Silicone-based materials have been proving their worth since the dawn of civilization. Here we explore the discovery, development, and use of the silicone material for different applications.
Historically, Thermoplastics (TP) and Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) occupied distinctive universes. Although similar in many ways, each method solved an array of challenges by employing different manufacturing processes. Since its introduction into the world of materials science in the 1970s, LSR has become the “go-to” material for product designers and manufacturers across a broad range of industries. The unique properties of LSR — such as stability, non-reactivity and resistance to extreme temperatures — make it the ideal material choice for numerous applications.
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For many companies, from small entrepreneurial businesses to global corporations, the 2008 financial crisis and its subsequent recession proved to be a wake-up call. Management could no longer count on double-digit growth rates to overcome organizational inefficiencies, long cycle times, high inventories, or other issues. Companies that were able to weather the storm emerged with a new mission: become leaner, more efficient and improve quality. In today’s increasingly competitive global market, companies are expected to have the flexibility to navigate dynamic business environments, continuously provide high-quality products to their customers, enter new markets, and grow substantial revenue. These demands, paired with pre-existing challenges that all companies encounter, such as financial limitations and increased competition, have forced many companies to re-evaluate their strategies in terms of design, manufacturing, outsourcing, and distribution.
Injection molding is a fabrication process used for the production of parts using thermoplastic and thermosetting materials. The method consists of feeding the material into a heated barrel, mixing and forcing the material into a mold cavity by employing a reciprocating screw or ram injector, and finishing with the injection molded part being cured to the configuration of the mold cavity.