In the manufacturing sector, one of the most versatile components to exist is Rubber. Gaining widespread traction since its discovery, this material has been inculcated in virtually every domain of production. Hence, it is no mystery that it plays a role of paramount importance in the developmental stage of products as well. Molding, as a process, is an exercise in which a rigid skeleton of required shape, form and dimensions is built, involving increasingly sophisticated mechanisms and machinery.
Subsequently, molten metal, plastic or some such similar material is poured within this matrix, thereby acquiring the desired shape on solidification. With its ability to reproduce highly intricate and dimensionally superior results, Moulding is an irreplaceable practice in industrial design. One of the most acclaimed subgenres of this is silicone rubber molding, which ensures complete and high accuracy fabrication of molded products, by employing a plug member, which applies longitudinal pressure over the molten mass for maximum dimensional retention. The process utilizes thermosetting resins, pre-forms and granules to conjure fiberglass reinforcements, guaranteeing the best results. It is in this front that it utilizes rubber as a base material in the fulfillment of superior and exceedingly fatigue-resistant end products, that are otherwise virtually impossible to be machine constructed.
Compression molding is widely preferred by-product developers aiming for economic rubber or silicone parts today, but it was initially developed for composite metal replacements and has hence evolved to facilitate a wide spectrum of utilities. The surprising amount of accuracy achievable, along with a substantial reduction in product wastage, is perhaps the reason for its success, for unlike contemporary manufacturing processes, the materials are preheated and carefully weighed before molding, thus reducing excess flash.
The Compression Process
The desired material is poured into the mold shaped into tiny pellets. Next, it is heated above the melting point. Once completely liquified, the molten material is allowed to settle, form and cool. The careful pouring of the material ensures a lesser flow orientation during the application of pressure. Typically used in the manufacturing fenders, spoilers and other automobile spares, it is also a viable rapid tooling mechanism for industrial assembly line setups, and its use is seen in producing work boots, pumps, etc.
Worthy of Industrial Limelight?
However, the question remains. Why is this process so unique and irreplaceable in today’s world despite a multitude of options?
What Compression molding has achieved, is pack a colossal number of advantages, in spite of a reduction in capital investment. The process is indeed economical when the sheer magnitude of its qualities are accounted for. To begin with, it is perhaps one of the rare processes employing the application of advanced composites, which tend to be higher in strength and rigidity while uncompromising on lightness, along with having higher resistance to corrosion. Further, because it is actually feasible to complement metal part geometry now, in many cases, we one can just intrinsically replace the metal part completely.
Another great edge of this process is its capacity to create very complex parts. Though slightly slower than injection molding, it does provide higher intricacies in geometry than orthodox laminated composites, along with longer fibers.
Keeping in mind the multifaceted uses of this revolutionary technique, silicone rubber molding is a procedure that is here to stay.