Key Considerations in FDA Silicone Materials

Safety should always be the highest priority for food manufacturers. A single error in handling and packaging could result in a negative brand image and the consumers losing their trust in the brand. Over the years, different materials — like glass, metal, wood, plastic, rubber, and silicone — have been used to seal, store, hold, pack, and transport food items domestically and internationally. However, a particular material stands out above the rest.

FDA-approved silicone materials are widely used around the globe due to the numerous benefits they offer to their users. In addition, companies and food manufacturers often choose this type of silicone for their business operations because of its versatility and high-performing features.

FDA silicone materials are multifaceted and robust synthetic polymers. These products have low volatility, and no odor or taste, making them ideal for direct and repetitive food contact. Still, manufacturers must adhere to specific FDA standards for safety and handling to achieve the FDA food-grade label.

This article discusses why manufacturers should consider switching to FDA silicone materials for food packaging and sealing needs.

Benefits of FDA Silicone Materials

FDA-grade silicone materials are durable and adaptable, enabling manufacturers to utilize them in multiple applications. One of its best qualities is resistance to external elements like extreme heat and stressful environments. Because of this, it is widely used in producing gaskets and seals for food packaging. Below are the many other advantages of using FDA-approved silicone products.

Resistance to Extreme Temperature

Silicone is known for its heat endurance qualities. It can withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures, ranging from -80 °F to 550 °F, without yielding its durability and shape. Silicone developed its low thermal conductivity due to its highly stable chemical structure.

Resistance to Liquid and Chemicals

Silicone is not only heat resistant but also watertight. It also can resist food oils and most chemical types. Thus, food containers sealed using FDA silicone materials prevent leakage and food contamination.

Resistance to Environmental and External Elements

Because of their durability, FDA silicone materials can repel environmental and external elements like aging, ozonation, and weathering. This specific silicone feature helps foods sealed in silicone gaskets prolong their shelf life.

Free of Harmful Fillers

Some food containers and sealers contain toxic organic compounds like Bisphenol S and A (BPS, BPA) that could lead to increased blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and other hormonal and obesogenic effects. Fortunately, silicones are non-toxic materials safe for food sealing and packing purposes.

Prevents Unwanted Physical Changes

Due to its food-grade status, silicone materials are less vulnerable to discoloration, deformation, odor, and other unwanted changes that could result in food contamination, making them unsuitable for consumption. Subsequently, they have antifungal and nonstick properties that help prevent mold or fungal decay.

Flexibility

Silicone’s flexible nature allows manufacturers to transform and mold it into custom sealing profiles, extending its usability to a broader spectrum of food applications.

FDA Silicone Food Applications

FDA-grade silicone materials have extensive functions and can be applied to several food-related purposes:

  • Gaskets for food processing machinery
  • Food transfer tubing
  • Dairy tubing and fluid handling
  • Vending tubing
  • Brewery tubing and seals
  • Antimicrobial belting
  • Commercial oven seals
  • Coffee machine tubing
  • Food-grade beverage gaskets
  • O-rings
  • Vibration pads
  • Electrical insulators

Get Exceptional FDA Silicone Materials From ElastaPro

Food safety doesn’t stop with food processing. Manufacturers should also consider using food-grade materials to keep their products fresh and free from harmful substances.

ElastaPro offers durable FDA-approved silicone sheeting ideal for making trustworthy silicone rubber gaskets and seals for safe and secured food packaging. Our products come in two varieties — FDA Grade (Translucent) Silicone Solid Sheet and GDA Grade (Pigmented) Silicone Sheet — and are compliant with CFR 177.2600, a section of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) with components for rubber articles intended for replicated use in contact with food.

Do you need a reliable FDA silicone materials supplier for your business? Partner with us today! ElastaPro has been around in the industry for decades, making us one of the silicone sheeting, compounding, and technology experts.

Contact us and get your high-quality FDA silicone from us!

Where To Find High Temperature Silicone

Since silicone can endure up to approximately 300 °F, this material is the preferred rubber for applications requiring tolerance to extreme temperatures. Although commercial silicones are generally heat-resistant, there are silicone products that are specifically formulated to resist temperatures of 500-572 °F without sustaining deformation or other damages.

Silicone’s highly stable chemical structure makes it thermal resistant while offering a kaleidoscope of advantageous properties, including high flexibility, water resistance, electrical insulation properties, and compounds to resist mold and fungus growth. In this article, we will go over the different types of silicone rubber and the industries and applications where they are commonly used.

