Rubber trim protects edges and the people who come into contact with them. Typically, edge trim is used to cover the sheet metal surfaces found on machinery or equipment. Because these surfaces may be sharp or rough, they can pose a cutting hazard to employees who reach through a door or hatch, or who brush up against the edge of a stainless steel table. Rubber trim is also used to enhance the appearance of edges and comes in custom colors that can complement your larger product designs.
Unlike other industrial rubber products, edge trim does not provide sealing action. There isn’t a bulb that compresses to fill a gap; however, rubber trim can provide environmental resistance depending on the material you select. Also, although the trim “rubber trim” is used widely, trim for edge protection is often made of a plastic called polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or a group of copolymers called thermoplastic elastomers (TPE). That’s why this article covers these two materials as well as EPDM, neoprene, and silicone trim.
If you need edge trim for industrial or commercial applications, start by determining the size of the gap you need to cover. Typically, the gap is the size of the flange or the gauge of the steel. Most rubber trim is black, but some materials come in colors such as red, blue, yellow, or green. You’ll also need to select the right rubber compound while accounting for cutting and installation as part of your decision making process. The following sections explain.
Rubber Trim Materials
PVC edge trim is available in both rigid and flexible formulations. This plastic material is strong, widely available, and generally cost-effective. Because PVC is dense and hard, its resists deformation caused by impacts. PVC trim also resists many types of chemicals such as alcohols, acids, bases, and oils. TPE rubber trim is more expensive, but it comes in a wide range of colors and is recyclable. Compared to PVC, thermoplastic elastomers are also less likely to break in cold temperatures, too.
EPDM trim is also used for edge protection. A synthetic rubber, EPDM resists moisture, extreme temperatures, and the ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight. Importantly, EPDM rubber trim may contain a metal channel for gripping and impact resistance. EPDM, neoprene, and other types of trim can also contain segmented wires that support bends and turns. PVC and TPE trim seals do not contain metal channels or segmented wires. Instead, they contain a glue bead for adhesion.
Rubber Trim Cutting: Distribution vs. Fabrication
Trim seals that contains metal channels or segmented wires can be challenging to cut. To pierce both the rubber and the metal, a chop saw or abrasive saw can be used used. Some manufacturers cut edge trim in-house, but others buy cut lengths instead. This eliminates mis-cuts and material waste while ensuring that each length of material meets specific tolerances. Rubber trim can also be bonded into a rounded gasket or continuous loop, a job that’s easier for a skilled fabricator to perform.
With PVC trim, the relatively low-cost of materials may reduce or eliminate concerns about waste from mis-cuts. However, there’s both a labor cost and an opportunity cost to having your own employees cut rubber trim. If you’re asking a highly paid employee like a welder to make the cuts, you’re adding expenses to rubber products and tying up time on non-metalworking operations. If you buy cut lengths instead, you can eliminate these unwanted costs and leverage the volume discount that a distributor receives.
Rubber Trim Installation
Unlike other industrial rubber products, installing edge trim does not require the use of metal or plastic fasteners, adhesive tapes, or liquid adhesives. Instead, rubber trim is designed to push or press onto a surface. Products that contain metal channels or segmented wires promote gripping and may also have internal tongues. With PVC trim and TPE trim, the glue bead that’s inside the product bonds to the flange and provides reliable adhesion. Unlike U-channels, there’s no need to apply a separate adhesive.
Choose Edge Trim That Adds Value
Elasto Proxy can supply you with lengths of rubber trim that you cut yourself, but we can also fabricate edge trim for you. No matter which method you choose, partnering with us lets you leverage our supplier network since we buy hundreds of thousands of feet of trim seals each year. Whether your application is agricultural or forestry equipment, buses, band saws, or playground equipment, we can also warehouse materials for you and meet the demands of your sales forecasts.
To request of quote or discuss your application, please contact us. T