Category Archive: Uncategorized

Why Use an Injection Molding Prototype

Click to ExpandWhy Use an Injection Molding Prototype

Injection molding is a manufacturing technique in which the molten material is injected into a hot mold cavity under high pressure. The material then cures and solidifies within the mold, taking its shape. This process is widely used in mass production for creating silicone parts and products. An injection molding prototype is a sample or model of a product made using the injection molding process.

Prototype versions often focus on rapid production and quick turnaround times. They also serve as functional and visual representations of the final products, allowing engineers to evaluate their designs and test their functionality.

The following are several reasons why injection molding prototype might be a better option than traditional prototyping methods:

1. Accurate Representation of the Final Product’s Characteristics

Injection molding prototypes closely mimic the intended product’s material properties, surface finish, and dimensional accuracy. This fidelity level enables designers and engineers to thoroughly evaluate and validate the design, ensuring it performs as intended. They can also be used to fine-tune the strategy before proceeding to full-scale production, ultimately leading to a higher-quality end product.

2. Reliable Testing of Product Functionality

Engineers and designers can subject the prototypes to rigorous testing scenarios to assess various factors. These may include the product’s mechanical performance, structural integrity, ergonomic suitability, and overall user experience. Businesses can also identify performance issues or design flaws early in development and before market launch by conducting these tests.

3. Faster Iterations and Time to Market

Unlike time-consuming conventional prototyping methods, injection molding enables the rapid production of prototypes. They also have no limitations regarding the number of iterations within a given timeframe. This expedites the product development cycle and enables businesses to promptly address market demands.

4. Cost-Effective Production

The injection molding process allows for efficient and streamlined production of prototypes, enabling businesses to create multiple replicas cost-effectively. They can also benefit from reduced per-unit costs by leveraging economies of scale. Moreover, an injection molding prototype typically utilizes production-grade materials.

5. Streamlined Transition to Mass Production

Injection molding prototypes offer a streamlined transition to mass production by closely resembling the final product and minimizing the need for adjustments. This ensures efficiency and consistency throughout the production process. As a result, businesses can scale up production seamlessly and maintain high product quality.

6. Optimized Product Development Processes

Prototyping is instrumental in optimizing product development processes by enabling the rapid production of functional models. Since the prototypes resemble the final product, they facilitate efficient design validation, reliable testing, and iterative improvements. Furthermore, iterating quickly based on feedback and testing outcomes enables businesses to minimize errors.

7. Stakeholder Collaboration and Feedback

The prototypes provide tangible models to share with stakeholders, including clients, investors, and marketing teams. These physical models also allow for better communication and collaboration, as stakeholders can visualize and interact with the product. Their feedback and input can then be incorporated into the design, ensuring the final product meets their expectations and requirements.

8. Customization and Personalization

Businesses can gauge customer preferences and market demand by creating prototypes with different variations, finishes, or features. This information can help manufacturers tailor the final product to target audiences, enhancing customer satisfaction and market competitiveness.

Trust ETI for High-Quality Molding Services!

Elastomer Technologies is a trusted provider of customized molding solutions and part production services tailored to our customers’ needs! We have established a solid reputation for delivering outstanding results in the industry with our commitment to quality and meticulous attention to detail. Aside from silicone injection molding, we also offer die-cutting, transfer molding, and rubber molding.

Reach out to us with any inquiries or to request a quote. Partner with ETI and experience excellence in molding solutions!

Rubber Products RMA Tolerances

Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) tolerances are significant in determining the acceptable deviation from specified dimensions or properties of a product. Thus, to maintain product quality and precision, manufacturers, engineers, and other stakeholders must understand RMA tolerances.

Tolerance classes are denoted by letter codes, with A1 being the highest precision class and A4 being the lowest. The selection of the appropriate tolerance class depends on the requirements of the product, the manufacturing process, and the cost considerations.

This post will delve into the concept of RMA tolerances, their classification through tolerance classes, and their significance across various industries.

Classifications of RMA Tolerances

Here are the different classifications of RMA tolerances:

A1 (High Precision)

A1 tolerance represents the highest level of quality with tight tolerances and exceptional precision. It requires precision molds, specialized in-process controls, and meticulous inspection. Furthermore, measurement methods must be established in advance to minimize errors. Because of this, A1 tolerances can be costly and are often used in specialized applications.

A2 (Precision)

Less stringent than A1, A2 tolerance is a standard precision level requiring precision manufacturing. It is commonly used for engineered rubber components, balancing precision and cost. Moreover, the manufacturing process for A2 may involve simpler measurement methods than for A1.

