How Silicone Rubber Is Used for Sealing and Insulation

Silicone RubberHow is silicone rubber used for sealing and insulation? Silicones have valuable properties, but engineers need rubber that meets specific requirements. If you’re wondering whether silicone seals, gaskets, or insulation are the right choice for your application, consider some of the uses for this versatile polymer.    The examples you’ll read about aren’t the only uses for silicone, but they’re representative. (more…)

Continue Reading

When to Use Silicone Rubber for Sealing and Insulation

Silicone RubberWhen is silicone rubber the right choice for sealing and insulation? Silicones have many desirable properties, but can cost more than other polymers. That’s why some engineers avoid them – even though silicone prices have fallen. At the same time, newer materials such as thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are interesting but even more expensive.

If you’re wondering whether silicone rubber is the right choice for your application, Elasto Proxy invites you to take a fresh look at these synthetic elastomers. In Part 1 of this two-part series, we’ll examine the advantages of silicone rubber, cover some basic chemistry, and then focus on silicone gasket materials. Next, we’ll categorize silicones in different ways so that you’ll be ready to understand the applications. (more…)

Continue Reading

TPE Profiles Reduce Waste, Glow in the Dark, Feature Custom Colors

TPE ProfilesTPE profiles are replacing EPDM rubber in applications such as mobile equipment, food equipment, and infrastructure. Unlike EPDM, thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are recyclable. That’s especially important in Europe, where manufacturers are moving away from petroleum-based materials.

In North America and other parts of the world, the availability of TPEs in custom colors is driving demand. TPEs can cost more than EPDM profiles, but thermoplastic rubbers (TPRs) – as TPEs are sometimes called – offer important advantages for product designers and engineers. Are TPE profiles the right choice for your next project? (more…)

Continue Reading

Flame Retardant Rubber for Vehicle Interiors and Electronic Enclosures

Flame Retardant RubberFlame retardant rubber helps to protect people and property from the devastating effects of fire. By stopping or slowing the spread of flame, these elastomers reduce the rate and intensity of burning. They can also limit the release of smoke and toxins while increasing the amount of time that people have to escape from life-threatening situations. Applications for these specialized compounds include electronic enclosures and the interiors of buses, trains, and subways.

For engineers, it’s important to understand that all flame retardant rubber is not the same. There are different classes of flame retardants, chemicals that are added or applied during compounding. There are also different flammability standards by industry and within the same industry. For example, the mass transit industry has so many different flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST) standards that simply asking for an “FST compound” or “flame retardant rubber” risks getting you the wrong material. (more…)

Continue Reading

FDA Gasket Materials for Food Contact Applications

FDA Gasket MaterialsFDA gasket materials are used in food contact applications such as commercial kitchens. They meet strict standards from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a regulatory agency that’s responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety and quality of many food products. The FDA’s jurisdiction is limited to the United States, but FDA standards are followed worldwide.

FDA gasket materials for food contact applications are subjected to rigorous testing. They are non-toxic, non-marking, non-allergenic, and reliable over a wide range of temperatures. These compounds are also tasteless, odorless, and resistant to the natural growth of bacteria. Not all food-grade rubber is FDA approved, however, so it’s important to choose gasket materials with care. (more…)

Continue Reading

NSF Gasket Materials for Food Equipment and Drinking Water Systems

NSF Gasket MaterialsNSF gasket materials are used in commercial food service equipment, water treatment or distribution systems, and other applications that can affect human health and safety. Rubber compounds that are registered with NSF International (formerly the National Sanitary Foundation) must pass rigorous tests to ensure that potentially harmful substances won’t migrate from the gasket material when in contact with food or drinking water.

NSF standards aren’t regulatory requirements, but failing to use NSF gasket materials can put larger product designs at risk. Conversely, using NSF certified compounds can increase the likelihood of regulatory acceptance. In some jurisdictions, public authorities such as health departments require food service equipment and drinking water systems to meet a specific NSF standard. Buyers also expect to see an NSF mark on products such as commercial ovens or water filtration systems. (more…)

Continue Reading

UL Gasket Materials for Flame Resistance and Ingress Protection

UL Gasket MaterialsUL gasket materials can provide flame resistance, ingress protection, or other specialized properties. For engineers, it’s important to understand what the different standards from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mean. It’s also worth knowing if UL gasket materials are truly required in your component-level designs. Otherwise, you may “over-engineer” your gaskets and pay too much for materials.

Compared to commodity elastomers, the prices for UL compounds are higher. The minimum order quantities (MOQs) are greater, too. In the case of rubber extrusions, the compounder has to use special tooling to account for different flow rates. The number of suppliers who offer UL materials is also limited. Unless you really need them, UL gasket materials can add unnecessary expenses to your application.

Of course, some sealing and insulation projects require UL gasket materials to meet specific requirements. In this blog entry, the first in our September series about compound selection, Elasto Proxy explains what engineers need to know about UL gaskets for flame resistance and ingress protection. These aren’t the only UL standards for gaskets, but they’re the most common – and they can be confusing. (more…)

Continue Reading

Railcar Rubber Products and Flame, Smoke, and Toxicity (FST) Standards

Railcar Rubber ProductsRailcar rubber products need to meet flame smoke, and toxicity (FST) standards that protect human health and safety. Fires that burn railcar seats, floors, wall panels, and other interior components don’t just cause immediate injuries and fatalities. Flames can release smoke that obscures escape routes. Burning rubber that releases toxic gases can also overwhelm passengers and employees.

Suppliers offer compounds that meet FST standards, but design engineers still facing a challenging task. The flame, smoke, and toxicity standards for railcar materials vary widely. Designers need to familiarize themselves not just with different standards, but with standards used in different countries. By partnering with the right fabricator, however, you can source the right rubber products for sealing and insulation. (more…)

Continue Reading

Medical Grade Gaskets and Platinum-Cured Silicones

medical grade gasketsMedical grade gaskets made of platinum-cured silicones are used in medical devices and equipment. Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates these rubber gaskets from an ultra-clean line of silicones that are FDA, USP Class VI, and RoHS compliant. At our manufacturing center near Montreal, Canada, we use water jet cutting to convert elastomers with speed and precision. Because there are no tooling charges, water jet cutting is ideal for prototyping and producing low-to-medium volumes of medical grade gaskets.

Elasto Proxy’s custom fabrication expertise includes assistance with seal design and compound selection. Just send us your CAD files and our technical team will use SolidWorks to review your schematics. The medical grade silicones that we custom-fabricate come in a range of durometers, and are available in custom colors to support your product designs. Although platinum-cured silicones are normally translucent, Elasto Proxy can manufacture medical grade gaskets in white, olive drab, and other colors. (more…)

Continue Reading

Sealing and Insulation with High-Temperature Textiles

High-Temperature TextilesElasto Proxy converts high-temperature textiles into custom seals and specialty insulation. Applications include industrial processing equipment and engine exhaust systems. Depending upon your application requirements, Elasto Proxy can custom-fabricate high-temperature products that also provide resistance to abrasion, chemicals, water, noise, and vibration.

With our water jet cutting and industrial sewing capabilities, Elasto Proxy turns high-temperature felts, blankets, and fabrics into unique sealing and insulation solutions. Our skilled production team can also laminate different types of materials together to create thermal-acoustic insulation. With our 25+ years of application experience, Elasto Proxy can help with technical design and material selection, too. (more…)

Continue Reading
Close Menu