Silicone injection molding machines are so useful that they find applications in many industries. From healthcare to children’s items and automotive, these machines are used to produce state-of-the-art products that the world arguably can’t do without.
However, owing to the endless list in the market, the big question is, “How to choose a silicone machine to use in your industry.” Buying the wrong one would mean a waste of time and resources. So, in this article, we’ll guide you through all you need to know when choosing a suitable silicone machine for your needs. Read on!
What Is a Silicone Machine?
A silicone machine is simply a machine that heats up silicone, transforming into any shape you want. Also known as a silicon injection molding machine, this piece of innovation is what gives birth to all forms of silicone items we use in our homes and other industries.
Depending on the type of machine, the mode of operation involves feeding the machine with solid or liquid silicone, allowing it to go through a series of processes until the eventual product you need is formed. Common items made with silicone machines include earbuds, toys, and silicone baby bibs.
Top 16 Features and Factors to Consider When Choosing a Silicone Machine
For anyone searching for “how to choose a silicone machine in the world,” you need to know the nitty-gritties of these machines. Features determine what powers a product or machinery, which is an important consideration when purchasing a new product, and it is no different for a silicone machine. Hence, there are various features that you should consider when choosing a silicone machine, and some of these factors include:
1. The Type of Silicone Machine
The first factor to consider when choosing a silicone injection machine is the machine type because the design and engineering determine the machine’s functionality and performance. A good silicone injection molding machine will operate smoothly, efficiently, and reliably, leading to consistent product quality and minimizing downtime.
In addition, not all machines achieve the same level of precision, and some produce more units than others in the same period. So, considering the type of machine is essential because it determines the volume of silicone products you can produce in a given timeframe and the smoothness you will achieve on product edges.
2. Check Silicone Machine’s Capacity
A silicone injection machine’s capacity is the highest product output it can produce in a certain period. This factor is crucial because it determines whether your chosen machine can meet your production demands without breaking down.
Your machine’s capacity should not go below your market needs. Otherwise, you will run at a loss. Imagine if the market demand for your product is 15,000 pieces, but your machine’s capacity is only 100 pieces per week; that’ll be a massive loss to your company.
On the other hand, you’ll have excess supply if your machine’s capacity is way higher than demand. It’s wise to start with a reasonable capacity range and improve as your business grows over time.
3. Material-Machine Compatibility
We often focus on purchasing high-quality, sophisticated machines without considering other factors. One thing we often neglect is the material we will put in the machine for production. Each molding machine has a specific material fit for it.
Army attempts to use inappropriate and low-quality materials would result in multiple errors. There’ll be so many irregularities with the final product, not to mention the mechanical malfunctions it can cause to the machine.
The most common silicon materials among manufacturers are the Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) and the High Consistency Rubber (HCR). The HCR is widely used in the medical industry, while the LSR is more versatile and fit for electronic, electronic, industrial, and medical productions.
Properties like their low toxicity, durability, high tensile strength, and wide temperature range always make them a top choice. Irrespective of the type of material you choose, you need proper information on its properties.
4. The Machine’s Power Consumption
Although each machine’s energy consumption rate differs, silicone molding machines are well-known for low power consumption. Choosing a silicone injection molding machine can help you reduce production time, increase output, and save daily operational costs, especially utility bills.
Also, a low-energy consumption silicone injection molding machine can help you run a more sustainable or environmentally friendly silicone products manufacturing facility. This is possible because such machines reduce the release and spread of toxic substances like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
5. Programmable Logic Controller and Human-machine Interface Control
To make your silicone product manufacturing products easier and faster, you’ll need silicone injection molding machines that use high automation functions. Features like the programmable logic controller (PLC) and Human-machine Interface (HMI) functional control systems ensure that you can input actions and return to roles that need more human input or simply sit back and let the machine work.
The PLC allows superb motion control by configuring the machine interface and creating multiple systems to control acceleration, deceleration, and machine speed with a simple button push. The HMI software links your machine control system with an input device. Combining these two features will automate your production process and reduce the wear and tear that comes with operating a manual silicone molding machine.
6. The Type of Hydraulic System
One indication of a good molding machine is an electronic, hydraulic system that allows you to navigate the machine and control the entire molding process with simple steps. It also offers you different operating modes to choose from.
One of such option is the servo motor, which rotates the silicon during molding and helps reduce production costs in the long run. With these options, you can easily configure the machine to suit your preference at any given time. You can either go full-throttle for maximum effect or go easy to conserve energy.
So, before you settle on a molding machine, ensure you know the type of hydraulic system that drives it. Also, it’s easy to spot the hydraulic system; it is usually at the machine’s base.
7. Test the Silicone Mold Compatibility
Each molding machine is unique, with its distinct features, specifications, and designs. However, one thing remains constant: its efficiency in bulk production. Unfortunately, using an incompatible mold can thwart this feature.
One thing you must constantly check is the machine and mold compatibility. When there is perfect alignment, you’ll have a smooth production process instead of the many hitches accompanied by a misaligned mold.
8. High-Precision Silicone Machining
While most of the features of a silicone injection machine point toward precision, some of these machinery are specially equipped with high-precision silicone machining capabilities. But why is precision important in the production of silicone products? It is necessary because it ensures that companies produce consistent silicone product quality.
