The world seems to have gone crazy over silicone. From automotive parts to medical use, household products, and other consumer goods, there’s an abundance in the application and demand for silicone molds. The silicone products that make it in the hands of consumers today have gone through highly accurate and technical operations, which is precisely why silicone molds are a smart choice to purchase and to use.
That said, here are some of the essential things that everyone needs to know about silicone molding:
Silicone Molding Isn’t Expensive
One of the most common myths about silicone mold is it’s costly. False! At the outset, it may be expensive. But due to its longevity, it’s more cost-effective in the long run. When silicone molds are well taken care of, they can last for decades.
the side of manufacturing, silicone
is cost-effective. For example, if you’re planning to start a
manufacturing business, silicone molds are the best material that can
withstand a fast cycle time. This means that despite needing a high
volume for production, the quality of silicone won’t deteriorate
even if production has to be sped up.
Due to precision when molding, a longer preparation and lead time is generally required. But once the mold is created, it stays and runs stable. There’s a lower chance of the silicone mold being damaged and destroyed, and there’s no need to create one from scratch.
Silicone Is A Safe Choice For Medical Use
Plastic is continuously under intense scrutiny from the health industry. Doctors all over the world are concerned about the toxins that are used in plastics. While there are safer plastic options now available, there’s still many that aren’t chemical free. When it comes to medical and household use, silicone is a top choice because it is safe for plastic surgery procedures, for instance. There’s no better substitute for silicone when it comes to safety.
Plastic, for instance, has a petroleum-based material that contains harmful toxins such as bisphenol-A, more commonly known to consumers as BPA. Numerous health issues arise due to the constant use and exposure to these plastic products. Examples of these health risks include:
- Endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are used to make plastic clear and more durable can lead to problems in fertility cycles, immune disorders, delayed neurodevelopment in children, and hormone-related cancers
- Eye irritation and vision failure
- Thyroid function and metabolism
- Respiratory problems and breathing difficulties
- Direct toxicity in the body
With silicone molds, this harmful toxin isn’t present, making it a healthier choice for consumers.
Silicone Molds Are Also Food-Safe
In addition to being safe for medical use, silicone molds are also considered safe for household use. The most common purposes of silicone molds are for meal preparation and storage, packing of food and snacks, and for baking. While plastic is also a highly used product for these household items, silicone is the better choice because it’s food-safe.
While not all silicone molds and products are considered equal, many options can be purchased in stores that are of superior quality. This ensures that the silicone that’s being used for food is food-safe. This means that it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that might contaminate the food products you’re storing.
In that regard, here are essential factors you need to look out for to ensure that the silicone product you’re buying is of good quality:
- When the silicone used is food-grade, it shouldn’t give off a foul odor.
- The texture should be tough but also elastic. It should also feel smooth.
- There should be no small gaps to allow bacteria to penetrate through.
- When you pull away both sides, there shouldn’t be a white space or color in between.
Silicone Sealants Are Also A Good Choice For Household Use
The same products used to create silicone molds are also used for silicone sealants. This also makes it a better choice for anything in the house that needs sealing as its quality is meant to last longer. This minimizes the need for repetitive repairs. On average, silicone sealants can last for at least 20 years.
Factors that can affect the effectivity of silicone sealants include:
- The proper application of the sealant
- The environment in which the sealant is being used
- The weather conditions that affect the location wherein the silicone sealant is used
Silicone Molds Can Be Packed With Polymer Clay
Silicone molds are a favorite in almost all industries because of its versatility. Anything can be done and created with silicone molds, and it’s easy to use as well. One of the things that can be packed inside a silicone mold is polymer clay. One vital thing to remember is to work with well-conditioned clay, or else cracks are going to show, and the mold won’t be as clean as it should be.
To enable the best possible results with silicone molds and polymer clay, keep the following tips in mind:
- Fill the mold with little pieces of clay to form the object or prototype that’s desired.
- Push the clay firmly using your fingers or thumb to ensure that it’s packed well within the silicone.
- Use a blade to scrape off any excess. But do it in little movements, rather than with one big slice, to avoid any errors on the clay.
- Always remember to give the clay a chance to rest and dry. This makes it easier to remove from the mold.
Silicone Molds Account For Better-Looking Prototypes
When using silicone to create crafts, models, or prototypes, the outcome is generally more aesthetically pleasing. This is a result of one fundamental advantage of using silicone molds: its flexibility. Silicone molds can be twisted, bent, turned, and even pressed to allow for the release of the object being created. This makes release agents generally unnecessary, ensuring that the product made will come out looking better.
Silicone Molds Are A More Environment-Friendly Choice
Switching to a more eco-friendly lifestyle has become the norm in both industries and households all over the world. Little changes, such as choosing household products more wisely, account for a significant shift in people turning into more responsible and environmentally-conscious consumers. Among the many significant decisions that smart consumers make, one of them is to switch to silicone molds.
