Soft Elastic News | World days and TPE

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 – 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.

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Ergonomics and

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.

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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!