This helps them avoid throwing away incorrectly designed silicone products or parts, which can waste resources and time. In addition, inaccurate production ruins the entire effort and can make you buy more raw materials that will be used to replace the ruined silicone products.
9. Plunger Feeding System
Moving on, you should also check if the silicone injection molding machine has a plunder feeding system, especially if you’re mixing different materials in a mold. The system allows for precise control over the ratios of substances used during the manufacturing process. The plunder feeding system determines this by ensuring that the right amounts of materials are always mixed perfectly.
10. Touch Screen Operation System
Silicone injection molding machines incorporating touchscreen technologies enable manufacturers to operate better and faster than those that don’t. These systems have a simple user interface, making them easily accessible. They are also highly durable, increase control and precision, and reduce staff costs. Also, most silicone machines with touchscreen features store previous mold settings, so there is no need to make new inputs often.
11. Maintenance Requirements
How can you maintain your silicone injection molding machine if you don’t know the maintenance requirements? You guessed right; it is impossible. To optimize the durability and lifespan of your silicone molding machine, you must first determine the best practices for storing it and keeping the machine clean.
For starters, Cleaning the injector once every 6 months and removing unused liquid mold after a production round before starting another is recommended. Other maintenance requirements will depend on the specific silicone machine you are buying, so do not hesitate to ask your supplier for guidance.
12. Safety Features
Industrial settings and tasks involving heavy machinery require safety features to ensure the well-being and comfort of you and your employees. This is why you need to know silicone machines’ risks and safety measures to equip yourself with support systems like protective guards and ventilation systems.
Investing in a silicone machine with robust safety features can lead to cost savings in the long run. While such machines may have a higher initial purchase price, the prevention of accidents and downtime, as well as reduced insurance premiums and maintenance costs, can result in financial benefits over time.
Apart from the cost factor, you also consider the life of those who will use the finished product. For instance, if you’re searching for how to choose a silicone machine for dental services, you should consider one that will produce well-defined dental products that won’t cause harm to the eventual users.
13. Cost and Budget
Cost and budget are necessary considerations for any silicone machine purchase. This is because the market price of the silicone molding machine you are interested in getting may be above or below your budget, or certain manufacturers may offer better offers than others. Whichever one it is, determining the amount you’re willing to spend on your choice machine is not a bargain.
To get the cost and budget consideration right, it is advisable to compare costs, offers, and discounts from various silicone injection molding machine manufacturers to determine who has the best deal that you’re comfortable with. But remember that factors like programmable logic controllers, HMI, electronically controlled hydraulic systems, or other additional features can increase your chances of spending more on silicone machines.
14. Technical Support and Training
Most manufacturers, especially Legendary, operate a customer-first business, and they ensure that their clients have the best knowledge of whatever silicone injection molding machine they’re getting. If you’re a silicone product manufacturing veteran, you might not need support or training.
However, suppose your skills are a bit rusty, or you’re completely new to the industry. In that case, it is important to liaise and only buy from silicone molding machine manufacturers willing to offer after-purchase support and training to help your business get off the ground. This is important so you don’t spend money on other professionals for additional or separate support or training programs.
15. Silicone Injection Molding Machine Warranty
Warranties offer financial protection against any system damage that may occur within the set warranty period. Suppose you buy a silicone molding machine and encounter issues within the first few weeks or months of usage. Without a warranty, you’d have to cover the cost of repairs or even replacement.
However, if you have a warranty, the company will cover any malfunction due to the silicone molding machine’s original design or configuration. Some manufacturers offer a three-month warranty, while others offer up to six months. It all depends on your supplier, but at the end of the day, ensure you’re getting a few months to confirm the functionality and durability of the machinery.
16. Post Manufacturing and Finishes
Post manufacturing processes enhance the physical properties of products usually by adding a shine to improve the aesthetic appeal of the particular silicone mold you are producing. In certain cases, these finishes also improve the mechanical properties of the material and their resistance to moisture, heat, pressures, and certain weather conditions. So, when using silicone injection molding machines, it is important to confirm what finishing or post-manufacturing process it supports.
Types of Silicone Machines
As you search for how to choose a silicone machine for cleaning, automobile, healthcare or any other industry, you need to know that these machines are fabricated differently to suit their application. Silicone injection molding machines are distinguished by configuration due to their design, configuration, and the kinds of molds they make. Having said that, there are two common types of silicone molding machines and they include:
1. Horizontal Liquid Silicone Injection Molding Machine
As the name implies, the horizontal liquid silicone injection molding machine has a horizontal configuration where the mold and injection unit are oriented in the same way. This machine is ideal for LSR injection molding because it can create intricate and detailed parts with exceptional precision.
Due to its design, this molding machine produces horizontally inclined products like baby bottles, mugs, silicone tubes, menstrual cups, buckets, etc. They have a remote automatic manufacturing technique that reduces the mold opening and closing time to a bare minimum.
2. Vertical Liquid Silicone Injection Molding Machine
Unlike the horizontal molding machine, the vertical liquid silicone molding machine allows for the production of vertically inclined objects. It has a multi section mold opening that allows for easy injection, opening, closing, and control. .
