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How to Manufacture Silicone Products?

How to Manufacture Silicone Products?


Have you ever caught yourself marveling at the ingenuity of your favorite silicone products? Wondered about the essence of their creation, the materials they're crafted from, or the rigorous quality tests they endure? Whether you've pondered these questions, we'll peel back the curtain. Here is a complete guide on how to manufacture silicone products.

1. Design the Product Files

When you come to us with a new product idea or a draft to create fun, safe, and innovative silicone products, our engineers will recommend material selection, structure analysis, mold cavities, surface finish, and branding ways within your budget, with thorough commutations about your needs, goals, and requirements for your silicone products. Our design and manufacturing engineers will work with your team to ensure the design meets processing requirements and can be produced consistently and cost-effectively. Lastly, our engineers will work out the 3D files after mutually agreeing on the final design.

Design the Product Files

2.   Raw Material

Silicone material, a synthetic compound made primarily from silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen, has become increasingly popular in various industries due to its versatility, durability, and resistance to harsh environments. From medical applications to consumer products, the demand for silicone-based products continues to rise, offering unique advantages over traditional materials. We will explore the 4 different types of silicone materials and their properties. Including Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR), High Consistency Rubber (HCR), Room Temperature Vulcanizing (RTV) Silicone, and Fluorosilicone Rubber (FSR), and discuss their applications and benefits in the context of Mitour's custom silicone products.

Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR): Ideal for products that need precision and intricacy, LSR is the nimble gymnast of silicone materials. Think baby pacifiers or medical equipment. It's flexible and can endure high temperatures without breaking a sweat.

High Consistency Rubber (HCR): For products that require a sturdier composition, HCR is the steadfast warrior. It's like the sturdy crust of a perfect pie. With high mechanical properties, it's often used for silicone water bottles, seals, gaskets, and automotive parts.

Room Temperature Vulcanizing (RTV) Silicone: RTV cures at room temperature and is exceptionally flexible. It's perfect for molds and prototypes as it takes the shape of any surface it's cast onto.

Fluorosilicone Rubber (FSR): FSR combines silicone's flexibility with fluorocarbons' resistance. It's the go-to material for products exposed to harsh chemicals or extreme conditions.

The quality of the raw materials is vital in ensuring the quality of the finished products. Respected material suppliers provide and maintain the excellent quality of the incoming materials for future silicone products. This is not only because they are reliable brands. They are FDA & LFGB certified providers of food-grade silicone that are ensured by the rigorous incoming tests the materials undergo.

High Consistency Rubber

3. Mold Making

When you have years of experience and the ability to improve your skills and product ideas continuously, you can create customized molds that meet your clients' demands. There are several factors to consider in the mold-making process:

Feasibility Analysis: Before providing a quote, carefully examine the product design and identify any errors or concerns. You can fully optimize the design's potential by addressing these issues and suggesting necessary adjustments.

High Precision: To ensure optimal quality for silicone products, the molds should have a minimum tolerance of 0.05mm, or you can adjust it to meet specific customer requests.

State-of-the-art equipment: Utilizing modern solid equipment such as CNC and EDM machines, milling and grinding machines, and lathes will enhance the manufacturing process, making it faster and more efficient. These precise machines will impress your clients with their ability to produce exact molds.

Silicone Bottle Mold

4. Mixing Process

The silicone product raw material mixing process involves:

  • Weighing the ingredients.

  • Using a clean mixing container.

  • Pre-mixing any powdered additives.

  • Using high-quality mixing equipment.

Utilize mechanical or vacuum-assisted mixing to ensure thorough and uniform blending of the silicone components. Add pigments or dyes to achieve the desired colors.

Mixing Process

5. Molding Techniques

Molding Techniques: Once the molds are ready, the next step is to use various molding techniques to shape the silicone products. There are 5 common types of silicone molding techniques used in manufacturing:

Silicone Compression MoldingThis technique involves placing the silicone material into a heated mold cavity and applying pressure to compress it until it takes the desired shape.

Liquid Silicone Rubber Molding: Liquid silicone rubber (LSR) is injected into a mold under high pressure. It fills the mold cavities and cures to form the final product.

Silicone Overmolding: This technique combines silicone with other materials, such as plastic or metal. A preformed substrate is placed into the mold, and then silicone is injected to bond with the substrate, creating a composite product.

