Engineers at leading OEMs are constantly solving a Rubik’s cube of manufacturing challenges. One size adjustment or resin change can throw off an entire project. Which is why it’s valuable to have complete flexibility on compounds and resins. Silicone micro molding is one such important capability.
Silicone micro molding may be used in healthcare with micro med devices, automotive components, electronics, gaskets, valves, micro-optics, and in many markets.
Silicone rubber offers versatility and the ability to accommodate a wide range of performance specifications in micro molding. Flexibility over wide temperature ranges, a wide range of durometers, and stable compounds are among the reasons for silicone’s increase in popularity. Working with silicone however, isn’t as straightforward as swapping out a press.
Challenges of Silicone Micro Molding
The challenges of working with silicone require experience and technique. The handling of LSR parts has challenges due to its static and tacky nature, and those challenges are manageable in injection molding, but micro molding with silicone makes those challenges more difficult.
Micro molded parts are very small in size, and with that micro size, especially in silicone micro molding projects, come new fascinating challenges. Specifically, inspection and measurements of micro dimensional features can pose a challenge. To account for this, repeatable and robust inline AVI systems are a critical piece of the molding process to ensure conformance.
At Accumold, we developed our own LSR machine and processing unit rather than an off the shelf LSR molding press. By producing our own LSR machine and processing unit, it allows us the flexibility in creating complex molding cells for over-molding as well as inline AVI for inspection of micro-features.