First, the raw material of silicone is silica, which comes from sand. When used and manufactured correctly, it lasts longer than plastic products. Hence, it reduces the need to keep on buying new products over and over again. When a plastic item gets destroyed, it ends up in a landfill without any good use. This is destructive for the environment. With silicone products, items last longer so less plastic products end up in landfills.
Silicone products can last longer than plastic ones because they can thrive in extreme conditions better, like the following:
- Exposure to heat and cold when used to pack food
- Washing, and many more
Because of their long-lasting endurance, replacements due to wear and tear are minimized. Silicone can better resist aging that’s brought about by factors beyond human control.
Silicone Molds Have A Longer Shelf Life
When stored correctly and adequately, silicone molds and other respective silicone products also have a longer shelf life. They are categorized as belonging under Group C. This means that silicone molds enjoy the lowest sensitivity to the typical effects of aging. Initially, silicone molds and products are granted the lowest shelf life period of 10 years. Not having to replace molds and products for a decade is already a good standard.
Possible factors that can affect the shelf life of silicone molds include:
- Temperature and humidity
- Pressure from other stacked items in the cabinet
Silicone Molds Are Used For Faster Prototype Creation
This applies to silicone molds that are used in the manufacturing industry. If the purpose is for the creation of prototypes and fast, silicone is always the better option. First, numerous processes can be achieved for the production of prototypes using silicone molds. Which method is the best will be highly dependent on the prototype that’s intended to be created. Examples of these processes include injection molding, room temperature vulcanization, and selective laser sintering.
Here’s a quick rundown of these three processes:
- Injection Molding: This process uses liquid silicone rubber, much like in silicone sealants. Through injection molding, there’s usually very little to no product wastage, and better process repeatability.
- Multiple-Profile Extrusion (MPE): This process is also commonly used in the medical industry. This eliminates the need for secondary bonding operations. Also, it’s best to remove elastomers and foams for the silicone mold. Lastly, various types of tubing may be created. This includes single-lumen and multi-lumen tubing.
- Room Temperature Vulcanization: This process is advantageous, mostly because raw materials are readily and easily available. Compared with other silicone mold processes, this one has the lowest capital requirements. Hence, it’s highly affordable even by beginners or the smallest manufacturers.
- 3D Printing: This process of silicone molding is also one of the most commonly used in industries today. Because of advancements in technology, elastomeric materials are now available, which is common in sectors that need silicone molds.
- Compression Molding. This process is done when creating molds or prototypes that are beyond the size capacity for injection molding. Compression molding is also commonly used to create silicone molds for medical use, such as lip seals and respiratory equipment.
Silicone Molds Can Also Be Used For Over-Molding
One of the common uses of silicone molds is for creating prototypes. Hence, materials such as clay, cement, or ceramic, are all squeezed inside the silicone mold to come up with a finished product. However, the versatility of silicone molds doesn’t just stop there. It can even achieve what is known as over-molding.
As its name suggests, this process intends for silicone to be used over and on top of an item that needs to be covered or wrapped in silicone. One of the most common examples are the handles of everyday household products. This is usually done to enhance the physical surface of an item, giving it a better finish.
Here are essential factors to consider when doing silicone over-molding:
- The average curing temperature should be at 350°F
- The strength of silicone over-molding increases over time
- The polymers that are ideal for silicone molding include high-temperature resins and nylons
The Silicone Molding Process Has Principles That Are Necessary To Perfect
To come up with the best silicone molds, the principles of silicone molding must be met and perfected. Or else, silicone molds won’t function as well as they should. When these principles are met, silicone molds that are used can be durable, precise, and will be of excellent quality.
These principles include the following:
- Deciding where the parting line is going to be. The parting line is an integral part of the silicone mold to ensure that the material flows appropriately. Perfecting this allows the mold to avoid possible errors, such as air coming into the prototype that’s created.
- One of the challenges unanimously met by manufacturers during the silicone molding process has to do with shrinkage, which should be avoided at all costs. This can happen when the silicone isn’t prepared well. Rubber parts usually shrink during the cooling process, so attention has to be placed there.
- Venting should also be avoided. Another one of the challenges, apart from shrinkage, is venting. This happens when enclosed air is expelled in venting channels. For the silicone mold to pass through only the optimum venting necessary, a vacuum is needed.
With the recent rise in demand for more eco-friendly products, silicone molds have been more favored than plastics. Silicone products can mimic the benefits of plastic containers and products without the harmful chemicals that are typically ejected in these items. This makes silicone molds the best possible choice. Because of this, silicone products have become even more popular all over the market. It pays to learn more about what goes on behind the products that you purchase, and all the basics about silicone molds.Wake up Right! Subscribe to our Morning Briefing and get the news delivered to your inbox before breakfast!