A3 (Commercial)

A3 tolerance is commonly employed in non-critical applications where exacting precision is not essential. Hence, it is often utilized as a default option in manufacturing. A3 tolerances are cost-effective and common in commercial products, where slight deviations in dimensions or properties are permissible.

A4 (Basic)

The A4 tolerance class is the go-to option for manufacturers prioritizing cost over dimensional precision. This category permits relatively large variations in sizes or properties, making them suitable for products where dimensional accuracy is not a priority.

Significance of RMA Tolerances in Rubber Manufacturing

The following are the importance of RMA tolerances in the manufacturing process of rubber components:

Ensuring Consistent Product Quality

Manufacturers can minimize dimensional variations by adhering to RMA tolerances, ensuring that parts meet the required specifications. This consistency in product quality helps produce rubber components that perform reliably and meet customer expectations.

Minimizing Defects

RMA tolerances provide acceptable ranges of dimensional variations, which help minimize defects caused by part inconsistencies. By using RMA tolerances as a reference, manufacturers can mitigate the risk of defects and ensure that rubber components perform as intended.

Maintaining Reliable Performance

Reliable performance is critical in rubber components, as they are often used in applications where safety, durability, and performance are crucial. RMA tolerances help maintain reliable performance by ensuring consistent fit, function, and implementation of rubber components.

Facilitating Effective Communication

RMA tolerances provide a common language for specifying dimensional requirements, which helps clear communication and understanding among designers, manufacturers, suppliers, and customers. This avoids confusion and misinterpretation in specifications, leading to a smoother manufacturing process.

Partner With Elastomer Technologies, Inc. for Precision Rubber Products

Ready to experience top-quality rubber manufacturing solutions with precise RMA tolerances? Choose Elastomer Technologies, Inc. today! With over 30 years of experience providing industry-leading solutions, we are your trusted partner for all rubber manufacturing needs. Our company adheres to RMA tolerances for precise dimensional control.

Moreover, our Corona, California-based facility offers a wide range of services, from liquid injection molding and die cutting to rubber transfer and compression molding.

Contact us or request a quote to discuss your project and experience our exceptional solutions with precise tolerances firsthand.

How To Choose the Right Die Cutting Partner

Click to ExpandHow-To-Choose-the--Right-Die-Cutting-Partner

Die cutting is a manufacturing process that involves cutting out shapes from stock materials using a die, a specialized tool designed for cutting or shaping. This technique uses materials like paper, fabrics, rubber, metal sheets, and plastics.

Whether you need packaging, promotional materials, or other customized designs, choosing the right partner is essential to achieving your goals. Your decision can affect product quality, project timelines, and profitability. However, with numerous die cutting service providers on the market, it can be challenging to establish a trustworthy partnership.

In this article, we will outline key factors to consider when choosing a partner.

Factors To Consider When Selecting the Right Die Cutting Service Provider

Industrial die cutting utilizes advanced machinery and specialized techniques to transform raw materials into finished custom shapes and designs. This method can yield consistent and high-quality results for businesses seeking a reliable and efficient way to produce custom designs.

The following are five key considerations when choosing the best service provider for your needs:

Production Capabilities

The production capabilities of a service provider are essential in determining their capacity to meet your specific requirements. Research the materials and thicknesses they can cut since various materials require different cutting techniques and equipment. You must also verify that they have the necessary tools and expertise to handle your unique needs effectively.

If your project entails a large order volume, ask whether or not they have the resources to efficiently manage the workload. This may require a larger workforce, advanced machinery, and optimized production procedures.

Experience and Reputation

Find a partner with significant die cutting experience and relevant industries, as it can indicate their competence in handling projects and potential challenges. Looking for someone with a proven track record of success and customer satisfaction is a good starting point. You may also check online reviews or ask for references to gain insight into their past performance and client feedback.

Partnering with someone with a positive reputation in the industry is crucial in ensuring reliability, trustworthiness, and quality workmanship. Therefore, you must research potential partners and seek recommendations from industry peers to assess their reputation.

Quality Assurance

Die cutting can be highly technical, and quality control measures ensure that the final product meets the required specifications and standards. Choose a service provider with a well-established standards-checking system that adheres to the industry’s best practices. The system must include regular inspections, quality testing, and assurance procedures.

Additionally, you must work with a manufacturer that possesses appropriate certifications and follows quality standards. Certifications like ISO 9001 or 13485 signify that the company has implemented quality management systems and follows rigorous industry regulations.

Communication and Responsiveness

Effective communication is critical to ensuring that a service provider understands your project requirements and produces a final product that meets your expectations. Therefore, you should select a partner that offers clear and timely communication throughout the project’s lifecycle. They should also have customer service that is accessible and responsive to address any questions or concerns you may have throughout the engagement.

