Liquid Silicone Rubber: A Faster Alternative to Injection Molded Silicone Parts
There’s no doubt that injection molding is an excellent method for manufacturing silicone parts at scale. But the lead times and costs can be prohibitive if you’re only in the prototyping phase. In most cases, spending upwards of $30K on steel tooling for a prototype model or bridge production project simply isn’t feasible.
Here at KAD, we’ve developed a unique approach to making production-quality silicone parts using Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) and aluminum tooling. The result? A faster, less expensive alternative to injection molded silicone parts.
What Is Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR)?
If you aren’t familiar with liquid silicone rubber, here’s a quick recap of what distinguishes it from other popular silicones:
- It’s a two-part thermosetting polymer—unlike thermoplastics, it won’t melt after it’s set.
- It’s fatigue-resistant, exceptionally strong, and resists corrosion and bacteria.
- It can withstand extreme temperatures ranging from -150°F to over 420°F.
- It boasts good elongation, high tear and tensile strengths, and superior flexibility. It’s incredibly durable with a 5 to 80 Shore A hardness range.
- It’s cost-effective due to its availability, and it demolds incredibly fast, resulting in short lead times.
- It’s exceptionally versatile and can be used for many applications, including medical-grade parts with bacteria-resistance requirements and automotive components exposed to hot temperatures.
4 Benefits of Prototyping with Liquid Silicone Rubber at KAD
At KAD, we make custom, production-quality prototype models with LSR and aluminum tooling (as opposed to standard steel tooling). Here are the four main benefits of prototyping with LSR:
A steel tool for standard injection molding can take 15-30 weeks to build. Our process allows us to design tooling and manufacture parts much faster than typical molding houses.
How fast? We can make production-quality parts in as few as five days.
Traditional steel injection molds can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and there’s only one shot at getting the design right.
If you’re still iterating your design, it doesn’t make sense to shell out $30K on injection molding tooling. For prototyping and bridge production, our LSR process will save you money.
3. Quality and accuracy
The most significant benefit of traditional injection molding is accuracy, and we can match it with aluminum tooling and LSR.
We’ve created precise, high-quality custom silicone rubber parts for cardiovascular medical devices and a range of consumer products, including water bottles, thumb rests on handheld game controllers, gaskets, and seals.
4. Production materials
It’s possible to build a prototype model using 3D printing, but this solution typically involves transitioning to traditional injection molding for production.
The problem is that the materials used for 3D printing are different from the materials used for injection molding. Any testing you conduct on your prototype may not yield the same results as production parts.
It’s always best to build a prototype model with the same material you plan to use in production, and our approach allows you to do that.
Want to discuss your silicone parts? Let’s talk about your unique needs and specifications! KAD can advise you on the best materials and processes to manufacture your prototype model, whether you require silicone molding or CNC machining services. Request a quote today!