If you are like most people, you never thought much about rubber components until you needed to manufacture, like Accurate Products Inc., or replace one. Once you began looking for a custom rubber manufacturer, however, you may have discovered that there's more to the process than meets the eye. There are several different ways to mold rubber, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. As you discuss your project with your manufacturer, it will help to have a basic understanding of these three rubber molding techniques.
Liquid Injection Molding
During liquid injection molding, a closed mold is filled with liquid silicone and a platinum catalyst. The liquid is then put under pressure until it solidifies into rubber. Liquid injection molding is a particularly popular method for a number of reasons. Liquid silicone rubber is highly stable and cures quickly with its platinum catalyst. As a result, it is ideal for any part that needs to be mass produced or withstand extreme temperatures. This is also the preferred method for sterile equipment. Because liquid silicone rubber is naturally transparent, it can be dyed to create more colorful parts.
Compression molding is the simplest type of rubber molding. Each part is preformed as a standardized lump of uncured rubber. The rubber is then pressed into shape as the mold closes, curing under the heat and pressure. This process is quick, efficient, and inexpensive, and it can be ideal for complex or specialized parts. Its primary downside is that it can be a much slower process than injection or transfer systems. If you are looking for a balance in budget, quality, and time, compression molding may be the right choice.
Transfer molding is, in effect, a hybrid between injection and compression molding. The part begins as a preform like compression molding, but it starts as a preform large enough to make multiple items. The uncured rubber is then loaded into a transfer pot. Segments of the preform are then pushed into the closed mold to be heated and cured. This streamlining allows for improved mass production. When your project needs a lot of parts as soon as possible, transfer molding is the most likely candidate.
While these key differences can help you make a decision for your project, your best bet is to speak to a rubber manufacturer directly. Once you have an estimate for your production needs and budget, you can look at real estimates and professional recommendations. By choosing a trusted rubber parts manufacturer suited to your business model, you can ensure your project continues on pace and to your specifications.