Complex Custom Rubber Extrusions Simplified
A complex rubber extrusion made to specification is no simple task. Because of the special shapes and features required for optimum performance, complex extrusions take more time and diligence to create. Having the right tools and knowledge is crucial to success. Eliminate delays and orders that fail to meet spec. They can leave your business at a halt while you wait for the parts you need.
Material Selection, Hardness, Dies & Quality Checks
From aerospace to appliances, some machines rely on complex extrusions for optimal performance. Don’t compromise that performance with out-of-spec parts. Ensure that your extrusion manufacturer follows best practices and checks for quality before it’s delivered to you. Benefit from Aero Rubber’s years of experience manufacturing complex rubber extrusions and receive consistent, quality parts made to spec. Each step from material selection to overseeing production and final quality checks is equally important in the process.
The first step to getting a complex extrusion right is selecting an appropriate material. Materials play a key role in the design of a complex profile. From the ease of creating the extrusion down to the function of the final piece, the rubber compound affects the result. Some elastomers, such as silicone, lend well to more intricate shapes because certain physical properties allow the material to flow more easily. Others, like Viton, are more challenging to extrude because of factors like complex structure. Forcing dense material through a narrow space causes an increase in friction. Excessive friction during the extrusion process can lead to the die overheating, causing disruptions in the flow of material. If this happens, there may be distortions in the final extrusion. You may see pockets where the material has broken off or excess bits that have become stuck to the profile surface. At Aero Rubber, our sales engineers’ vast knowledge of rubber materials helps them discuss with you the best material options for your design. Through collaboration with you, our engineer learns about your needs for the final part and makes suggestions about materials to meet those needs.
The next important step after settling on a material is choosing the correct durometer, or hardness. Are you looking for your product to be very rigid or very flexible? Striking the right balance with durometer is key. This makes sure you get the function you need from your rubber extrusion. A higher durometer material requires more force to move it through the die. However, too high of a durometer makes it difficult to feed the material into a more complex shape. Heat buildup from the extra energy needed to move the material through the die can cause the profile to start curing prematurely. Skin curing can occur when excessive heat buildup within the die causes the surfaces of the profile to cure before the rest of the material. With Aero, our production technicians monitor the heat within the extruder. This makes sure it stays at an appropriate level so problems like skin curing won’t occur. On the other hand, too low of a durometer can cause other types of structural deformities. Since the material would have a softer structure, it would ultimately mean less support and stability for the profile. Low stability in the final product can cause your extrusion to lose its shape or collapse entirely before it can be cured. To avoid material mishaps like these, we recommend considering the use of the final product, its environment, and the properties your part needs for its best performance when making your selection.
Don’t commit to a material too soon. It’s important to ensure that whichever elastomer and durometer you choose can perform to your satisfaction. When you use Aero Rubber for your complex rubber extrusions, we’re always available to answer your questions. Our Consultative Sales Engineers have decades of rubber industry experience to help you find optimal materials for your design.
Once you have the right material for your extrusion, the die must be made. Creating the right die for a complex extrusion can be an intensive process with several challenges along the way. One of the benefits of working with Aero Rubber for your custom rubber extrusion is our team’s depth of knowledge. We help spot potential issues and recommend steps to prevent them. Extrusion profiles with small details mean little room for error and more intricate dies. A process called Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) is used to cut through steel. It uses electricity-infused wires to create a die based on the profile’s design and expected swell of the material. These dies take much more time to create but can produce amazing results. Through extensive experience, Aero Rubber considers your design before your order is placed. To eliminate unexpected changes, your Sales Engineer may make recommendations. Following these suggestions can reduce late design changes, saving time and money, but all final decisions are up to you. Once the die is created and the extrusion process begins, careful monitoring is important to ensure a balanced flow. This creates a uniform extrusion. Other factors such as swell, extreme heat, or unbalanced flow can affect the outcome. Our adherence to strict quality guidelines during the extrusion process means that we’re monitoring your extrusion’s production closely. Aero Rubber has nearly five decades of rubber production experience. This has helped us develop best practices for trial runs with the die to minimize time spent on adjustments.
What happens at the end of the process is as vital as the planning beforehand. If an extrusion has complex features paired with a thin wall or a low durometer, it will need support to maintain its extruded rubber shape as it cures. Otherwise, the profile can collapse, droop, or lose its shape by the time it’s completely cured. Sometimes a form is necessary to prevent shape loss. The profile rests on the form to maintain its shape as the material cures. This process is known as form curing. Your extrusion is only a success once it matches your original design and meets our quality standards.
High Quality Rubber Extrusions
Having a reliable, knowledgeable team in place to handle all the what-ifs of custom extruded rubber production is essential. Aero Rubber has both the right resources and knowledge to make your complex extrusions to spec. Our ISO 9001:2015 certification means that you can count on our team. We hold every product we make, especially our most complex products, to the highest standard. Our inspection process evaluates the appearance, physical properties, and dimensions of the parts we make. This ensures that your product conforms to the specifications you need. Within our trusted network, we ensure only high-quality extruded rubber profiles make it into your hands. We bring together the right materials, equipment, and people for success.