What Pressure Is Needed For Silicone Injection Moulding

Silicone injection molding company

Key Factors and Techniques

Since the inception of Liquid Silicone Rubbers (LSRs), silicone injection moulding machines have emerged as the favored means of transforming them into finely crafted components. A comprehensive comprehension of the prerequisites for yielding top-tier parts has progressively evolved. In this pursuit, three paramount factors come to the forefront: injection pressure, vulcanization temperature, and vulcanization time.

Injection Pressure

The spectrum of injection pressures employed in silicone injection moulding spans a range of approximately 200 to 1200 psi. This variability is contingent upon the specific demands of the process. However, the preponderance of applications gravitates toward pressures ranging from 300 to 700 psi. An intriguing facet of liquid silicone rubber lies in its slight compressibility, akin to moulding a spring. This compressibility hinges on the nature of the silicone fluid and the filler quantity within the LSR formulation.

Alterations in silicone moulding conditions, notably injection pressure, wield a discernible impact on the physical attributes of the finished LSR products. It’s pertinent to note that part shrinkage is an intrinsic phenomenon, intricately linked with injection pressure. In general, elevated injection pressures are correlated with diminished part shrinkage.


Vulcanization Temperature

The temperature within the mold cavity is a variable contingent on process requisites, and akin to other silicone injection moulding factors, it casts its influence upon the quality of the end product. The realm of vulcanization temperatures typically falls within 250°F to 375°F (approximately 121°C to 190°C). Nevertheless, these actual figures are molded by the design intricacies and dimensions of the part.

The liquid silicone rubber, prior to vulcanization, enters the cavity at ambient temperature. Subsequent to traversing the runner system, the material experiences elevation in temperature, albeit remaining below the cavity temperature. As the LSR fills the cavity and heats up, rapid expansion commences. To avert backrinding and promote successful vulcanization, clamp pressure must outmatch cavity pressure, especially in instances of large cross-section parts at higher vulcanization temperatures.


Vulcanization Time

Vulcanization time, the subsequent linchpin in this endeavor, merits considerable attention. Within the realm of fabrication, the specific process delineates the scope for adjusting vulcanization time. Standard operating conditions warrant sufficient vulcanization to facilitate smooth ejection from the mold sans deformation. However, instances may arise where the delicate equilibrium between the final dimensions and properties of the part necessitates postcuring. Unlike peroxide postcures that expel residual substances from rubber, the addition-curing technique employed for LSRs optimizes physical attributes such as tensile strength, elongation, and durometer.

The postcuring regimen’s duration and temperature are contingent on the precure attributes of the part and the targeted properties. Notably, the industry standard for curing temperature hovers around 175°C, while the curing time aligns with the quest for specific final attributes. Ensuring uniform heating within the curing oven becomes paramount to mitigate uneven curing, which might culminate in erratic part performance.

In the intricate realm of liquid silicone injection moulding, the triumvirate of injection pressure, vulcanization temperature, and vulcanization time reign supreme. Their orchestration demands finesse and expertise, underscoring the pivotal role they play in steering the trajectory toward impeccable LSR components.


Achieving Optimal Silicone Injection Moulding Pressure

1. Process Optimization

Conduct thorough process optimization experiments to determine the ideal combination of injection speed, pressure, and temperature for your specific silicone material and part design. This will help you identify the optimal pressure range for consistent and high-quality results.

2. Gate Design

Carefully design the gate and runner system to facilitate proper material flow into the mold cavity. A well-designed gating system can help distribute the pressure evenly and reduce the risk of flow-related defects.

3. Pressure Monitoring

Utilize pressure sensors and monitoring equipment to closely observe the injection process in real-time. This allows you to make adjustments and maintain the desired pressure levels throughout the molding cycle.

4. Material Selection

Choose silicone materials with appropriate viscosities for your specific application. Materials with lower viscosities may require lower pressures, while higher-viscosity materials might need higher pressures to achieve optimal flow.

5. Balanced Filling

Ensure that the mold cavities are being filled uniformly to prevent variations in part dimensions and cosmetic defects. Adjusting pressure settings can help achieve balanced filling.

In summary, silicone injection moulding pressure stands as a critical parameter profoundly influencing the quality and performance of molded silicone products. This pivotal aspect is intricately shaped by factors including material viscosity, part geometry, mold design, injection speed, and material temperature. Achieving optimal injection moulding pressure requires a combination of process optimization, proper gate design, pressure monitoring, and careful material selection. By understanding and controlling these factors, manufacturers can produce high-quality silicone parts that meet the desired specifications and performance criteria.