Silicone Dripping Dispensing Molding: This method involves manually dispensing or dripping silicone material into a mold cavity to create the desired shape. It is commonly used for smaller, intricate designs.

Silicone Extrusion Molding: The silicone material is pushed through a shaped die to form continuous profiles with consistent cross-sections. Extrusion is ideal for producing long, tubular silicone products with a uniform shape.

Each molding technique has its advantages and is selected based on the silicone product's specific design requirements and desired outcome.

Silicone Compression Molding

6. Curing Process

After the initial molding, the silicone products undergo a curing process to achieve their final physical properties. This process typically involves two steps: primary vulcanization and secondary vulcanization.

a) Primary Vulcanization: The molded silicone products are heated at a specific temperature, typically around 150°C, for a predetermined duration. This step initiates the cross-linking of the polymer chains within the silicone material, resulting in improved strength and stability.

b) Secondary Vulcanization: Once the primary vulcanization is complete, Trim or remove any excess material, such as flash or sprue, using cutting tools or automated processes. The product is subjected to secondary vulcanization after trimming. They are placed in a static oven at approximately 200°C for a specific period. This secondary curing stage further enhances the material's properties, such as removing excess volatiles, reducing shrinkage, and promoting a cleaner and more durable finish.

The precise time and temperature for both primary and secondary vulcanization depend on the specific silicone material being used and the desired characteristics of the final product. It's essential to carefully control the curing process to ensure consistent quality and performance.

7. Printing

In addition to the molding process, printing techniques are often employed to enhance the appearance and functionality of silicone products. There are several types of silicone printing methods commonly used in manufacturing:

a) Silicone Pad Printing: This technique involves using a silicone pad to transfer ink from an etched plate onto the surface of the silicone product. It allows for precise and detailed designs.

b) Silicone Screen Printing: A fine mesh screen transfers ink onto the silicone surface through openings in the net. It is suitable for larger designs and can produce vibrant colors.

c) Silicone Digital Printing: Digital printing enables high-resolution designs to be directly printed onto silicone products using specialized printers. It offers flexibility in design and customization.

d) Silicone Heat Transfer Printing: This method utilizes heat to transfer a pre-printed image or design onto the silicone surface. It allows for intricate and multi-color designs.

e) Silicone Water Transfer Printing: Water transfer printing, or hydrographic printing, involves transferring a printed design onto the silicone surface using water immersion. It offers a wide range of patterns and finishes.

f) Laser Engraving: Laser engraving is a precise technique that uses laser technology to etch or engrave designs onto a silicone surface. It provides permanent markings with high accuracy.

The choice of printing method depends on factors such as the complexity of the design, desired color intensity, and the specific requirements of the silicone product.

Silicone Screen Printing

8. Reliable Performance Tests

To ensure the quality and durability of silicone products, a combination of rigorous performance tests is conducted, facilitated by a skilled QA team and advanced testing equipment.

Tension Test

Since tension is a crucial quality for silicone, the products undergo precise testing using a tension gauge. This examination measures the product's ability to withstand and resist deformation under tension, ensuring strength and elasticity.

Temperature Test

Extreme temperature tests are carried out to evaluate the temperature resistance of the products, particularly for silicone kitchenware. These tests subject the products to high and low temperatures to verify their performance and stability under varying thermal conditions.

Aging Test

The aging test assesses exceptional ozone resistance and excellent mechanical properties of silicone products, enabling them to withstand harsh conditions over time. This test simulates accelerated aging by subjecting the products to specific environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, and exposure to UV light, to ensure their long-term durability and performance.

By conducting these comprehensive performance tests, the QA team can ensure that the silicone products meet stringent quality standards and deliver exceptional performance in real-world applications.

9. Conclusion

The manufacturing process of silicone products involves various crucial steps, from design and raw material selection to mold making, mixing, molding techniques, curing, printing, and rigorous performance testing. By leveraging years of experience, continuous improvement, and the utilization of advanced equipment, Mitour Silicone can consistently produce high-quality silicone products that meet the demands of its clients. Through careful analysis, precision, and adherence to quality control measures, the resulting silicone products exhibit exceptional characteristics such as tensile strength, temperature resistance, and durability. The combination of a skilled QA team and sophisticated testing equipment ensures the products undergo rigorous evaluations, assuring their reliability and performance in various applications. 

If you have any further questions or need additional assistance, please let me know!

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