6 stages to optimising silicone rubber extrusion manufacturing

6 stages to optimising silicone rubber extrusion manufacturing

Silicone rubber extrusions play a key role in overall product development and final performance, with quality levels linked directly to supply chain relationships and product sales. The production of these components is therefore an integral part of the product manufacturing process. By optimising the manufacture of silicone rubber extrusions high standards can be accomplished, tighter tolerance can be achieved, overall product quality, repeatability and reliability improved.

How to improve your silicone component manufacturing process

Product manufacturers and resellers can take steps to ensure that their silicone rubber components are produced on time, efficiently and to the correct specifications. With a better understanding of each stage of the silicone component manufacturing process, including key undertakings and objectives and the information that these undertakings and objectives are based on.

The following are the six main stages of the silicone rubber extrusion manufacturing process:

Stage 1: Initial consultation and application mapping

The first step in the process is for your chosen manufacturer to familiarise themselves with your product and your silicone extrusion requirements. At the initial enquiry stage, if possible, this should include a full product overview or all relevant application information such as operating temperature. Where necessary, a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) can be agreed before confidential information is shared.

Stage 2: Extrusion design

What this stage involves depends on individual customer requirements. For example whether the extrudate has already been designed, and you just need your manufacturer to comment on the manufacturability, or you need to fine tune a silicone product you already use, or perhaps you are starting from completely scratch and a custom-made solution is required. A key decision is the choice of material – there are many different grades of silicone rubber and it is important that your extrusion is made from the one that is best suited to your product. The provision of comprehensive details on the conditions in which your product will be used will help to optimise this stage.

Stage 3: Tooling and prototyping

Again, requirements in this area vary from customer to customer, but demand for tooling and prototyping services to prove a design concept is common, whether in relation to new products or existing silicone rubber extrusion needs. The right manufacturing partner will be able to provide expert advice and design and create the tooling required in-house, helping to ensure that quality standards are met and that process efficiency and costs are optimised. Full product dimensions, DXF or CAD drawings, where possible, are key at this stage of the process.

Stage 4: Silicone extrusion sign-off

Upon receipt of your sample for approval you will review and give feedback to the manufacturer or approve it for mass production. On occasion it may be the case that although the extrudate was manufactured within all parameters and specifications, but it perhaps doesn’t perform optimally within the application, then a new design can be submitted, using the real world data from the initial sample fortunately Tooling for Silicone Rubber extrusions is relatively inexpensive.

Stage 5: Full production

Now that your silicone rubber extrusion is ready and any tooling and prototype work have already been carried out, the next step is mass production. The right partner will do this in-house using repeatable methodology and materials in their production. Time scales should be agreed between all parties, some projects will favour a call off order, or a 12-month scheduled order or just a one off delivery. The manufacturer’s knowledge and experience is key to ensuring a stable supply of a high quality reliable part.

Stage 6: Packaging and distribution

Your silicone rubber components are in production and the finished components need to reach you or your client as soon as possible. A flexible supplier can work with your information on your packaging requests, labelling needs, and if there are any essential certifications (C of C) to arrive with the goods, as well as any additional paperwork for export. Agreeing any additional requirements well in advance ensures that you and your silicone extrusion manufacturer can rely on your products being delivered safely, correctly and on schedule.

To find out more about Advanced Materials’ silicone rubber manufacturing services, contact us on +44 (0)1903 713566 or sales@amsilicones.co.uk.