Project Management

Project management is essential for ensuring projects are finished on schedule, within the spending plan, and according to requirements. A dependable partner should have a good management mechanism that tracks the project status, identifies potential issues, and manages risks. In addition, they should have the flexibility and resources to accommodate modifications and alterations to the project scope.

Choose Elastomer Technologies for Your Die Cutting Needs

Elastomer Technologies has been in the industry for more than 45 years, focusing on providing custom molding solutions and producing die cut parts. We also offer custom services using various processes, including clickers, traveling heads, punch presses, and high-speed automatic work centers.

In addition to die cutting, we offer rubber and injection molding, transfer molding, and prototype molding. Contact us today to learn more about our services or request a quote to start your next project with us!

When To Use Rubber Molding

Rubber molding is a versatile and cost-effective manufacturing process used in many industries for decades. It involves heating a rubber material and then pressing it into a mold to create a product with precise dimensions and intricate details. Moreover, it offers several advantages, including enhanced durability, flexibility, and affordability.

However, the technique may not be suitable for every product or application. Therefore, determining when to use rubber molding requires an evaluation of the project’s specific needs. This article will explore the key factors to help you decide whether this method is appropriate for your requirements.

Key Considerations for the Effective Utilization of Rubber Molding

One important factor to consider when using rubber molding is the type of material. Using silicone in the molding process is prevalent due to its multiple benefits. For instance, silicone rubber is known for its tolerance to high temperatures, electrical insulating capabilities, and resistance to harsh environmental conditions.

Here are five additional considerations:

Physical Properties

Rubber molding provides the ability to create products with various physical properties. For example, the elasticity of rubber materials is beneficial for products that require a high degree of flexibility. This includes industrial gaskets, seals, and flexible hoses. Rubber’s durability also makes it an ideal choice for products and applications subjected to repetitive stress.

Hardness is another crucial physical feature that can be modified in molding. The material’s rigidity is advantageous for applications requiring a high degree of stiffness, like structural components and machine parts. As a result, the ability to control and modify the product’s hardness enables manufacturers to create pieces that fulfill unique performance specifications.


The molding process allows for the production of identical, highly consistent components. This decreases the likelihood of manufacturing faults and boosts overall production efficiency. In addition, the low cost of raw materials — silicone and natural rubber — makes it a cost-effective option for high-volume runs.

For small production runs, this technique is not optimal. The cost of forming the mold can be a significant fraction of the total expenses, making this process less cost-effective. Similarly, the lead time can be lengthy, with some molds requiring several weeks to complete. This can be troublesome for runs needing a rapid turnaround time.


Rubber molding is widely known for its ability to create products with accurate dimensions and detailed features. It also allows for the production of intricate shapes and designs, making it suitable for products where appearance and quality are primary concerns. Moreover, the molded rubber parts can be made to precise specifications, ensuring they will fit well and perform as intended.


This technique is a good choice for products that need to be resistant to harsh environmental conditions. Rubber is highly resistant to weathering, ozone, and UV rays. Thus, it ensures that your product will retain its shape, strength, and appearance. This makes rubber molding ideal for outdoor products, including garden hoses, patio furniture, and weather stripping.


While rubber molding is known for being a cost-effective manufacturing technique, it is not necessarily the most economical solution for every application.

Considering initial and ongoing costs is important when deciding when to use the method. Initial costs can be high, as it typically involves the creation of custom molds. These molds must be precisely created and constructed, which can be time-consuming and costly. Meanwhile, the ongoing expenditures include materials, labor, and mold maintenance.

ETI: Your Trusted Partner for Your Molding Needs

For over 45 years, Elastomer Technologies has offered customized molding solutions and part production services to meet the specific needs of our customers! With a focus on quality and attention to detail, we have built a reputation for delivering outstanding results in the molding industry.

Aside from rubber and injection molding, we also offer die-cutting, transfer molding, prototype molding, and other services. You can visit our Services & Capabilities page for more information. You may also contact us if you have any inquiries or request a quote to partner with us!

Benefits of Reshoring Die Cutting

Click to ExpandBenefits-of-Reshoring-Die-Cutting

Manufacturers are gradually turning to reshoring, particularly in metal cutting and forming processes like die cutting. One reason is the increased customs complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which demonstrated the potential risks with offshoring operations. In particular, manufacturing reshoring is becoming extremely prevalent among US companies to reduce supply chain interruptions and maintain self-sufficiency.

This article will define reshoring and discuss its advantages in the die cutting process.

