Rubber seals are important components in marine applications and aerospace. They can also be used in swimming pool pumps, kitchen appliances, garden horses, bathrooms, and many other applications.
A rubber seal can either be a film, a strip, a gel or putty. They are usually compatible with ceramics, glass, paper, concrete, bricks, leather, metal, plastic wood, and other porous surfaces and composite materials.
It is important to note that rubber is an elastometer, which can be obtained through the manufacture of natural latex.
Besides, rubber can also be produced synthetically when particular types of hydrocarbons are processed. Companies often manufacture according to market demands.
Below are some of the things to know about rubber seal manufacturing:
1. Quality checklist
To guarantee that high-quality standards are adhered to, a rubber manufacturing company must have a quality checklist throughout the manufacturing process.
This will ensure that all parts are tested the same way using similar standards. Doing so will ensure that no defective product leaves the manufacturing facility.
To achieve this, most manufacturing companies begin the testing process with a quality testing form, to make sure that no step is skipped.
2. Each rubber has its own distinct gravity
Considering the fact that most of the rubber is black in color, it may not be possible to distinguish the type of material using naked eyes. Most manufacturers use gravity to separate rubber since each one of them has different gravity levels.
They use sophisticated machines to test the gravity of every rubber before proceeding to other manufacturing steps. Common rubber compounds consist of Viton with a 1.87 density, Neoprene – 1.47, and Nitrile – 1.2.
The testing is conducted by doing comparisons of the weight of rubber specimens when dipped in water and dry rubber specimens.
3. Tensile testing is the most critical in the design stage
Tensile testing is a general testing machine for rubber. It is used to find out how the material conducts itself when subjected to tension. The results obtained from the process are the ones that will be used as elongations and tension measurements.
The above test is important when it comes to deciding the right material to be used during the design stage. This is because it shows the performance of the material in terms of sealing.
To achieve the right standards, it is important to commence all rubber specifications with tensile, elongation, and durometer. Tensile appears to match with the durometer. For this reason, durometer measurements should be accurate before they are leaving the tensile phase.
Rubber material with low durometer measurements seem to have low tensile and are ideal for low-pressure applications.
On the other hand, rubber materials containing high durometer measurements are ideal for high-pressure applications, because they are high in tensile.
4. Final products usually go through visual and automated testing
The testing process for finished rubber products is different from that used in raw materials. The first testing step is a visual inspection – to make sure that all parts of the rubber surfaces are within the acceptable standards.
Qualified inspectors check and review every part to see if there are any defects such as nonfills, knit lines, or any foreign material. After a visual inspection, the next step is an automated testing process. Most manufacturers use a popular machine known as Micro-Vu.
The machine is programmed with certain dimensions to help it automatically measure the rubber products faster and accurately. The automation process is also important because the margin of error is significantly reduced compared to manual testing.
Geometry measurement for various features is particularly vital for seals, when it comes to building confidence, among customers.
5. Packaging and delivery
This is usually the last step in rubber seal manufacturing. After confirming that the final product meets all the set standards, it is packaged properly, and delivered to customers, in good condition. There are various packing standards that all manufacturers are supposed to adhere to.