Disposable TPE gloves also called Thermoplastic Elastomer gloves or Tensile PE gloves. So good tensile and better elongation are their most performance, it feels soft, strong, fit hands well, some types feel slip on the surface, some customers require it non-slip, sticky film will help them catch things better, especially in wet kitchen and labs. But for some sticky food, like cakes, noodles, breads, slip gloves will help more when workers making them.
It has influence little of the gloves’ industry before 2020, To be exact, before COVID-19. Because this TPE glove is very few demand in the world, and price is close to PVC glove, not many users prefer to change to use the TPE glove, but increase every year, not only the price, but also the environment. TPE gloves are all thinner than vinyl gloves, that means no matter during manufacture or destroy them, it will use less energy, and also it not use plasticization, so will be helpful to environment too.
Today, after the COVID-19, more and more persons try to use it to replace of PVC, vinyl and Nitrile gloves and learn it, and i think will use it more in the future, also will promote the development of the TPE glove and material industry.
TYPES and USE of TPE gloves
Because disposable TPE gloves are made by heat sealed, it can’t be used in medical purpose, but sometimes it still can be used in hospital for nursing or checking, examination, inspect.
It can be divided into three categories according to the quality lever:
AQL 1.5: Water test approve AQL 1.5 according to ISO 2859-1974, can be used in hospital or even medical purpose when nurse exam patients. Though TPE glove feels not so good as Nitrile gloves, but the cost is only one forth of it, so it is still welcome in hospital. It is as soft as Nitrile gloves, good feeling, strong tensile and can isolate bacteria, blood, water, dust.
AQL 2.5: Really good gloves, though it only can pass AQL 2.5 water test, but in hair dye and hair washing, they are enough. Same material and same soft as AQL 1.5 TPE glove, strong tensile and strong elongation as well.
AQL 4.0: Food contact lever, mainly for food industry service, also for machines repair as well. Strong tensile can make sure gloves will not be broken when using, cheap cost make sure it so welcome in food factories and restaurants. Though it is sealed by two film cause it has seal in the edge, but the seal broken tensile is as strong as film, so you don’t need to worry about it.
Non standard: The gloves that don’t do water test. These gloves are just made as PE gloves do, no quality standard. I don’t suggest buyer to purchase them though maybe there are cheaper, because no quality control will cause a lot of bad feedback from users. Because the factories maybe use very little TPE or even no TPE material in it, just use CPE material to cheat users.
|Water Test or Air Pressure Test|
|AQL LEVER||Test samples||PASS||REJECT|
|1, Test gloves in every 2 hours working;|
|2, Machines’ speed no more than 135 pcs per minute;|
|3, Every test gloves need to bear 1 kg water;|
According to the embossing, mainly divide into 3 types. From the first type super tiny smooth embossing to square diamond embossing, all types depends on the customers and users need.
Super tiny smooth embossing: Disposable TPE gloves is devised to take place of Vinyl gloves or PVC gloves, so it need to be similar to them, this first type super tiny embossing makes the TPE film very smooth and soft, feel very nice and fit hands well. Smooth type makes it slip and can make sure when you use them to make sticky food, it will not dirty your hands and sticky on your hand, will make your works easier.
Square Diamond embossing: Most of works need non-slip gloves, because they need to catch tools. In this week, we create and developed new type square diamond embossing TPE gloves, to meet customers’ requirements. Though it still can’t be as sticky as hands and Nitrile gloves, but can meet most works, and also when you wear it, you will feel more and more sticky.
CPE gloves embossing: Though diamond embossing TPE gloves is most sticky in all TPE gloves, but it is difficult to produce and also we blackbox plastic has the patents. So many factories use normal CPE gloves embossing to sell, and also it is more sticky than smooth gloves of course. Diamond, square is the most popular in this divide. But it is so similar to CPE gloves, and also it feels not so soft as normal TPE gloves, it is not popular in market and users.
Length, mainly it is 255 mm to 260 mm, shorter than CPE gloves, but similar and little longer than Vinyl and PVC gloves. In Japanese market, 280 mm is most popular. 280mm can protect users’ wrist better than 255mm, so welcome more.
Weight, normally it is 1.9 gram per piece for Medium size or 2.0 gram for Medium size. Some customers require thicker type to be similar to Vinyl and PVC glove, 3.2 gram even 3.5 gram, very very strong, but not as soft as thinner gloves, so we don’t suggest customers to choose those types, not economical, and feeling not good.
As to comparison to Vinyl gloves even Nitrile gloves, TPE gloves are easier to wear and take off, but easily to drop off even during using, so we develop new model type to solve this feedback from customers. Wrist contractive and waist contractive new models are very good solution for it.
Here i show you a video how it works and performance. Click this photo, it’s on our factory’s face book.