What Are Offshoring and Reshoring in the Manufacturing Industry?

Offshoring, outsourcing manufacturing to a country other than your own, is no longer practical for manufacturing nowadays. Many businesses focused solely on the initial expenses of establishing overseas operations, such as labor and quoted manufacturing. In reality, numerous hidden expenditures can significantly increase the overall costs of offshoring in the long run. As a result, reshoring has returned.

Also referred to as onshoring, reshoring is the process of returning goods production and manufacturing to the company’s original country. It is also a quick and effective way to boost the economy since it helps stabilize trade and fiscal deficits, generates economic opportunities by creating better manufacturing jobs, and encourages trained human resources.

What Are the Advantages of Reshoring in the Die Cutting Process?

Manufacturing reshoring to the United States benefits companies by increasing earnings, providing pro-business benefits, offering employment services, and facilitating digitization. In addition, you can anticipate the following advantages:

Improved Product Quality and Consistency

Manufacturing companies that use the reshoring method report higher overall product quality and consistency. It also contributes to maintaining effective communication among manufacturing and development teams and implementing responsive quality adjustments during production.

Faster Lead and Delivery Times

Reshoring reduces the time it takes to receive die-cut parts and other stamped metal components. When offshoring processes, products from overseas typically take 10 to 14 weeks to complete and arrive. It also eliminates the need for customers to make large investments in inventories when opting for offshore manufacturing. Furthermore, reshoring allows manufacturers to source materials more quickly due to shorter supply chains.

Enhanced Workforce Competence

Reshoring allows for developing local workers across manufacturing industries and rapidly implementing new methods or process changes. They are usually trained according to strict workforce guidelines, and the company’s substantial investment in automation technology enables specialization.

Reduced Supply Chain and Compliance Risks

Since reshoring brings the operations back home, the supply chain’s complexity and unpredictability decrease. In addition, this method reduces shipping and customs compliance risks while increasing immediate access to all die cutting steps.

Minimized Time Zone Difference Issues

Another advantage of reshoring is that most operations are carried out in the same (or nearly equal) time zone. This benefit allows manufacturers to quickly identify and resolve issues to prevent disrupting the die cutting process, as the collaboration between individuals in the same time zone is fast.

Custom Die Cutting Services From Elastomer Technologies

Elastomer Technologies has over 35 years of experience specializing in customer-tailored molding solutions and die cutting part productions! We constantly provide custom services using various processes like clickers, traveling heads, punch presses, and high-speed automatic work centers. Moreover, our capabilities include the ability to cut the following materials to close tolerances:

  • Rubber
  • Plastics
  • Foam
  • Sponge
  • Hook and loop
  • Films
  • Adhesives
  • Other packaging materials

For more information about ETI’s capabilities and other services, contact us or request a quote today.

Benefits of Liquid Injection Molding for the Medical Industry

Click to ExpandBenefits of Liquid Injection Molding for the Medical Industry” data-lazy-src=

Injection molding is a versatile manufacturing technique used in the silicone industry for over a century. In particular, liquid injection molding (LIM) is a medical device manufacturing process with several advantages over other methods. For instance, it allows for increased product strength and weight. It also produces a final product within the parameters set by the device and regulatory bodies while remaining more economically efficient than other alternatives.

The underlying principle of the process is to create medical equipment and devices from specially formulated silicone materials that are strong, dependable, and FDA-compliant. This article will examine the benefits of medical device injection molding and the factors to consider when selecting materials.

Benefits of Medical Device Injection Molding

Liquid injection molding offers numerous advantages to medical device manufacturers, making it one of the most effective methods for producing rubber components. Some of the benefits that medical injection molding companies provide include the following:

Improved Ergonomics

Silicone liquid injection molding works well with moving parts devices. It extends the life of complex features that rely on buffers and materials to keep parts running without imposing undue wear and tear. Furthermore, silicone rubber is a safer and less allergenic alternative to other medical device materials due to its biocompatibility.

Flexible Design Options

Manufacturers have a wide range of design options with medical injection molding. It enables the integration of multiple components into a single fully bonded solution, which is ideal for medical applications. A single piece is also more substantial than an assembly of individual parts and thus lighter.

Increased Functionality

Silicone molding components are strong and flexible and can be stretched up to six times before breaking. This increases durability while also broadening the potential medical applications. Moreover, the parts perform as expected because the liquid injection molding process is so precise.

Lower Cost

The design of the medical silicone injection process aids in the reduction of unnecessary costs. As a result, when a large volume of medical injection parts is produced, the manufacturing method can reduce the expenditure per part. This makes medical injection molding more cost-effective than transfer molding and compression molding.

