A host of challenges are associated with rubber profile manufacturing, which put financial challenges on process managers and extrusion plants. The vast majority of the world’s rubber consumption is accounted for by the automotive industry. Roughly 70% of rubber production goes into making tires alone. But a significant fraction of that consumption is accounted for by the seals used around doors and windows.
Extremely high volumes of extruded rubber seals are outputted for auto-engineering every single year, usually through sequential continuous processes. There is a need for components to withstand the intensive nature of production plus the aggressive chemistry of rubber substrates mixed with any number of chemical additives.
Using Release Layers in Rubber Processing
In a typical rubber seal workflow, unvulcanized rubber is extruded through a die at high pressure onto a continuously moving conveyor belt that feeds the profile through a series of microwave tunnels. Heat induces chemical cross-linking and curing before the final part is cut to size.
One issue with this process of generating high-quality rubber substrates is that heated rubber has a tendency to stick to the belt, leaving behind a residue that simultaneously compromises the quality of the part and impacts the lifespan of the belt. An easy solution to this is to implement release layers within the surface of the conveyor belt. These non-stick PTFE release solutions provide high dimensional stability through both heating and cooling zones, with exceptional resilience to aggressive chemicals. This promotes a higher quality surface finish and extends the time between mandatory downtime for clean-up of process residue.
A trusted client of ours switched to one of our smoothest release liners, the VERSIV™ CL10 solution which is known for reducing imprinting thus a greater quality surface finish on all rubber profiles. They reported a 47% longer lifetime than standard products, which has contributed to much higher production yields and a significant reduction in maintenance requirements.