Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) continue to find use among manufacturers of power tools and other industrial applications. An example of this is an overmolding application for a palm-sized sanding tool from National Detroit Inc. (Rockford, IL), a manufacturer of pneumatic hand-held sanders for industrial, autobody and woodworking applications.

The product is part of the palm grip series of multipurpose sanding tools from the company. The series includes the PG and PG-3 models. The sanders enable one-handed control for such uses as sanding door jambs, small ledges and tight corners.

GLS Corp.'s Versaflex TPE alloy, specifically the overmold 6050X grad, is overmolded about 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick onto the glass-filled, black nylon base of the sander. The product is molded by Contract Design (Blaine, MN), a product development and custom molding firm. It specializes in the molding of parts for the industrial, medical and telecommunications markets, as well as business machines, filter assemblies, washing machines and packaging.

"The PG sander is a homegrown product that we developed in response to the needs and desires of our markets and customers for a truly portable sanding tool that would offer ease of use, noise and vibration dampening, overall comfort and ergonomics and visual appeal," notes Roger Hoffman, vice president. "We decided that the incorporation of a rubber-like material would meet these product requirements."

The material, which is supplied natural and is then colored a deep blood red, has a 50 Shore A hardness. It is designed for multishot molding or insert overmolding onto a variety of substrates, such as nylon 6/6, 6 and 12. It provides a soft feel to various applications, such as power and garden tools, painting tools and steering wheel grips, where a tactile grip and feel are necessary.

For more information on thermoplastic elastomers, call GLS Corp. Thermplastic Elastomers Div. at 815-385-8500, visit