Decreased Burden of Sterilization

The materials commonly used in this manufacturing process are contaminant-resistant; they do not require a lot of sterilization to stay bacteria-free. Because of this feature, the material easily fulfills FDA standards and other prerequisites.

Considerations in Choosing Silicone Materials for Medical Injection Molding

Several silicone grades are suitable for medical device injection molding. Each material has characteristics that influence how it performs in the application and operating environment for which it was designed. When deciding on the best medical-grade silicone material for your application, keep the following factors in mind:

FDA Requirements

Tubing, medical instruments, and other external applications have different requirements than implanted medical devices. Thus, examining your application’s FDA requirements is critical before deciding on the material.

Strength and Resistance

Silicone resins have varying degrees of strength, so make sure the medical-grade silicone material you choose has the strength properties required for your application. Moreover, chemical and heat resistance are crucial when selecting a medical-grade material, especially if your finished components must be sterilized through autoclave, gamma ray, or chemical methods.

Operating Environment

Operating conditions influence strength, temperature resistance, chemical resistance, corrosion resistance, radiation exposure, and other factors. Hence, it is vital to ensure that the medical-grade silicone you choose can withstand the demands of your working environment.

Molding Method

Although medical injection molding and medical insert molding are both viable methods for prototyping medical devices, not all silicone grades are compatible with both. Therefore, you must determine what approach to take before deciding on medical-grade silicone material.

ISO Certification

A manufacturing company’s ISO certifications reflect its dedication to quality control and proven capacity to meet and surpass client expectations. Albeit a quick and easy procedure, examining your provider’s certification is essential to ensuring that you are getting the standard you require.

Choosing the best manufacturing company is undoubtedly the key to success in terms of best solutions, extended life, hygienic design, meeting standards, and cost-effectiveness over the entire product life. However, analysis and expert opinions are equally important in the medical industry before the manufacturing process, as not all machine capabilities can work on specific requirements.

ETI Is Your ISO-Certified Expert In Liquid Injection Molding

Elastomer Technologies Inc. is an ISO 13845:2016 certified company for comprehensive quality assurance management in medical device manufacturing.

At ETI, we ensure the safety and affordability of some of the most critical medical equipment in cardiology, general surgery, oncology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, and other fields. We employ a wide range of high-quality materials to ensure product durability, strength, and resistance to the inherent stressors of the healthcare industry — such as chemicals, bacteria, and extreme temperatures.

For more information about liquid injection molding and other services offered by ETI, visit our website or request a quote today.

Response to Article Regarding Reshoring Medical Device Components

Due to a combination of the effects of the pandemic and geopolitical tension globally, there is a strong trend for reshoring manufacturing, especially with medical device components.  Medical devices can be critical and having a predictable supply chain may outweigh the savings of producing offshore, at least in the current environment.

An article by MDO Contributors Network described 3 things to consider when deciding to re-shore medical device production to ensure a smooth process.

Three considerations for reshoring your medical device components and assemblies

October 4, 2022 By MDO Contributors Network

1: Your existing tools can’t always be salvaged.

While the ideal transition would be to take existing tools overseas, ship them to an onshore facility and flip the switch to begin production in the U.S., things rarely go that smoothly.  The article mentions several of those reasons including the possibilities that the tools were either inefficient or not well-maintained.  They may have been customized for overseas production, but specifications may be different here in the U.S.  In addition, there may be a need for updated drawings, design mechanics or other quality control issues.

ETI has the ability to evaluate your tool and customize or repair to ensure smooth production.  If needed, a new tool will be recommended to improve efficiency and quality of the parts. Our team will work with you to provide the best solution for your needs.

As the article mentions, it is important to manage expectations and consider this an opportunity to improve the tooling efficiency.  ETI can evaluate and provide flexible tooling options to consider.

2: Preparation for the validation process can expose potential risks.

The team at ETI will ensure that all of the quality control measures are in place.  We are ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certified with a separate clean room for production of silicone parts for medical devices.  Our quality control team will ensure that all procedures and documents are done properly to fulfill any quality validation requirements supporting the ISO 13485 certification.

3: You may need to say goodbye to part of your current supply chain.

The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the risks of utilizing just-in-time manufacturing with multiple supply chain vendors collaborating overseas.  In fact, any portion of the production supply chain currently being utilized offshore may have to be evaluated for replacement.  This exchange will bring all of the materials onshore and ensure access to materials and vendors that would not be feasible if any more lockdowns commence in the near future.

With the wealth of experience and connections available, ETI can help to source new vendors and assist with everything from tooling to accessing materials for your silicone and rubber parts.


