If you need a custom piece of rubber for an invention you are creating, you may need to work with a custom rubber manufacturer to find what you need. There are several things you should keep in mind when ordering your customized rubber. Here are some tips to consider:
Do you want organic or silicone rubber?
Typically when having rubber molded, you can choose between two types of rubber: organic and silicone. Organic is just natural rubber, while silicone is a mixture of rubber and silicone. If you want extra resistance to extreme temperatures, steam, and fire as well as low chemical reactivity, you may want to opt for silicone. However, if you aren't that concerned about exposure to high and low temps, you may want to stick with plain old organic rubber.
Which curing agent should you select?
Whether you opt for organic or silicone rubber, the molder is likely to apply a curing agent to it. There are a number of different curing techniques, but one of the most popular ones is room temperature vulcanizing which involves tin- or platinum-catalyzed silicones. If you want your rubber to stay flexible for the long term, opt for platinum curing, as tin cured rubber can become brittle. However, platinum curing is inhibited by sulfur and tin, so if you are dealing with those elements, you may need to opt for tin curing.
Is your rubber molder experienced in your niche?
In addition to considering things like curing and the type of rubber you want to use, it's also important to look closely at the rubber molder you select. In particular, you need a company that is experienced with the type of product you need molded.
To that end, if you need a rubber item with lots of detail work, opt to work with a company that can do micro-molding. Alternatively, if you need to bond rubber to metal, select a company with expertise in that niche.
Can the molder customize a prototype?
Rubber molders can easily make dozens or even hundreds of the piece of rubber you have designed, but in some cases, especially when you are still developing your product, you may only need one piece of rubber. In this case, look for a company that is able to make just a few rubber elements so that you can finish your prototype, address any issues, and then make a bulk order.