Types of Silicone Rubber

Silicone rubber’s flexibility is thanks to groups of organic molecules formed on a base of silicon and oxygen. It is available in various forms, each with distinctive attributes suitable for a range of applications.

Methyl Groups (MQ)

This group is known as dimethyl silicone rubber or methyl silicone rubber. Methyl groups can be substituted with other groups — including ethyl, phenyl, and vinyl — to enhance and modify their mechanical, chemical, and thermodynamic properties for different applications.

Methyl and Vinyl Groups (VMQ)

This group, known as methyl vinyl silicone rubber, is the most commonly used type. It features good compressive strength, which helps with the vulcanization industry. This type also has excellent low-temperature flexibility, high heat, and oxidative stability and is resistant to chemicals, corrosion, ozone, and sunlight.

Methyl and Phenyl Groups (PMQ)

This silicone rubber group, known as methyl-phenyl silicone rubber or phenyl silicone rubber, has an excellent low-temperature performance. The presence of phenyl enhances different properties, including high corrosion resistance, thermal stability, shear resistance, and optical conciseness. This group is used for connectors in the cable industry and sealing for automotive and aerospace applications.

Methyl, Phenyl, and Vinyl Groups (PVMQ)

The methyl groups in this compound are substituted with phenyl groups, which effectively enhances the material’s low operating temperatures. As a result, they are particularly suited to hygienic applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Fluoro, Vinyl, and Methyl Groups (FVMQ)

This group is also known as fluorinated rubber or fluorosilicone rubber. They are highly chemically resistant to fuel, oil, and solvent substances. They are also typically used in sealing applications in the aerospace industry that require resistance to hot fuels, oils, and diester-based lubricants.

Uses and Applications of High Temperature Silicone Rubber

Because high temperature silicone rubber is so robust and offers the best performance of any elastomer across the extreme temperatures, , it is used in many critical applications.. Here are some of its uses and applications:

Hot Stamping

Silicone rubber sheets are extensively used in consumer product decoration, particularly hot stamps, heat seals, or heat transfer. For example, sheets are used in hot stamp decoration for full coverage and tipping applications. An example of tipping is when the foil is used to raise lettering on credit cards. Meanwhile, standard silicone sheets enable contact for applying the full image on a heat transfer mark to a part in heat transfer decoration.

Electronic Equipment

Silicone rubber is used to manufacture electrical insulating tapes, adhesives, sealants, circuit board surface coatings, varnishes, lubricants, optical fiber coatings, and other silicon-grade and silicon-source chemicals. It is also used in making keyboards, telephones, hard-coating computer housings, and other electronic equipment.

Automotive Industry

Silicone rubber sheets — resistant to heat, oil, and fuel — are molded into various durable parts for the automotive industry. These include sealants and adhesives, specialty lubricants, vibration components, and automotive polishes.

Aerospace Equipment

Silicone rubber is applied in many aspects of aircraft assembly and maintenance. Mainly, it is used in manufacturing ablatives, window seals, boots, hoses, seals and gaskets, and adhesives.

Construction Industry

Silicone rubber is used in many applications in constrcution from sealing, to protecting. Due to silicone’s excellent ability to resit the elements its the premier material for construstion sealing.

Choose ElastaPro for Your Silicone Needs!

ElastaPro was founded by industry veterans with decades of knowledge and expertise in silicone sheeting, compounding, and technology. We are fueled by our desire and deep expertise in effectively utilizing exceptional and proprietary manufacturing techniques to meet our customers’ requirements.

Contact us today to learn more about our silicone products and services!

High-Temperature Solid Silicone Sheeting

July 2022 was the third-hottest July on record in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Here in Southern California where ElastaPro is located, inland regions have seen temperatures exceed 100°F this August.

Maybe it doesn’t get that hot in your backyard, but there are plenty of places indoors that do – and handling the heat isn’t just a summertime challenge. For example, the gaskets and seals on engines, pumps, compressors, and appliances all need high-temperature resistance.

Standard silicone elastomers are a great choice for temperatures up to 500°F, but what if you need solid sheeting for extreme heat? From automobiles to aerospace and aviation, there are plenty of applications for higher-temperature materials.

