Mixing Together:
Will there be increased demand for
thermoplastic elastomers, for example, sealing materials
for doors and window panes?
Michael F. Ableson:
We see a steady increase in the
use of thermoplastic elastomers for the previously
mentioned applications. Compared to previously used
pure elastomers, thermoplastic elastomers have a clear
economic advantage – not to forget the potential for re-
cycling. The only disadvantage is the poor setting beha-
viour, which must be balanced through constructive
solutions. The entire automotive industry is working on
this intensively.
Mixing Together:
How will materials based on renew-
able raw materials be used in future (NFP, WPC or similar)?
What limits their use today?
Michael F. Ableson:
Natural fibre-reinforced plastics,
such as sisal, hemp and wood flour-reinforced plastics,
have been used successfully in the automotive industry
for many years. They are found in door panels, head-
liners, supporting plates and many other vehicle ele-
ments. It is important to pay attention to issues such as
emissions. In this area, they play a much larger role than
glass fibre-reinforced materials and inorganically filled
materials. Since reducing total vehicle emissions is an
endeavour pursued worldwide, new debates could arise.
Compared to conventional materials, a recycling of nat-
ural fibre-reinforced materials cannot be realised that
easily – especially in regards to fulfilling legal require-
Mixing Together:
How do you see the development of
biopolymers with regard to their possible application in
Michael F. Ableson:
Biopolymers can definitely be put
on the same level of synthetically produced polymers.
The only factor limiting the use of biopolymers at the mo-
ment is an economic disadvantage, as biopolymers are
significantly more expensive. If the industry succeeds
in developing economic production methods for the
respective monomers, we will see more positive use for
them. Of course, this must also be discussed and con-
sidered in terms of social policy. Substitutes should not
compete with food, as commonly heard in E10 discus-
Mixing Together:
From your point of view, what will be
the general trend in the development of biological raw
materials (polymer, oil, fillers)?
Michael F. Ableson:
Due to the limitation of global oil
reserves, the pressure on the development of biogenic
substitutes will certainly increase steadily. Costs will be
reduced, so the use of biopolymers is becoming increas-
ingly attractive. Surely the optimisation of industrial pro-
cesses for the production of corresponding monomers
will be of particular importance.
Mixing Together:
What kind of fillers could this be?
Michael F. Ableson:
For fillers, cellulose or lignin-base,
the problems with regard to emission and odour need to
be solved. This could be enforced through the use and
development of modern manufacturing processes. Car-
bon fibres have a significant potential, if we succeed in
commercialising them economically and efficiently.
We thank Mr Ableson for his future outlook on the tyre
industry and we wish our customers, employees and
friends of the HF MIXING GROUP lots of fun reading our
‘Substitutes should not compete
with food.’
‘We see a steady increase in the use
of thermoplastic elastomers for the
pre­viously mentioned applications.’
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