There's an exciting new material on the block, and it's showing up in...luggage. Baggage manufacturer Tumi is now using Tegris, a polypropylene thermoplastic composite developed by textile and chemical giant Milliken, and is rolling it out in their new Tegra-Lite collection, starting with a carry-on.
So what is Tegris, and why is it better than, say, the polycarbonate used in Pelican cases? Here are the talking points we think will be of interest to product designers:
Tegris (formerly branded as MFT), is a revolutionary 100% PP thermoplastic composite with excellent impact resistance and stiffness as well as a lightweight composition. [It's] a highly-engineered polypropylene tape yarn with a highly-drawn core for strength properties within a lower melt polymer matrix for composite processing.... Available in fabric or sheet stock, Tegris is ideal for panel or molded applications where impact resistance, stiffness and weight are primary concerns.
...Tegris provides 2X to 15X improvement in impact resistance over typical thermoplastic and thermoplastics composites. It's impact performance is so good that it is being used as an armor solution against ballistic threats....
...Tegris allows for the creation of a wide variety of composite structures. A single layer of Tegris fabric is 0.005" (0.132 mm) thick and weighs 0.02 lbs/ft² (0.11 Kg/m²) which allows for composites to be "tuned" to a high degree of precision based on impact or stiffness requirements.
In addition to being super-strong and super-light, Tegris is also fully recycleable. Melt it down and you've basically got polypropylene again.
Designers from competing luggage manufacturers oughtn't get too excited, though, as they'll find Tegris off-limits; Tumi has purchased the exclusive travel goods manufacturing rights for the stuff.