by Cindy LeClair Cindy LeClair No Comments

Which Elastomer Is Best For Your Project | Find Out Now

Understanding Polymers In Custom Manufacturing

Vip Rubber and Plastic Elastomers and MaterialsA basic understanding of polymers can be incredibly helpful when creating a new part from rubber or plastic. It is important to choose the right material to ensure product performance and longevity. It takes many years of experience to reach “expert” status in the rubber and plastic industry.

With over half a century of manufacturing under our belt, we have deep understanding of what is involved in the selection, preparation and testing of materials. The heavy lifting can be left to our experts, but for those looking for a fundamental understanding of polymers, read on…..

Definition of Polymer

“A substance that has a molecular structure consisting chiefly or entirely of a large number of similar units bonded together, e.g., many synthetic organic materials used as plastics and resins.”

POLYMERS can be classified into three categories:

  • Plastics
  • Rubber & Elastomers
  • Fibers

The rubber industry only has a few natural polymers that are available for use without making any significant changes to them. In terms of elastomers, natural rubber is the only natural elastomer available. All other elastomers are synthetic and require specific methods of modification to become usable in manufacturing.

ELASTOMERS are typically segmented into three categories. These categories are very useful when selecting the type of rubber for a job or application.

General Purpose: Best for parts that will not require resistance to petroleum-based fluids. These elastomers are made only from carbon and hydrogen and perform well, but will not resist the effects of petroleum oils.

  • Natural Rubber (NR)
  • Polyisoprene (IR)
  • Polybutadiene (BR)
  • Styrene-butadiene (SBR)
  • Butyl (IIR)
  • Ethylene-propylene (EPM)
  • Ethylene-propylene-diene (EPDM)

Solvent Resistant: Good for parts used in environments with exposure to petroleum-based fluids. With a more robust dynamic composition, solvent resistant materials will resist petroleum based fluids.

  • Nitrile (NBR)
  • Polychloroprene (CR)
  • Polysulfide (T)
  • Epichlorohydrin (CO)
  • Chlorinated Polyethylene

Temperature Resistant: Best choice for parts that will be exposed to extreme temperatures for long periods of time. Usually can withstand both abnormal temperatures and petroleum-based fluids.

  • Polyacrylate (ACM)
  • Fluorocarbon (FKM)
  • Chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSM)
  • Silicone (MQ)

Not all materials fit perfectly into these three categories, with many hovering on the border. A custom compounder can alter elastomers to fit the exact needs of a part, including spec requirements for aerospace, military, automotive and other industries.

Elastomer choice is a critical starting point for every custom manufacturing project. It is important to select a material that will perform properly and provide lasting results.

Contact us today to get started on your project.

Cindy LeClair is the Vice President of Marketing at Vip Rubber and Plastic Company in California. Cindy is in the third generation of family ownership and has over 10 years of experience in the manufacturing industry. She is passionate about helping others and aims to educate and connect customers with the right resources. Should you want to get to know Vip Rubber and Plastic better as a potential supplier, do not hesitate to reach out to Cindy.

by Cindy LeClair Cindy LeClair No Comments

Storing Rubber And Plastic Parts | 5 Tips You Need To Know

How to store rubber and plastic parts

Summer is in full swing across the nation and temperatures are rising. Both rubber and plastic can be reactive to changes in the environment, making storage critically important for maintaining the integrity of your parts. Several factors such as exposure to oxygen, ozone, light, heat, humidity, oils, water, or other solvents can affect the performance of your rubber and plastic parts. These factors can be minimized by proper storage conditions.

1. CONTROL STORAGE TEMPERATURE
Materials can change in dimension based upon exposure to extreme temperatures. In particular, rubber is susceptible to these changes because it has a high coefficient of friction. It is ideal to keep materials stored in temperatures between 40°F and 80°F. Higher temps will cause products to soften, while colder temps cause stiffening. If your parts are out of tolerance after being stored, be sure to allow them to stabilize for 24 hours in a milder environment.

2. CONTROL STORAGE HUMIDITY
Some materials are prone to absorb moisture and will surely be affected by humidity levels. When deciding how to store your parts, remember that relative humidity in the environment should stay below 75%. Condensation should be avoided at all times. For those who can’t avoid humidity, be sure to allow for additional tolerance on part dimensions. In addition, letting the product stabilize in a controlled environment for 24 hours will minimize the changes humidity can cause.

3. AVOID EXPOSURE TO LIGHT
Both rubber and plastic products should be protected from light, particularly sunlight and strong, ultraviolet, artificial light. To help solve this issue, we suggest first putting parts into polyethylene bags, and then storing in large cardboard, or other opaque, containers.

4. AVOID OXYGEN AND OZONE EXPOSURE
Oxygen (O2) and Ozone (O3) can be quite damaging to rubber products, so wherever possible, it is best to store parts in airtight containers. This will protect them from circulating air and will minimize the potential negative affect. Exposure to ozone is particularly damaging, and can cause a scission (breakage) of the carbon backbone polymer chain into smaller chains. To maintain the integrity and shape of rubber products, keep them away from ozone-generating equipment such as electric motors, mercury vapor lamps, and high voltage electrical equipment.

5. STORE PRODUCTS IN RELAXED STATE
Rubber and plastic products should be stored in a tension-free, relaxed state. Parts that are compressed when stored may cause cracking or change of shape. Large parts should not be stored on pegs as this may cause severe deterioration. To restore parts to their original shape, apply moderate heat directly to product and allow time for product to be unrestrained.

We hope these 5 tips for storing rubber and plastic parts will help protect your products. These are especially important for parts with custom profiles. Controlling storage environment can be very difficult, but with the right protection, your parts will continue to perform as planned.

For additional questions regarding storage, feel free to contact us!

Visit us at viprubber.com

Cindy LeClair is the Vice President of Marketing at Vip Rubber and Plastic Company in California. Cindy is in the third generation of family ownership and has over 10 years of experience in the manufacturing industry. She is passionate about helping others and aims to educate and connect customers with the right resources. Should you want to get to know Vip Rubber and Plastic better as a potential supplier, do not hesitate to reach out to Cindy.