Our association with Wacker goes back over twenty five years and this has developed into an excellent trading relationship between Advanced Materials and Wacker. As a result Wacker supply up to 95% of our silicone compounds.
Why we use Wacker
Consistency, reliability and the ability to meet strict regulations are vital qualities of our products; our customers have come to rely on us on these merits. We are delighted that we are able to rely on Wacker to supply silicone which meets the very high standards we require.
Wacker have their own testing labs so they can consistently produce silicone that is perfectly formulated to meet different regulations and tight tolerances. They are happy to share their expertise with us; through standard lines of communication & also their Academy.
This has been extremely beneficial to the service Advanced Materials are able to provide our customers; it gives us access to another level of product testing, the ability to provide material data and offer quick problem solving abilities.
Gareth, our director, and Villeater, our technical director, were invited to attend the Wacker Academy; this was a fantastic opportunity to meet the engineers involved in manufacturing the many different silicone compounds and additives so critical to our processes.
It was a key turning point in the direction for Advanced Materials as the new knowledge gave us the insight into how silicone can be processed efficiently, how the different grades are formulated and what future developments in silicone will affect the industry.
Learning from the top silicone engineers
While at the Academy, we were given short talks in the different areas of Silicone manufacture by some of the top engineers at Wacker. We were then able to speak to the engineers directly & were able to gain even more valuable insight into the specific aspects related to Advanced Materials manufacturing processes.
The most relevant aspects of the academy weekend included:
How the silicone compound is formulated
We were able to better understand what affects different compounds and how formulas are created to meet certain specifications.
We have invested in 2 roller mills and have the in house capabilities to mix bespoke batches of silicone to meet our customer’s need for specific silicone products; while also cutting cost, lowering lead-time and keeping quality in house.
The advantages of silicone elastomers
Silicones have many advantages
- Good long term heat stability up to 180ºC (with added heat stabilizers up to 250ºC & 300ºC peak temperature)
- Low temperature flexibility down to -50ºC (We also provide a compound with Low temperature flexibility to -100ºC; see our LT60 datasheet)
- Excellent weathering, UV and ageing resistance
- Outstanding electrical properties (excellent insulation)
- Low flammability compounds that meet strict standards; see our FR range datasheets
- Excellent physiological properties; hence ideally suited for use in medical/pharmaceutical & food equipment.
- High transparency & pigmentable in nearly every colour.
We have increased our knowledge of how these different mechanical properties can be utilised within different applications & industries. Our experienced team have the know-how in silicone seal design to produce a seal to fit exactly to your application; Contact us now.
What markets are there for silicone elastomers
The many advantages explained above for silicone elastomers makes it the perfect product in a variety of industries; some industries and applications include:
- Medical, Health & Baby care; Tubes, valves, seals gaskets, membranes bellows, handles for surgical instruments, feeding teats & pacifiers.
- Cable, electronic, photonic, solar and Transmission & Distribution; High performance cables, fire safety cables, sleevings, LED encapsulation & coating for porcelain insulators.
- Mass Transit, Aviation and Automotive; Turbo charger hoses, engine mounts, wiper blades, bellow expansion joints, flooring & profile sealing on doors and windows.
- Construction; window sealing, fire door sealing and weather proofing outside components
The post curing process
POST Curing is the thermal treatment of articles that have already been extruded or moulded.
In order to meet certain regulations including FDA, we Post Cure our silicone for at least 4 hours at 200ºC, in a state of the art curing oven. This allows the removal of peroxide and by-products and allows the silicone to reach its full mechanical properties.
Quality control and test methods for manufacturing silicone
We have our own specific in house quality control system, meeting ISO9001 standards; we make sure the compounds received meet the strict requirements needed for our products.
Once the compounds have passed internal checks they are accepted to be used in the specific formulas needed for manufacturing our extrusions.
Each batch is hardness tested, colour matched and screened to guarantee the products we produce conform to specification.
Manufacturing using the extrusion process
We took on board the different options discussed at the Wacker academy for manufacturing our silicone extrusions. We learned a great deal about how we could make our processes more efficient for creating specialised seals bespoke to our customers applications.
We have been able to improve our knowledge and invest in new equipment specifically to increase the quality, know-how and overall service the Advanced Materials brand can provide.
Our visit to Wacker inspired us to invest in new post-curing and extrusion equipment so we are able to efficiently produce more complex products, adhere to even tighter tolerances and use a wide variety of materials to meet the evolving needs of our customers.
The continued training has also allowed us to improve our extrusion tool design techniques and machine maintenance processes. We have been able to pass our knowledge to the team which helps Advanced Materials to continue to increase our know-how and expertise within the silicone industry. We strive to continually find new and improved ways of working and developing as a team.
We will continue to attend events such as the Wacker academy in order to continue our increase of knowledge enabling us to invest in our staff training by teaching important skills and techniques so that we have a sustainable growing business that benefits the Advanced Materials Team, our suppliers and Customers a like.