• TPU

What is TPU film? Explanation of TPU film, which is used in a wide range of fields

In the previous articles, we discussed the features, advantages, and disadvantages of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer). In this article, we will discuss the most common TPU product, TPU Film.

What is TPU film?

As explained in a previous article, TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer) is a type of plastic known for its rubber-like elasticity combined with the hardness of plastic. TPU film (polyurethane film/polyurethane elastomer film) is a thin film-like product made from TPU, sometimes called TPU sheet. First, let’s take a look at the features of TPU film.

Features of TPU film

TPU film is a film (sheet) directly extruded from thermoplastic elastomer resin, which is used in a wide range of industrial fields because of its excellent abrasion resistance, flexibility, oil resistance, chemical resistance, and other functional properties that can be achieved through the selection of raw materials and synthesis methods.
Widely known features of TPU film are as follows

  • Abrasion and impact resistance
    Resists friction 3 to 5 times better than natural and synthetic rubbers, and can withstand use in harsh environments.
  • Oil and gasoline resistance
    High durability against oil and gasoline makes it suitable for industrial parts, automotive parts, and solvent protective gloves.
  • Flexion Resistance
    Excellent durability against repeated flexural movement over a long period of time. Because of its resistance to tearing, it is used for industrial parts and containers that cannot be solved with rubber products.
  • Rubber elasticity
    Its excellent rubber elasticity and resistance to change in hardness even at low temperatures make it safe for use in extremely cold regions.

TPU film is attracting attention not only for its high mechanical strength, such as tensile and tear strength, and abrasion resistance, but also for its excellent oxygen permeability (gas barrier property) and water vapor permeability. TPU has the disadvantage of yellowing under the influence of ultraviolet rays, but by selecting and blending raw materials, TPU films with high transparency and resistance to yellowing (non-yellowing) are now available.

What are the uses of TPU film? Examples of Uses

As mentioned earlier, TPU film is utilized in various fields, but there are not many cases where it is used in a visible form, because TPU film changes its form according to its use and purpose due to its ease of processing. Here are some examples of TPU films in use.

  • Automotive & Automotive related
    It is used not only for cables inside automobiles, but also for synthetic leather seats, such as leather seats, armrests and headrests, and the surface skin around instrument panels and console boxes. Another TPU film product that has been attracting attention recently is PPF (Paint Protection Film), which protects automobile parts and paint from flying rocks.
  • Medical Field
    TPU is used in catheters, medical tubing, medical gowns, and dressings that cover and protect affected areas such as wounds and burns. Adhesive bandages, which we use in our daily lives, are another type of dressing material, and adhesive bandages that take advantage of TPU’s water vapor permeability (water resistance) and high oxygen permeability are now available.
  • Apparel Materials
    It is mainly used in raincoats (rainwear), synthetic leather used for shoes, and sportswear. In recent years, “steam-free” outdoor goods using the high water vapor permeability of TPU film have also appeared. It is also used as a fabric adhesive tape that replaces sewing.

TPU film and the future of the market

TPU is a high-quality material with excellent abrasion resistance and shock absorption properties, and is easy to process. Now that the corona disaster is over, the TPU film market is recovering and is expected to continue to grow. The apparel and footwear industries are expected to drive the growth of the TPU film market.
TPU film is also attracting attention in other areas. According to a report by a research firm, the PPF film market is expected to grow at a rate of more than 5.1% from 2021 to 2027. is expected to reach approximately US$418 million by 2027. In addition to automotive, increasing demand from the aerospace industry and the electronics industry are other factors driving the TPU film market.

In this article, we have explained about TPU film, its features, its use in various industries, and its high market potential.
In response to diversifying needs, Howa Matai Packaging offers custom-made TPU film production at its own factory in Japan. Please feel free to contact Howa Matai Packaging if you have any questions about TPU, from material selection to securing resin, which is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.

In our next article, we will explain and discuss PPF film, one of the TPU film markets that is expected to grow along with the apparel and shoe industries.