Performance of kinds TPE gloves
Types of TPE gloves are developed to meet different customers’ requirements. Different raw material and different thickness or even different embossing will cause different results. Every single condition will cause different performance and different news. Some even it don’t contain TPE material also called TPE gloves, because of it’s strong tensile and strong film. Less TPE material will cheaper because the TPE raw material’s price is much higher than normal PE.
50% TPE material smooth super gloves
They are the earliest invented disposable TPE gloves, to meet the customers’ feeling that similar to Vinyl gloves even Nitrile gloves, very soft but strong enough even it’s thinner and lighter than them. But because of its half TPE material, it is hard to produce and need to add slip material. Some customers hate its smooth and difficult to wear. But some prefer it, because it’s really soft and feel well when you wear it. Smooth performance can help users not stick on any other sticky things.
20% TPE material normal gloves
They are developed to reduce the cost, COVID-2019 speedy it because more and more factories want to earn quick money, more TPE material and less TPE material don’t feel big difference in users’ hand, they can’t feel, because the use nearly the same, even the tensile performance. These gloves are used to replace the PVC gloves and Nitrile gloves in some un-serious situations. Most families choose this type gloves to face COVID-2019. Much cheaper and still strong enough.
0% TPE material gloves
It is a not reasonable and should not be developed type. Because more new glove factories want to earn very very quick money in this COVID-2019 with new machines, they choose this new type gloves with same high price of normal disposable TPE gloves. Much cheaper material and very high profit. Though it feels much more harder than normal TPE gloves, but strength is still good, so many users don’t know what exactly it is.
SEBS material TPE Gloves
These gloves use SEBS type TPE material. SEBS is a kind of Styrenic thermoplastic elastomer, soft, strong elastic and food contact approved. After modified, SEBS will be changed to TPE material, it is called really TPE.
POE material TPE Gloves
An improved TPE gloves, more sticky, more tensile, and more soft. Some customers call them TPO gloves. POE don’t need to modified, can be mixed with PE directly to produce film.
TPU material TPE Gloves
An improved product of tensile TPE gloves, to improve the resilience of gloves. But much more expensive material make it still in experimental stage.
TPE can be called Tensile Polyethylene, also can be called Thermoplastic Elastomer. So much more factories and distributors want to classify it into more meticulous fields. It will help to stable and increase the market.
Please see the characteristics of the tensile and elongation of the above-mentioned gloves in the following figure. Each kind of TPE gloves has a range value, same gram weights and different tensile strength products are produced according to the customer’s needs.
TPE Gloves VS Vinyl Gloves
TPE gloves are developed to replace vinyl gloves finally. Because vinyl gloves are not environmental welcome. It contain Vinyl, plasticizers, and much heavier, also it is a waste of energy. No matter TPE or Vinyl gloves can’t biodegradable easily, so after using, we need to recycle them. Vinyl gloves also called PVC gloves, TPE gloves also called generation 2 CPE gloves.
TPE gloves mainly use TPE and MLLDPE, LLDPE, LDPE mixed material to produce, all material are green and recyclable, though they are not biodegradable, but they are cheap and easy to make, no smell and can use longer. Vinyl gloves mainly use vinyl, plasticizers, because vinyl contain chlorine, also the plasticizers are not stable in the glove film, they are easy to separate out when heat or touch acidic or alkaline things, so it is not welcome in food contact.
Vinyl gloves is made by production line, from mixed material to dipping, the film will stay on the glove model, and after drying, it will be taken off from the model and can be worn. So during the production, we can’t easily stop it when we found any problem. TPE glove is stamping from TPE film, TPE film making from the film making machines, like T-die, blowing machines. It’s two steps, so when we found any problem, we can just stop stamping and after we solve the mistakes, we can start again as we want. So as usual, TPE gloves is easy to increase the capacity.
Vinyl gloves price is much higher than TPE gloves, though the material is cheaper. Vinyl material is around USD 1800 per ton, TPE material is around USD 3000 per ton. But the production cost is different, Vinyl gloves need much more energy than TPE gloves, also the machines cost, one Vinyl gloves production line need around USD 1 million dollars, and daily capacity is 250,000 pieces.
And the same capacity for disposable TPE gloves only need around 0.06 million dollars! That mean if you invest 1 million dollars, you can have 250,000 pieces per day vinyl production line or 4,000,000 pieces per day TPE glove production machines. Totally different costs cause different prices. Vinyl gloves price now is around USD 35 per 1000 pieces, and TPE gloves price now is around USD 8.2per 1000 pieces. That’s why more than more persons choose TPE gloves.
Both two types gloves have 4 quality levers, AQL 1.5, AQL 2.5, AQL 4.0 and no quality requirement. But both types can’t used in surgical operation, Vinyl glove contain too much plasticizers, so it is forbidden in food contact industry, but TPE gloves is popular in it. Vinyl glove strength is not strong enough to use in surgical operation. TPE glove can approve, but it is sealed glove, no hospital will use it for medical purpose. Tensile and elongation is similar.
