There are three primary methods to fabric silicone rubber products; molding, extrusion and calendering. Calendering plays a pivotal role in creating high-quality silicone products for gaskets, seals, o-rings and a variety of other products with various geometries and configurations. This manufacturing process involves passing raw silicone through a series of rollers under high pressure with a specific gap to establish the thickness of the sheet. The result is a silicone sheet with uniform thickness and smooth surface finish, suitable for various applications.
This blog will delve into the intricacies of calendered silicone, from its production process to its many applications.
The Process of Calendering Silicone
The process begins with raw silicone polymer, typically in the form of a gum or compound where additional ingredients are added to the material to meet key specifications . The silicone is performed for loading into the calendar.
Next, the silicone is fed into a calendering machine, where it passes through multiple rollers to control the thickness and surface characteristics of the silicone. Once the calendering process is complete, the silicone sheet may undergo a curing and post cure process or be supplied to fabricators in an uncured format. Cured silicone sheet may receive further treatment such as Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Application and slitting or cutting into specific dimensions based on customer requirements.
Quality control measures are implemented throughout the calendering process to monitor thickness, surface finish, and other relevant parameters. This ensures that the resulting silicone sheets meet the required specifications and quality standards. The silicone sheets are then packaged and prepared for distribution.
Benefits of Calendered Silicone
Here are some of the advantages of this silicone material:
- Flexible: Calendered silicone can bend, stretch, and adapt to various shapes without losing its integrity.
- Temperature-resilient: This silicone material maintains its properties across a wide temperature range from extreme cold to high heat making it suitable for diverse environments.
- Chemical-resistant: Calendered silicone exhibits resistance to various chemicals, oils, and solvents. This is why it is often used in applications where exposure to these substances is common.
- Weatherproof: Resisting weathering and UV radiation makes this silicone ideal for outdoor applications. It can endure exposure to sunlight and weather conditions without significant degradation.
- Biocompatible: This type of silicone is well-tolerated by the human body, making it suitable for various applications in the medical field.
- Customizable: Manufacturers can tailor calendered silicone sheets to meet specific requirements. This enhances its applicability in various industries and niche applications.
Versatile Uses of Calendered Silicone
Thanks to its unique properties and benefits, calendered silicone finds diverse applications across various industries:
- Automotive seals and gaskets: This type of silicone is ideal for seals and gaskets in vehicle components due to its resistance to heat and chemicals, or for thermal management in Electric Vehicles.
- Electrical insulation: Thanks to its excellent dielectric properties, calendered silicone insulates wires, cables, and electronic components.
- Flexible printed circuit boards (PCBs): This material can be used for flexible PCBs for electronic devices, allowing for versatile and bendable electronic components.
- Medical devices: Calendered silicone is utilized in medical equipment and devices for its biocompatibility, flexibility, and resistance to sterilization methods.
- Solar panel encapsulation: This silicone material is commonly applied in the encapsulation of solar panels to protect them from environmental factors and enhance their durability.
- Textile coating:Calendered silicone can be applied as a coating on textiles to make them resistant to water, heat, and chemicals.
- Weatherstripping: This material is typically used to manufacture weather stripping for doors and windows, providing insulation and protection against the elements.
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