ETI can become your onshore partner to bring your medical device production back to the U.S. Doing so will ensure quality production of your silicone parts and offers a more reliable supply chain in this uncertain global business environment.  While ETI focuses on small to medium-sized parts of up to 12 inches, we can evaluate your project of any size or make a referral as needed.

Prototyping vs. Production in Manufacturing

When looking to manufacture any kinds of parts, it’s important to know the differences between prototyping and production. Knowing their main distinctions has the potential to help lower production costs. Elastomer Technologies, Inc. (ETI) specializes in a variety of manufacturing methods to suit various industrial needs, including liquid injection molding, compression molding, transfer molding, and die-cutting.

What Is Prototyping?

In the manufacturing industry, a prototype is a model used to further develop details and functions of the final product. This early model provides proof that a product’s intended aesthetics and functionality are viable. Continually honing the prototype before officially moving into the production phase helps to ensure efficiency, functionality, problem-solving, material feasibility, and quality assurance.

Here are the advantages of a thorough prototyping process:

  • Early identification and repair of design issues
  • Provides a preview and estimates of the ensuing timeline, production costs, and material requirements
  • Determines manufacturing equipment that will be required for production
  • Enables fit and durability testing with end users
  • Fine-tunes final design and function
  • Helps raise funding from investors
Click to ExpandPrototyping vs. Production in Manufacturing

What Is Production/Mass Production in Manufacturing?

Production is any process used to convert raw materials or separate components into finished products or services. Production processes are typically performed with specialized types of machinery.

Mass production is the process of creating large quantities of standard products or components. Mass-produced goods are put together with automation technology or assembly lines. This process is an efficient method of producing a large number of identical products.

Benefits of mass production in manufacturing include:

  • Improved productivity
  • Enhanced uniformity
  • Reduced costs
  • High quality
  • Longer product life
  • Quick production 
  • Minimal risk of human error
  • Better employee safety

Key Differences Between Prototyping and Production in Manufacturing

See this table for a comprehensive breakdown of the main differences between prototyping and production.

Materials Prototypes are often made from less expensive materials. For instance, if an end product is supposed to be made of titanium, the prototype may just be made from white metal, steel, or plastic.  It is important to note that more often it is best to try to duplicate materials used in production.Material is usually very specific. Material waste becomes an important consideration as does material availability. While material costs can go up, they may be recouped by volume purchasing. 

Specific tests for batches of materials may be required to qualify parts.

Processes While a manufacturer will produce the end product, it’s often more cost-effective to outsource the prototype to a prototype specialist, who can save you labor, time, and money.

ETI offers prototyping using compression molding of products.  While this can be an expensive process it can answer a lot of questions regarding material behavior in a molded state that you cannot get from fast turn prototypes.

During the production process, the cost per unit is much lower than with prototyping. However, quality control becomes more critical.  Production quickly becomes less efficient and more expensive if an error is detected after items have already been produced in high quantities.

Production process qualification can become very complex, requiring multiple runs of parts, experiments, IQ, OQ, PQ (installation qualification, operational qualification and performance qualification).

VolumePrototyping is also known as a “dry run,” which is a short production run of experimental products.  Production quantities can be in batches of 50 to hundreds or thousands of products at a time. The total cost per part will vary based on minimum purchases of materials and the cost of material generally, set up costs and cycle time.


Why Work with Elastomer Technologies, Inc.?

For almost 50 years, Elastomer Technologies has been providing customers with high-quality engineered components. We are ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 13485 certified, which means that we are committed to delivering quality products and services to our clients across every industry. Our team of specialists will maximize your project’s efficiency and cost-effectiveness, providing guidance for every stage of the manufacturing process and even more importantly they are adept at following customer requirements.  For more information about prototyping vs. production or our other capabilities, contact us today.

Click to ExpandPrototyping vs. Production in Manufacturing

Rubber Molding vs. Rubber Extruding: What Are the Differences?

Rubber is a very versatile material. It is used to manufacture a wide range of parts and products, from seals and gaskets to tubes and hoses to bumpers and grommets. As part of this, rubber can be subjected to a variety of manufacturing processes. Each process entails different techniques to turn the raw material into the desired component. 

Below, we focus on two of the most commonly-employed rubber manufacturing processes: rubber molding and rubber extruding. We highlight each of their steps, the advantages they offer, and the typical parts and products they produce in order to help readers understand which method is best suited for their needs.

What is Rubber Molding?

The rubber molding process encompasses three key components: 

  • The custom-designed mold to make the desired part or product
  • The raw material which is placed or injected into the mold
  • The molding machine to hold the mold and place/inject the material

Together, these three elements enable rubber molding companies to manufacture various components in different shapes and sizes. 