They both can used in general purpose, such as cleaning, clear, food prepare, nursing, repair, touch. But because Vinyl gloves is seamless, TPE gloves is seam gloves, so some users prefer Vinyl gloves. Friction is similar, also lab mainly use Nitrile gloves or Vinyl gloves.
TPE Gloves VS PE Gloves
They are both made from film, TPE film made by T-die casting machine, PE film made by blowing machine, and same stamping machines.
As both called PE material, so their main material is nearly the same, also TPE material can be blown too. MLLDPE, LDPE, LLDPE are the main materials of two gloves.
Bowling film machine is cheaper than T-DIE casting film machine. One T-die casting film machine can buy 5 more blowing machine, but T-die casting film machine can produce more than 2 tons film one day, one blowing machine can produce around 0.6 ton film. Stamping machines are similar price. Melt mixed material, then stamp, these two steps will make the seam gloves.
TPE gloves is expensive than PE ones, because the TPE gloves is double heavier than PE gloves, the price is nearly 3 times expensive, so the reason is not only the weight, also the production method. Though it’s 3 times expensive, but the price is still very cheap. PE gloves price is around USD 2.0-3.5, TPE gloves price is around USD 7.0-12.0 per thousand pieces. Packing way is also a very important reason for it. Some packing style even expensive than gloves self.
TPE gloves are mainly packing in box and bags, these packing style are also main for PE gloves. But PE gloves also have deli packing style, it also called hang glove or easy wear glove.
PE and TPE gloves are totally different quality lever, PE gloves can’t inspect as AQL lever, they are real disposable. AQL 1.5 TPE gloves even can use in hospital for medical examination, so it’s much stronger than PE glove. PE glove are very thin and not strong, so only use in few food contact or dust contact work, such as fast food kitchen.
They are both used for food contact, but TPE gloves are much stronger than PE glove, so many food factory use TPE gloves for whole day work. It’s the most economical glove, because PE glove are too thin to use many time, Nitrile glove is too expensive.
No matter PE or TPE gloves has many sizes, such as SSS, SS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, but like small size, though they both have small size, but totally different dimension. Same size glove, TPE glove is smaller than PE, like Vinyl glove, fits hand well, soft, good feeling. Because TPE glove is much stronger than PE, it can be like that, but PE glove can’t, because they are thin, are not strong, easy to broken, if you use such small dimension size PE glove, it will be broken very easily when using.
They both has transparent, translucent, blue and black.
Both can’t biodegradable, can recycle well, but TPE gloves is better than PE gloves, it will be biodegradable around 20 years, but PE gloves will need around 100 years.
TPE gloves’ production process
Easy production method, film casting and glove stamping, but not means easy producing. Gloves are easy to have broken glove when producing, because the quantity is too much, one stamping machine can produce around 100,000 pieces per day, one casting film machine can make around 2-3 tons per day, these film can make around 400,000 pieces.
Mixed the material and melt it to around 220 degree, film model set around the same 220 degree. Suddenly cool down the film with emboss if needed, after it cool down, the film is stable, and cut it into small width that fit glove models, then roll the film on the tubes to rolls. Different formula needs different temperature, too high temperature will cause the film turn yellow, and even will cause some black burnt plastic spot. Too low temperature will cause the material don’t melt completely, will cause some white plastic spot and big hole. So suitable temperature is very important in film producing.
After film making, we get the film rolls. Two rolls needed to make the glove, because the glove has two layers of film. Glove models is very hot like 300 degree, much more than melt temperature, because the speed normally is very high, like 130 pieces per minute, it cause the machines need to be very stable that can’t take mistake in a whole day or some hours. Every mistake on the machine will cause to produce lots of defective gloves. Model releasing oil and High-Temperature Resistance Paper needs in the middle of models and film.
Quality Control and Identification
After the world happens to spread COVID-2019, gloves are needed much more than before, and no matter factories and distributors all want to sell them and have them. New distributors want to win the new market quickly and want to earn more in short time, so more and more factories start to produce it even some cloths factory. How a new factory can supply a good quality disposable TPE gloves in such short time? I don’t believe! No matter how much you buy, quality is the most important, because defective gloves will cause you infecting the bacteria even some clean area, particularly in hospital and live animals. So we must choose the best TPE gloves when we buy.
Factory found years or brand establish years
Why i put this on the first point, because i don’t believe that such new factories or brand can supply good quality in very short time producing experience, though it is a very simple product, but it is very fast speed production, workers’ experience is very important. So i suggest when you choose it, you need to know how many years the producer founded, more than 10 years is the best, i don’t suggest you choose those factories that only start to produce less than 3 years.
