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Can injection molding silicone produce complex shapes?

injection molding silicone produce complex shapes

Injection molding is a high-volume manufacturing method that works well with thermoset elastomers such as liquid silicone rubber (LSR). It’s often used to produce products such as gaskets, kitchen equipment, medical devices and overmolded sections of multi-material assemblies. It can be highly automated and offers high levels of precision and quality. Silicone is a popular material for injection molding as it has many desirable physical and mechanical properties. These include a wide range of available durometers, low tissue response, chemical inertness, high tensile strength, good elasticity and compatibility with sterilization techniques.

The injection molding silicone process begins with the storage and handling of the liquid materials. It’s important to keep the liquid in the proper temperature range, preventing it from curing too quickly or becoming warped. It’s also a good idea to wear gloves and have adequate ventilation as some formulations of silicone may release fumes during the curing process.

Once the LSR is ready, it’s pumped through a static mixer and injection machine in order to create the molded product. It’s also a good idea, at this point, to add in any necessary additives. These can be anything from fillers to pigments, special textures and even conductive materials. The injected liquid silicone is then allowed to set into its final form. It’s then possible to remove the finished part from its mold and then degrease, strip and flash it to prepare for a clean finish and shipment.

Can injection molding silicone produce complex shapes?

Silicone molding is a complex and technical process. It requires a high level of experience and knowledge to properly design a mold that can successfully produce the desired parts. This is especially true when designing a mold with undercuts, molded-in features or complex geometries. The use of silicone injection mold prototypes is often beneficial to identify potential issues and solve them prior to the full production run, ensuring a high-quality final product.

While most types of plastic materials shrink, silicones shrink at a much slower rate, making them a more difficult material to work with. However, this is still a great choice for a variety of applications due to its excellent durability and low cost. It also has an impressive flex life and resists abrasion, impact, heat, and cold.

When designing a silicone product, it’s important to consider the material’s specific characteristics, including its temperature stability and lubricity. It’s also a good idea, if possible, to work with a company that offers a single cavity silicone short-run/prototype injection mold, so the customer can adjust their part design on a single-cavity mold base before committing to the cost of a four-cavity, production-ready mold.

Firstmold’s unwavering focus on customer satisfaction is another cornerstone of our success. We pride ourselves on delivering fast response times, taking responsibility for our products, ensuring on-time delivery, and offering an extensive range of materials. These qualities have earned us a reputation as a trusted partner for clients seeking exceptional injection molding, rapid prototyping, and mold making services in China and beyond.

Some products may require the use of inserts, such as metal stampings, bushings or electromechanical components. These can be inserted into the silicone and then injected around them to ensure that they are securely attached to the rest of the assembly. In this type of injection molding, called insert molding, a very high level of knowledge and expertise is required in order to ensure that the resulting molded silicone component will function correctly for its lifetime.

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