Why silicone is a highly sought-after component material

Why silicone is a highly sought-after component material

Silicone is a highly sought-after component material for manufacturers across the industry spectrum. More and more companies are choosing to use silicone profiles, tubing, cord, seals and gaskets in the manufacture of their products.

To help explain this manufacturing trend, we have put together a short guide to silicone, focusing on what types of silicone are used in component production and why silicone is popular. We also provide an example of how it can be developed to meet client needs.

Types of silicone and where they are used

There are a range of silicone specifications that can be met for use in the manufacture of bespoke extrusions.

Each of our grades of silicone have been developed to maintain properties that are well suited to a variety of applications. Each silicone grade meets key specifications that meet many application requirements:

Silicone grades include:

  • General purpose silicone – this is the most widely used type of silicone. It has excellent physical properties and is an ideal material for a broad range of industry applications. It can be easily extruded into tubing and profile gaskets for the food and pharmaceutical industries. Commonly used grades include GP40, GP50 and GP60, with the number referring to the shore A hardness.
  • High-temperature (HT) silicone – this type of silicone is ideal for industry applications that need to perform to a high standard in high temperature applications, including in terms of resistance to hot air and ultraviolet (UV) light. HT40W, HT50W, HT60W and HT70W are widely used grades for use up to 300°C.
  • Flame-retardant silicone – this type of silicone has excellent flame-retardancy properties and is used in multiple applications, including mass transit, marine and aerospace applications. FR70R and FR770 are widely used grades, while FR50SB2, FR60SB2 and FR70SB2 are often used for more specific requirements.
  • High-strength silicone – high-tear strength silicone is suitable for a range of industry applications, such as peristaltic pump tubing, inflatable seals, and other extruded profiles, and offers good UV resistance. HS40, HS50, HS60 and HS70 are widely used grades.
  • Anti-friction silicone – silicone rubber with anti-friction treatment is used for applications where there is a need to overcome challenges relating to stickiness and static and connected issues regarding dirt attraction and capacity for cleaning. These components can be separated easily even after extended periods of closure.
  • Metal-detectable silicone – this type of silicone can be detected by metal detectors. This makes this silicone ideal for food processing and equipment and other applications where identifying contamination is essential. Resistance to oxygen, hot air and UV are key features of this silicone.

Why silicone is popular and how it is developed to meet client needs

Silicone is a highly versatile material, and its properties make it highly sought after. Silicone is strong and durable and has high heat resistance, good resistance to cold, good flame retardancy and good chemical stability. It also has low toxicity, fine water repellency and good electrical properties.

This versatility allows it to be developed to meet client application needs relating to shape and design, thickness and colour, and in relation to resistance to hot and cold temperatures, flame retardancy, anti-friction capabilities and detectable by metal detectors.

The right silicone component manufacturing partner will be able to design and produce silicone extrusions to meet exact client specifications, providing a bespoke service when required, from design drawing and tooling to test production and full manufacturing.

How silicone can be developed to meet customer needs

We were asked to develop a unique silicone profile in a particular colour that clipped to a polycarbonate cabinet. The profile had to meet specified thickness requirements, give a rounded finish once fitted, stop water ingress and be IP64 rated.

Our specialist team created the colour, in a way that made it easy to replicate, and designed a U-channel profile that sealed the application according to the specific parameters provided. The profile was then successfully customer-tested to the IP64 standard.

The client was very happy with the work and the bespoke silicone profile continues to perform to a high standard. We are currently producing over 1,000 of these silicone profiles per year for the client.

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