Rubber molding is a process of “shaping” that creates a functional rubber material. Rubber products are formed from uncured elastomers. An elastomer, on the other hand, is any material with enough flexibility or recognition, capable of returning to its primary shape in resistance to pressure. Rubber and elastomers can be drawn from natural resources, although majority are synthetic, brought about by highly controlled chemical procedure.
Silicone rubber is one ideal material for producing molds for gaskets, keypads and other stiff objects. Just like liquid latex, it yields a light, high-fidelity, pliable mold, plus the added advantages of longer life and protection to chemicals and decomposition. It is an approved material for making long-lasting molds of important embodiments. In addition, a silicone mold can also be made in lesser time than latex mold.
So, when it comes to functional silicone rubber molding, it is important to note that accuracy and attention to detail serves as the keys. Take note of the steps below that you should NOT take to achieve that functional rubber molding:
- Incorrect mold material selection – One of the most important aspects of designing and molding any elastomeric component is making a proper material selection. Selecting the wrong mold material can result in damage to the entire mold.That’s why one should opt to examine and evaluate the following questions: How and where will the part actually be used? How will it be gathered and transported? What are the performance goals? Choosing the best material is paramount to balancing sustainability, performance, cost, and ease in the manufacturing process.
- Material not stirred before use – Some components solicits individual shaking before being blended with other components. Failure to stir the required parts may result in bubbles in the finished mold.
- Thickened material – Unmixed components leads to thickening in the mixture. This occurrence accounts as the most common issue that can happen within the process of mold-making. Air bubbles, softened rubber and streaks of uncured rubber can emanate from the two-part mixture. Anyhow, it is equally significant to chafe the bottom and side parts of the mixing container several times during the mixing procedure. For security reasons, some prefer to start by infusing one mixing compartment and then transporting the liquid rubber to a separate mixing container for a subsequent round of blending together to make everything uniform.
- Low temperature – All materials should be at room temperature during mixing and pouring. Temperatures below 65 degree Fahrenheit will show longer cure times, or worse, some materials may not cure at all, given that condition.
- Contaminated component – Polyurethane liquid rubber is particularly over-sensitive to moisture; a part may harden over time when exposed to any damp surface. Hence, liquid platinum silicone rubbers can suffer from cure restraint when in contact with certain materials.
No matter what mold material you are working with, always make sure to measure all materials precisely. The minutes you take in establishing that you avoid all the aforementioned factors above will pay dividends in creating a high-quality, highly functional rubber mold.