Food-grade liquid silicone rubber (LSR) was introduced in the late 1970s and is now a premier material used for many food-related consumer products. This elastomer is suitable for use in food production, storage and preparation — and it has a wide range of uses and benefits.
WHAT PRODUCTS ARE MADE USING FOOD-GRADE LSR?
Many different kinds of products are made using food-grade LSR, from those used in the home to those used for industrial manufacturing and processing plants. These goods include:
- Baby care products, including bottles, training cups, pacifiers and oral care products such as teethers
- Closures for beverage and condiment bottle dispensers
- Household utensils, including baking molds and trays, spatulas, ice cube trays and napkin rings
- O-rings, gaskets and seals used in cooking appliances, storage solutions and industrial equipment
BENEFITS OF FOOD-GRADE LSR
Food-grade LSR has numerous characteristics that make it a smart choice for a range of products. It is tasteless and odorless, so it won’t affect the taste of the food it comes into contact with. It also maintains its mechanical properties over time and is chemically inert and hydrophobic, which means it resists water, oxidation, ultraviolet and ozone radiation, and some chemical solutions like alkali and acids.
The material also has a natural transparency, which allows for a variety of pigment options and excellent light transmittance and illumination.
It’s also both durable and flexible. It naturally has non-stick characteristics and a very low compression set. It absorbs vibrations easily and has a hardness of 20 to 70 Shore A.
Additionally, food-grade LSR has excellent thermal resistance. It remains stable at anywhere between -75° F and 500° F, meaning it doesn’t become brittle when it’s cold and can withstand hot oven temperatures.
Food-grade LSR is also clean and safe for use in the production, preparation and storage of food products. It is FDA-compliant, and using it is compatible with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) best practices. This indicates that it can be useful for managing risk across the supply chain. It is hypoallergenic, biocompatible and resistant to bacteria and mold growth. It also won’t stain or corrode other materials.
FOOD-GRADE LSR INJECTION MOLDING
You can use several different processes when working with food-grade LSR. This process flexibility is another significant benefit of its use. You can form parts using either conventional or two-shot injection molding processes. Through the two-shot process, you can overmold food-grade LSR onto plastic substrates, which helps to reduce the labor and overhead costs required to make a product. This overmolding process is ideal for attaching silicone grips to kitchen utensils, for example.
Food-grade LSR injection molding enables a wide range of precision, near-flashless parts and assemblies. It offers numerous benefits, including cost-effective high-volume production, a low chance of contamination, quick cycle time, opportunities for automation and enhanced safety.
Food-grade liquid silicone rubber is a leading material used today in the fabrication of products for food production, preparation and storage. It can be used to produce a variety of products through flexible manufacturing processes and has various beneficial characteristics, including durability, flexibility and the ability to be used in products that come into contact with food.