Favored for its plasticity, durability and heat resistance, silicone is a synthetic material used in many molding processes within modern industrial design engineering. It is suited for being shaped into industrial parts, such as seals, connectors or membranes. Designers also use silicone to fabricate molds of master copies, which are used to cast duplicates. Carnegie Mellon University notes that polymeric material is toxic, so protective clothing should be worn in any associated production.
Compression molding is a sophisticated technique, commonly used to manufacture rubber parts. It works by melting a silicone compound in a heated mold, and applying pressure to force the compound to embody the same shape. According to Meere Industries, compression molding has less wastage and produces shapes with "minimal" seams. This technique also has the advantage of producing large and intricate parts. Dow Corning states low production costs make compression molding a cost-effective method for "short runs" and "start-up production."
Injection silicone molding, another common technique, involves pushing a silicone compound through a funnel into a sealed and heated mold. According to Stockwell Elastomeric, silicone rubber is more suitable than gum-based substances for this process because it takes less time to set. Because it evenly fills the mold with silicone, injection molding is well-adapted to produce objects needing a closer "tolerance," such as baby bottle nipples. It also has the advantage of short molding cycles, enabling high production rates.
In extrusion molding, silicone is forced through a shape-molding and cutting device known as a die. It is a complicated process, which Dow Corning states has high production rates, along with fluctuating tooling costs and profit margins. However, it highlights its suitability in fabricating "cross-sectional" objects, such as wire insulation or tubing rods.
Calendaring molding compresses silicon into sheets. It is capable of producing thin layers of silicone, which can be used to make fabric waterproof, or as protective sealant. Additionally, it is able to produce long sheets of plastic because the compound can set into shape while in the molding process.
Last Updated on Friday, 21 September 2012 04:35