WALDKRAIBURG, Germany—French company Hexaflex has developed a patented padding technology based on hexagonal-pyramidal shapes using Kraiburg TPE's thermoplastic elastomers.
Kraiburg's Thermolast K TPE compound is used to provide flexibility, light weight and full articulation characteristics for the modular system which is used for shock and vibration absorbing applications, the German compounder said.
The technology can be used in various applications, including sportswear, personal protection equipment, health care and other demanding industries.
In a first application, the technology is used for a dorsal protection product covered with high-strength aromatic polyamide stretch fabric for bikers and motorcyclists. The material combination, Kraiburg said, acts like "a second skin". The fully-articulated padding has interlocking shapes to follow body motion while ensuring shock absorption.
The fully-washable and waterproof padding is "breathable" due to integrated ventilation features in the design.
"Innovative concepts like our Hexaflex system need innovative materials to take them from idea to reality," said Stephane Desnoyers, founder and CEO of Hexaflex company.
For the concept, according to Desnoyers, Hexaflex needed "an elastomeric solution rather than foam".
Here, Kraiburg TPE helped Hexaflex with both the materials solution and design.
The Hexaflex shapes can be molded in various sizes and thicknesses and can be custom colored. Thermolast K provides the long-term flexibility required for reliable articulation of the assembled padding throughout the life time of the protectors, according to Kraiburg.
The material also has been shown to minimize rebound when the padding is flexed, which results in high shock absorption performance.
The compound also meets other requirements such as strength and durability over a wide range of temperatures.
Thermolast K also is recyclable and does not have substances of very high concern in the compound.
Hexaflex is planning to extend the technology to other sportswear in the near future, including knee and elbow pads for activities such as skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing and horseback riding.
The company also sees broad application possibilities in personal protection equipment, from helmet inserts to breathable harnesses, as well as in anti-vibration floor padding and various health care products.
The Hexaflex technology is patented in Europe, China and the U.S.