February 23, 2016 Volume 12 Issue 08

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Engineer's Toolbox:
Silicone molding gets multi-shot, multi-material advance

Silcotech and Dow Corning have teamed up to create an exciting new capability for liquid silicone rubber (LSR) processing: producing single parts that feature multiple materials that can vary in durometer, texture, and color. Multi-material capabilities have vastly expanded final-part options for 3D printing, and this new development points the way for a similar thing to happen in the silicone design world.

Through a close collaboration between the two companies, Silcotech developed a new multi-shot processing system capable of simultaneously molding nine discrete substrates or shapes that exhibit a broad range of durometers, textures, and colors utilizing the Dow Corning QP1 Silicone Elastomer product family (click link for Dow materials specs PDF).

The new process and resulting parts are should be a boon for the medical industry as a first-adopter, but other markets could quickly see the final-finish and cost advantages of the new process.

"Our portfolio of QP1 LSRs gave Silcotech a solid materials foundation on which to build its new processing technology to meet this competitive demand. Our close collaboration has delivered results for high-output molding of intricate medical device designs," said Roger Hendrick, application engineer, Dow Corning Healthcare.

Silcotech's multi-shot silicone system simultaneously molds up to nine discrete shapes, while maintaining costs comparable to a single-shot system. It is uniquely capable of leveraging the full range of durometers offered across Dow Corning's versatile QP1 product family within a single application. Dow Corning QP1 elastomers help Silcotech's technology further contain processing costs due to their fast cure and easy processing.

Both companies first featured the cutting-edge capabilities of their collaborative breakthrough at MD&M West last year.

"Radically new processing technologies don't come along every day, but our new process changes the paradigm by allowing medical device manufacturers to design with an entirely new template that adds a whole new dimension of options," said Michael Maloney, president of Silcotech. "Our customers can now cost-effectively produce finished, highly differentiated components in a single process that integrates materials with different durometers, chemical functional groups, surface textures, colors, and other properties. The potential combinations for designers are virtually endless."

Source: Dow Corning

Published February 2016

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Silicone molding gets multi-shot, multi-material advance]

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