Extreme high-temperature grade silicone sheeting from ElastaPro uses high-quality heat stabilizers, including our own ESSHTA technology, which is rated up to 600°F/300°C. These Made in USA materials are great for die cutting and are available in:

  • 55 or 60 durometer
  • thicknesses from 0.10″ to .500″
  • widths up to 60″
  • various color and catalyst options

Download the datasheet to learn more, or contact us with questions.

Enjoy the rest of your summer – and stay cool in the heat.

Our Most Valuable Material Isn’t a Precious Metal

Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. From jewelry to electronics, these precious metals are rare and have great economic value. Silicon metal isn’t precious, and its ingredients are commonly found in Earth’s crust. Yet, silicon metal is incredibly valuable because it’s a major ingredient in silicone rubber, solar panels, electric vehicles, semiconductor chips, aluminum, defense technologies – and much more.

Today, China refines 70% of the world’s silicon metal. The United States refines only 5%. Although the U.S. government is recognizing the importance of increasing our refining capacity, it takes years to build silicon metal refineries – and the refining process requires a great deal of energy. Meanwhile, demand for silicon metal is expected to grow 50% over the next 5 to 10 years.  

Do we want to depend on China for our supply of silicon metal? For that matter, do we want to depend on overseas suppliers for PDMS, an important member of the silicone family? Most PDMS production has left North America for Asia, but demand for silicone keeps growing. That’s why members of the silicone industry, myself included, are asking the U.S. government to take bold action.

What can you do as a silicone buyer? Whenever possible, please choose products and materials that are Made in USA. Your buying decisions will help spur investments in domestic capacity, and you’ll get quality silicones with ingredients you can trust.

Healthcare Grade Solid Silicone Sheeting

Does your stock room feel more like an emergency room these days? Everywhere you look, the materials you need seem to be in short supply.

That’s why ElastaPro wants you to know we make healthcare-grade silicones that meet the following specifications.

  • USP Class VI
  • European Pharmacopeia
  • ISO 10993
  • FDA Title 21 CFR 177.2600.

Here are the vital signs for our healthcare-grade elastomers.

  • Easily die-cut into gaskets for a superior sealing solution
  • Available in 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 durometers (Shore A)
  • Thicknesses from .010″ to .500″ and Widths up to 60″
  • Acceptable for implant <29 days
  • No smell, no odor, no organic plasticizers
  • Phthalate and peroxide free
  • Safe for steam and gamma sterilization.

Plus, we only use domestically produced silicone for our healthcare-grade materials.

Would you like to learn more about what we can provide? Contact us.

Buy Silicones from ElastaPro: Short Lead Times, Low MOQs & Flexibility

Have you tried to buy silicones lately? These days it seems like everything is in short supply, including good news.

Some of what you need to buy isn’t available, and what you can get takes too long to arrive or ties up too much cash because of high minimum order quantities (MOQs). Meanwhile, the requirements you’re expected to meet keep getting stricter.

Fortunately, doing business with ElastaPro is about flexibility when you need to buy silicones. For stocked items, our lead times are typically as short as one to three days. For most made-to-order products, our lead times are two weeks. Plus, ElastaPro offers very low MOQs for all of our products.

Whether you need solid silicone sheets, uncured silicone compounds, or specifications-grade silicones, you’ll get high-quality materials backed by exceptional service and superior technology. The materials you need are proudly Made in the USA, too.

Buy Silicones from ElastaPro

At a time when supply chains are constricted, many suppliers seem rigid. That’s not the case with ElastaPro. Find out how how our flexibility can help you. 

Silicone Expo 2022: ElastaPro to Attend

ElastaPro is pleased to announce that we will attend Silicone Expo, the world’s first free-to-attend commercial tradeshow and conference for the silicone industry.
This in-person event is scheduled for June 21 to 23, 2022 at the TCF Center in Detroit, Michigan. As a member of the Silicone Expo Board of Advisors, I hope you can join us.

Whether you’re a material supplier, a converter or fabricator, or a manufacturer that buys silicone products, you’ll gain access to:

  • 180+ exhibitors
  • two conference tracks
  • 65+ speakers
  • over 3500 buyers

ElastaPro is thrilled to be a part of this event and can’t think of a better way to bring to bring together suppliers, specifiers, and fabricators for this all-encompassing event.
From thermal management and light weighting to electrification and healthcare, silicones are part of today’s technologies and part of the solution to tomorrow’s challenges.

See You at Silicone Expo?

