If you’re a Purchasing Manager whose role it is to procure silicone rubber extrusions either for resale, or on behalf of your company, then building a reliable and robust relationship with your supplier will be paramount. A strong supply partner will give you the reassurance that the silicone rubber profiles you are purchasing are right for your requirements.
Use our guide to the manufacturing essentials when it comes to purchasing silicone rubber extrusions from a supplier, such as Advanced Materials.
Raw Material Range
Although it is frequently a Sales Engineer or Product Designer that would specify the grade and hardness of the extrusion required, it is important that, as a Purchasing Manager, you are aware there is a choice to be made in any material selection.
There are a vast number of grades of materials that can be used to manufacture silicone rubber extruded profiles. Among the most popular grades are General Purpose (GP), High Strength (HS), Platinum Cured (PC) and Flame Retardant (FR).
Within most of those popular material ranges, it is possible to specify the material hardness, with 60° Shore A hardness being the most requested. In addition, 40°, 50°, and 70° Shore A are in high demand. Advanced Materials also offers a compressible soft grade of silicone rubber at 20° shore hardness, which is suitable for applications where silicone sponge is not suited.
You should have a good understanding of the full range of silicone rubber extrusions that the extrusion company offers. This includes existing standard extrusion tools. A long established company may have several thousand existing dies and the ability to provide custom-designed parts.
Familiarise yourself with the different names, sizes and shapes of the extrusions, such as the following:
This knowledge will help you when it comes to specifying a new part. You can also determine if a manufacturer’s product line matches any other requirements your company has. Several projects could be brought under one roof, saving you time and money in the process.
By being aware of the extent of a silicone rubber manufacturer’s capabilities, you can assess their ability to work with you in developing unique designs or modifying existing products to suit your needs. Our team has extensive knowledge when it comes to creating new silicone products and are ready to help with any custom range of silicone rubber extrusions that you might require.
Gathering information regarding tolerance capabilities, material approvals and a silicone manufacturer’s adherence to relevant industry standards and regulations will enable you to assess the quality and reliability of the products you wish to order. It’s important to be fully aware of industry standard compliance, especially in industries such as rail, aviation/aerospace or defence, where traceability may also be a requirement.
Understand the manufacturer’s production capacity and lead times. This will help you plan your orders and manage your inventory effectively.
For either large volume or time critical orders, Purchasing Managers will frequently ask us for a quotation for accurate pricing and lead time information, or enquire about any potential limitations on capacity. You may well find it helpful to do the same.
For custom manufactured parts it’s important to discuss pricing structures and negotiate competitive rates based on your projected order volumes. Price breaks are usually given for large runs of silicone rubber extruded profiles. It’s also relevant to understand the payment terms, such as payment methods accepted, credit terms and any applicable discounts for large volume scheduled orders over a fixed time period (frequently 12 months).
Packaging and Shipping
Silicone rubber extrusions are not usually considered delicate in terms of shipping or packing. Nevertheless, all products need to be adequately protected during transportation. If your company has specific packing, packaging or shipping requirements, you should be able to convey these needs to the manufacturer and ensure that any particular requirements are specified.
For ease of repacking, resale or inspection you may wish to ask your supplier to pack goods into specific fixed quantities or to label them in a particular way. If the manufactured goods are being exported, you will also need to understand any shipping procedures, paperwork needed and transit times, as well as any associated costs.
After Sales and Technical Support
Although not required with every order, it’s always good to know that after-sales and technical support is available. Buyers should assess the level of technical support provided by their supplier, including essentials such as getting a Certificate of Compliance or other paperwork needed for resellers and end users.
Determine whether your supplier can offer assistance with product selection, application guidance or troubleshooting, and if traceability or dedicated quality control staff are available for any questions that arise after goods have been received. The goal of all parties should be a smooth integration of newly created silicone rubber parts into the purchasing software, for ease of repeat orders.
Communication and Responsiveness
Prompt and effective communication is a crucial part of building a strong business relationship with your silicone extrusions manufacturer. From the speed of response at the first enquiry stage, to the accuracy of any information received, you should gauge the communication channels and responsiveness to enquiries or concerns.
At Advanced Materials we aim to answer enquiries for new or existing silicone rubber extrusions within a couple of business hours and we usually process new purchase orders and send out an Order Acknowledgement within one working day.
Achieving a mutually beneficial relationship
By considering all of the points above and engaging in open dialogue, you can establish a successful and mutually beneficial business relationship with your silicone rubber extrusions supplier, hopefully for many years to come.
Advanced Materials is a leading supplier of silicone rubber extrusions. To find out more about our silicone rubber manufacturing services contact our expert and friendly team on +44 (0)1903 713566 or email@example.com.