Steps in the Rubber Molding Process

The steps in the rubber molding process are as follows: 

  1. Creating the mold for the component
  2. Installing the mold within the molding machine
  3. Placing or injecting the material into the mold
  4. Applying heat and pressure to cure (vulcanize) the material
  5. Removing the finished component from the machine

These steps may vary slightly depending on the type of rubber molding method used for the project. The three most commonly utilized are: 

  • Injection molding: rubber is injected at high pressures into a closed mold and then heated
  • Compression molding: rubber is placed into a mold, which is then closed and subjected to heat and pressure
  • Transfer molding: pre-formed rubber is inserted into a pot, forced through a runner and gate system into molding cavity, and then cured

Advantages of Rubber Molding

There are many advantages that rubber molding can bring to a production. For example, molding rubber products is one way to produce highly detailed three-dimensional shapes. Some of the other reasons manufacturers use it include: 

  • It is fast. The rubber molding process offers fast cycle times, which helps reduce overall production time for projects. 
  • It is efficient. Manufacturers can utilize the same molding machine to create a variety of parts and products by simply changing out the mold. As a result, rubber molding offers high machine efficiency rates. 
  • It is economical. Rubber molding can be  amenable to automation, which enables manufacturers to lower operational costs. 
  • It is precise and accurate. Molded rubber components can be made to a high degree of precision and accuracy, depending on the method and material. This allows manufacturers to achieve high dimensional tolerances and good surface finishes. 

Applications of Rubber Molding

Molded rubber parts and products find application in a wide range of industries. Typical components produced include: 

  • Backflow preventers
  • Elastomeric check valves
  • Electrical enclosures
  • Seal and gaskets
  • Surgical instruments and devices

What is Rubber Extruding?

Similar to the rubber molding process, the rubber extrusion process relies on three key components: 

  • The custom-designed die to make the desired part or product
  • The raw material which is forced through the die
  • The extrusion machine to hold the die and press the material through it

Together, these three elements allow rubber extrusion companies to create a wide range of parts and products in various shapes and sizes. 

Steps in the Rubber Extrusion Process

The rubber extrusion process involves forcing soft, unvulcanized rubber through a die with an opening in the profile/shape of the desired component, curing the formed material, and then cutting it to the proper length as a post molding process. The steps in the process are as follows: 

  1. Raw material is loaded into the extruder’s feed hopper
  2. The extruder’s heated shearing screw pushes the material forward into the die
  3. The material is pushed through the die opening at high pressures and elevated temperatures
  4. The material exits the die in the shape of the die opening
  5. The material is vulcanized to ensure it maintains its shape
  6. The material is cut to the proper length 

Advantages of Rubber Extrusion

Some of the key advantages of the rubber extrusion process are: 

  • It is efficient. Minimal material waste is produced during rubber extrusion operations. As a result, rubber extrusion offers high material efficiency rates.

  • It is economical. The production costs for rubber extrusion operations are much lower than many other production methods. 
  • It is versatile. The rubber extrusion process can be used to create virtually any two-dimensional shape in continuous or set lengths. Additionally, the components produced can be durable, flexible, and lightweight, depending on their design and construction material.

Applications of Rubber Extrusion

Like the rubber molding process, the rubber extrusion process is utilized to produce components for many industries and applications. Typical parts and products include: 

  • Connectors
  • Gaskets
  • Seals
  • Trim
  • Tubing
  • Vibration reducers

Rubber Molding at Elastomer Technologies, Inc.

Rubber molding and rubber extrusion both play a critical role in the production of many rubber parts and products. 

Whether your next project requires rubber molding or rubber extrusion, it is important to partner with an experienced and knowledgeable part fabricator, as they are better equipped to ensure the success of your project. 

Looking for a rubber molding company you can rely on? Turn to the experts at Elastomer Technologies, Inc. We are an ISO 9001:2015 certified rubber molding company, and we have specialized in the design and manufacture of rubber molded parts and products for over 30 years. This extensive experience, knowledge, and skills enable us to deliver quality molded rubber solutions for nearly any part or product needs. 

To learn more about the differences between rubber molding and rubber extrusion or our services and capabilities, contact us or request a quote today. 

What You Need to Know Before Starting a Die Cutting or Molding Process

The ETI team often gets inquiries from companies and folks that are new to manufacturing a molded elastomer/rubber or die cut product. In this blog, we’ll talk about some of the recommendations we provide to anyone looking to start their molding or die cutting project, particularly for the first time. 

