out to be unsuitable for tires, but it offered a multiplicity of other applications, ranging from tools to appliances to automobiles, the company said. The idea behind Santoprene was simple but revolutionary: It describes it as a material that had all the properties of a rubber, but could be processed like a thermoplastic.
Compared with thermoset rubber, Santoprene from the beginning offered better part performance, faster production cycle times, lower weight, lower production costs, greater design flexibility and greater opportunities for companies to meet their sustainability requirements, ExxonMobil said.