It would be great to see you in-person at the show. You can book a booth here.

Silicone Supplies: Predicting What Tomorrow Will Be

The car is packed. The trip to the beach is planned. The forecast was for clearing skies, but there’s rain on the windshield and gray skies up ahead. Why can’t they just predict the weather more accurately?

Rainstorms and Supply Chains

When ElastaPro first reported about silicone shortages in our March 2021 newsletter, we’d hoped that silicone rubber supply would stabilize during Q3 2021. As with so many forecasts, however, our prediction missed the mark – and the rain continues.

By now, we’ve all heard reports about how major silicone suppliers have put customers on allocation or become super-selective about taking on new business. There’s news about rising prices and longer lead times, too.

With the way things are looking, this “storm” will probably last until early 2022. So, what’s the latest version of the big picture, and what can we learn from the revised forecast?

What’s Behind the Bad Weather?

For starters, it’s important to understand that the current crisis is global in nature – and rather different than the supply shortage of 2018. Back then, the key factor was a shortage in Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) – the basic building block of silicone products. This was a result of some of these PDMS plants being taken offline due to maintenance or environmental concerns (primarily affecting the Chinese producers of PDMS). What’s changed in 2021 is less of an issue with PDMS and more in terms of people and ancillary products to convert the PDMS into elastomers and other key silicone products we all use. The Major Producers continue to struggle with catching up on their backlogs due to staffing, logistics, or shortages of ancillary and supporting products.

Additionally, one of China’s largest basic suppliers of silicon metal and downstream silicone products is banned from selling into the U.S. and the EU. Even if you don’t buy directly from this company, you possibly use its intermediates in products that you purchase from other suppliers. Again, this is making things tough.

Weathering the Storm with You

ElastaPro continues to work aggressively to assure the continued supply of silicone elastomers and ancillary products to our customers. We’re also doing all we can to reduce the costs in our processes so that we can offset rapidly increasing prices for raw materials.

Although we’ve had to increase our prices, the percentage of these increases has been well below what we are seeing in our raw materials. Moreover, we continue to maintain a two-week lead time on most made-to-order products. We’re also continuing to stock key silicone sheet materials for quick one-day turnarounds.

Look to the Long-Term Forecast

Our commitment to service goes well beyond wanting to provide you, our customer and partner, with the best quality and value in silicone sheeting and silicone compounds. We are also ensuring that we are doing all that we can to maintain a viable supply chain with quick turnaround times to provide the very best service to you.

We’ll get through this together – and sooner than later, we hope. It might not seem like it now, but sometimes storm leave behind rainbows.

Thank you for your continued support.

Molded Silicone Sheets with Quick Deliveries

ElastaPro is ready to supply you with solid silicone sheeting even if you need just a few yards of material. Our molded silicone sheets are made from high-quality ingredients and free from the curving that’s associated with roll stock. We offer quick turnarounds, too.

Molded Silicone Sheets

Check out these specs and let us know what you need:

  • Standard sheet size: 36″ x 36″
  • Durometer: 30 to 80 (Shore A)
  • Thickness: .250″ to 1″
  • Formulation: VMQ, PVMQ, or FVMQ
  • Specification Grades: FDA, UL, medical, electrically conductive
  • Commercial Grades: Available
  • Colors: Red, black, gray, or blue

Made in USA Silicone Sheeting

In these uncertain times, ElastaPro has the capabilities and flexibility to provide what you need when you need it. All of our silicone products are Made in the USA by a team that’s committed to bringing you the greatest value and finest customer experience.

Silicone Supply

Everybody’s talking about silicone supply, but elastomers that don’t meet specifications aren’t the right way to meet demand. Don’t let them put your projects at risk.

ElastaPro tests the physical properties for each and every lot of all of our sheet materials. Our in-house testing laboratory can provide you with test results for specifications such as:

  • durometer
  • tensile strength
  • tear strength
  • percent elongation
  • fluid & heat aging and much more.

Recently, our in-house lab added a third Tensometer and a more sophisticated Shore A Durometer instrument for the most accurate results. ElastaPro also sends samples to third-party accredited laboratories to confirm the results of our own testing.

The benefits don’t end there. All of our silicones are Made in the USA. We also have a large selection of stocked items and can take you from lab batch to large-scale production.

Are you concerned about your silicone supply? Let us know what you need.

Contact us for more information, or to place an order. Follow us on LinkedIn, too.