More and more factories don’t observe the original formula, some new factories even don’t have formula, just use very common strength PE material like MLLDPE to replace the TPE material. But no matter what you use, if you feel the gloves hard and not soft, that means they cheat you, and use less TPE material, no matter which kind of TPE, if they use less than 25% percent, the glove will feel very hard.
Blow up the gloves
Blow up one piece of glove, you can find whether it is strong enough during working. Strong seam break tensile is very important for TPE gloves, it should be above 2.0 N. If under pressure, you will hear brisk sound, that means it good.
Here i also finger out the most defective gloves, and how they happened during producing.
One layer film gloves
Those gloves can’t be used, and nobody can bear it. When workers produce the gloves, during the production, the film roll suddenly break inside, then there will be only one film on the glove, it will cause some pieces of one layer film glove, when the worker find it, it already has some beside the gloves, so the workers need to throw them away, if the worker don’t throw it, there will be some pieces packed into box.
Big hole on gloves
Most is because the film melt temperature, too high will cause black spot and big hole, too low will cause white spot and big hole.
Some gloves has 4 fingers or one layer 5 fingers, but another layer is 4, those are because one layer of film is move to left or right, not in the middle. If the middle finger is cut, that is because the machine has problem in the motor.
A lot of black spots
Material is dirty or lots of burnt plastic.
Big hole on glove edge
If the glove edge has big hole no matter where, that must because the glove is not easy to tear off the film, 3 reasons: broken High-Temperature Resistance Paper, less glove model pressure, thicker film.
Fly, mosquito, hair, or big dust in the gloves or packages
That must because the factory doesn’t have good quality control system. Fly, mosquito, big dust from working environment, not enclosed space at all. Hair is because the workers don’t wear hats to wrap up it.
Above are unacceptable defective TPE gloves, i think these are the base of any factories’ quality system, and if one factory happens more than 2 such big quality accidents in one year, those factories are not good of course, we don’t suggest you to choose them.
Some smaller defective are acceptable if in AQL 4.0 lever, because too many quantities that gloves are in one container, we can’t promise that there will be non defective glove at all. But AQL 4.0 is requested.
Choose Your Most Value TPE Gloves
Talked about so many kinds of disposable TPE gloves, how to choose the type is very important. Cheap price, good quality to cover your demand is the best choice.
Choose the good brand is your firstly choice, Amercare, Bitoor, Blackbox plastic are both best TPE gloves quality in the world now.
Choose the right type for you, if you only need it to wash things or clean, you just need the value type, maybe a little harder than others, but enough. If you need them to work in the hospital, then you need use the best one, the premium thick diamond embossed type. Even i suggest you to use CPE gloves if only to clean dust or use it to eat things.
Choose the right size for your hand
TPE gloves is similar to Vinyl gloves, so what size you use for vinyl or PVC gloves, please choose the same size.
Use a ruler to measure your palm width, as shown in the illustration, and then write down your dimension.
When you choose seamless gloves, if your palm width is less than 8 cm, please choose to use the small size. If it is between 8-9 cm, please choose medium size. If it is 9 to 10, please choose large size. Of course, not everyone’s palm size is in this range. Some hands are smaller or bigger, we also have XS or XL for persons’ choosing.
The development direction of TPE gloves
TPE gloves is so good, much cheaper than Vinyl gloves, and much better than PE gloves, so many factories and distributors want to develop it.
TPE gloves also have many no good performance, such as not resilience, too slip, not as strong as Nitrile gloves. To solve these bad weak points, we have tried a lot work. Such as to add some TPU into it to improve the resilience, or some SEBS, but TPU is too expensive, SEBS is not good to produce. Use both side embossing side to make it more grip, make it non slip.. Use special glove model to make it not easy to tear off hands and can use it much longer. Use stronger MLLDPE to make the seam tensile much better.
Many, many different method and ideas from customers or ourselves. Also We found the price is still what users care about. We start to use auto machines to produce to reduce the cost.
The current situation of TPE gloves
As the price of Vinyl gloves and Nitrile gloves prices coming down quickly, the TPE gloves’ price has gone down too, though not as fast as Vinyl gloves, but it is more value than ever before.
The future of TPE gloves
No matter how good it is, how bad you think, it is already accepted by lots of users, and has got many fans, but still many users don’t accept it.
It surely will be biodegradable in the future or even stronger than now, with recycle system in all over the world. I think the both situation will appear in the future, because too many things that use plastic, not only gloves. Plastic is the most useful thing, which the world can’t leave it away, like the petroleum.
A simple article, hope you can learn something with the TPE gloves. If any future information or suggestions, please feel free to contact me and discuss with me.
Hope it is useful and helpful in your future work and life. I wish you can like the disposable TPE gloves and can develop better types, also hope it can defend you in future.
Thank you a lot for your reading, best regards! Wish you healthy and wealthy!