Communicating Your Die Cut or Molded Part Specifications

Communicating what you want from manufacturing sets the process in motion. A manufacturer follows your lead because it is your product, and it is a goal you set for them. Your plan may have to be modified, but conveying the idea keeps things centered on your requirement. During your conversation, the manufacturer can advise you based on their overview of your needs; however, you can save both time and money by coming prepared. 

It is also a good idea to come equipped with some background information about the die cutting or molding process that you are interested in. Here are some resources that we have for further exploration: 

Specifications & Questions to Address About Your Die Cutting/Molding Needs

While you don’t need an answer to every question that will come up, the following are a few examples of what you can be prepared to share:

  • Part shape size, thickness and weight in the form of a drawing, sketch, sample part or electronic part model
  • How many parts you will need at each stage of development – this determines the process and tooling used to make the parts
  • If the part is going into an assembly or if dimensions are very important to maintain, you can share those concerns
  • The information usually needed includes part appearance requirements such as surface
  • Appearance can also include color requirements – colors can be picked off a color chart found online (clients are able to provide color samples as well)
Die Cutting Clicker Press at Elastomer Technologies, Inc.

Die Cutting Clicker Press at Elastomer Technologies, Inc.

Among the key questions to ask yourself, however: do you like the people with whom you are working at a manufacturing company? Do you like the manufacturer’s approach to asking questions, quoting your requirements and their approach to contracts? These factors will make the part production a much more streamlined and stress-free process for you.

Key Considerations for Molding Materials 

When molding a part, it is important to note that parting lines of molds leave witness lines and those areas are prone to mismatch and flash. Some molds leave gate marks or remnants, and you may want to discuss this with a molder.

Material choices are very challenging and you might need to quantify some information:

  • Elasticity – this is the material’s ability to quickly restore its original dimensions after a load that has caused it to disfigure/deform is removed
  • Compression set – the permanent deformation of a material that remains after removing a force that was applied to it – this term typically relates to elastomers and other soft materials.
  • Tensile strength – defined as the maximum amount of stress that a material can withstand before breaking, while/after it is stretched or pulled
  • Hardness – a material’s hardness is its ability to withstand localized permanent deformation, usually by indentation; the term can also be used to describe a material’s resistance to deformation due to other forces/operations, such as cutting, abrasion, penetration, and scratching
  • Environmental conditions (i.e. heat, chemicals) that the parts will be exposed to

If you have a sample of the material you’re looking for, it would offer excellent insight for the manufacturer. In the case of molded parts, you may opt to build a test mold and mold different materials until you find the one that works. To quantify this kind of information on materials, you may need to talk to a material compounder or a technical manager at a material distribution company.    

Liquid Injection Molding Parts at Elastomer Technologies, Inc.

Making a Plan for Your Die Cutting/Molding Part Production

Here are some additional questions and aspects to consider to form a solid plan for your upcoming die cutting or molding production:

  • Where is your market?  Is it better to place manufacturing closer to where you will distribute?
  • Do you want to have manufacturing close at hand to help with communicating and resolving quality concerns?
  • Do you need prototypes to clarify your requirements?  How many?
  •  If your goal is to test market a product, be prepared to pay for tooling and samples
  • How much testing and product as marketing samples will be required to succeed
  • Consider the cost of changes for tooling and material. This can get expensive.

As your product begins to sell, you will likely need different tools to keep up with increased demand. When product production ramps up, you may need a different process that gives you better throughput. You might have to consider new materials or new suppliers of material at this stage. It could be a good idea to do some of this “homework” in parallel during prototyping, if possible. Be advised that sometimes success surprises clients and all of the decisions you make early – for good or bad – will set up options and costs for later stage development. 

Explore Part Molding & Die Cutting Services at Elastomer Technologies, Inc.

A manufacturer is there to provide what you want.  If they cannot do so, they will tell you and give you reasons.  You might be able to adjust your approach.  Manufacturers are interested in your success as they profit by it as much as you do. You might not like their delivery, prices and have questions about how they control quality. But knowing what you want gives you the power to make and drive intelligent thoughtful decisions. 

Elastomer Technologies, Inc. offers over 40 years of custom die cutting and molding process expertise to our customers, and an extensive portfolio of both simple and complex part productions. Whether it is an adhesive backed kiss-cut die cut part, an elaborate custom compounded molded rubber product, or clean room injection molded silicone medical device component, ETI is happy to guide you in achieving your goal.

To learn more about ETI and our work, feel free to explore the following resources on our website:

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What You Need to Know Before Starting a Die Cutting or Molding Process

If you would like to get a die cut or molded part production started, reach out to the ETI team or request a quote today and we will be happy to help you.