Unlike horizontal liquid silicone injection molding machines, silicone machines are used to manufacture products like silicone sheets, straws, medical masks, catheters, spatulas, medial parts, and other objects that mostly need inserting. They also have a high-performance servo motor system, ensuring precision and energy efficiency.
Five Common Silicone Machines Based on Specific Applications
If you were wondering why the machine type discussed earlier is relevant, it is because there are tons of silicone injection molding machines available on the market, but not all are ideal for your setting. Some pieces of machinery that increase productivity and ensure that you get the best value for your money include:
1. Fully Automatic Silicone PU MS Sealant Filling Machine for Sausage Packing
The fully automatic silicone PU MS sealant filling machine for sausage packing is a horizontal silicone machine built for packaging various silicone products, including sausage. It is an advanced machinery that comes with PLC, pneumatic, and photoelectric monitoring, and these features ensure that your machine operates efficiently with minimal human effort.
In addition, it is easy to move and powers 380V/50HZ &220V, but it usually has one function, so it might not be ideal for facilities producing various silicone materials. Nevertheless, you can enjoy full automation because it can automatically pull sausage films with adjustable tension and clip and cut products with minimal human effort.
Besides that, the fully automatic silicone PU MS sealant filling machine for sausage packing can adjust the filling capacity, and you get to decide on manual and automatic operation.
2. Jumbo Silicone and Paper Roll Slitter Rewinder Machine
The jumbo paper roll slitter rewinder machine is used to slit silicone paper, sticker paper, and coated paper. It can maintain accurate measurements and control during silicone molding thanks to its pneumatic control system. Its hydraulic system gives the material a perfect finish and roll after production.
3. Silicone High-Temperature Horizontal Agitated Media Mill
This machine is used to produce wet materials, including silicone, paints, and pigments. The high-temperature horizontal media mill is universal and features an enclosed and agitated media mill for circuit and single-pass mode. In addition, the machinery has a modular servo rotor and mill housing design to ensure wear protection.
Additionally, the silicone high-temperature horizontal agitated media mill is ideal for mass production and can be moved easily. So, when it comes to maintenance, the elements of the equipment are easy to separate without emptying the mill, giving you access to cleaning and routine maintenance.
4. Automatic Aluminum Foil/Silicone Paper Rewinding Machine
This silicone machine is one of the fastest and most automated slitting and rewinding machines used for manufacturing silicone products. It has a PLC control function, three servo motors, and an edge correction system. This automatic aluminum foil/silicone rewinding machine feature assures accurate filling weights and consistent slitting in all material batches.
These slitting and rewinding machines have a consistent running speed of minutes and can do up to 800 grams of the film within that time range. The automatic aluminum foil/silicone paper rewinding machine is expensive as prices start at $40,000. However, this is usually a one-time investment as they do not need frequent maintenance or machine parts replacement.
5. High Technical Microwave Silicone Rubber Extruder Machine with Vulcanization Tunnel
The silicone rubber extruder machine is an energy-efficient silicone machine that reduces production time and cost and increases productivity. They are built with uniform vulcanization funnels and high curing speed to improve silicone product quality. Generally, these machines are used for various kinds of rubbers.
So, if you’re not only working with silicone rubber, you save money by buying an all-in-one rubber extruder machine rather than purchasing one for each material. Additionally, while some high-temperature microwave silicone machines are huge, this equipment is compact and occupies a small space, making it ideal for settings where workspace is important.
8 Applications of Silicone Injection Molding Machines in Various Industries
Silicone injection molding machines are versatile and find application in various industries. From the production of agricultural components to electronics, industrial applications, and medical products, the molding machine has you covered. The most common applications of the silicone injection machine in various industries include:
1. Silicone Injection Molding Machine in the Healthcare Industry
With materials like HCR and LSR, manufacturers can use the molding machine to produce medical equipment that is safe for use on humans. These products also undergo a medical-grade certification test to ensure they are fit for hospital use.
Some of the products in question include prosthetics, feeding tubes, silicon implants, ear plugs, hearing aids, drainage tubes, compression bars, etc. Undoubtedly, the molding machine produces durable equipment that can withstand wear and tear.
2. Silicone Injection Molding Machines in Automotive Industry
Due to constant use, the automotive industry needs tools and parts that are durable and able to withstand pressure. Thankfully, the silicone molding machine produces parts that can withstand harsh weather conditions and extreme temperatures while maintaining energy efficiency and optimum performance.
Today, there are many tools in the automotive industry thanks to the silicone injection molding machine. Such tools include connectors, spark plug boots, hoses, gaskets, wire and cables, and so many more, too numerous to mention. So one way to know how to choose a silicone machine to use for such products would be to first decide which one to use and then reach out to the manufacturers.
3. Silicone Molding Machines for Personal Care Products
If one thing is consistent with personal care products, it’s the fact that they are a combination of efficiency and aesthetics. Thanks to the silicone injection molding machine, manufacturers can now produce beautiful makeup brushes, hair brushes, and other beauty tools that are safe for the skin and durable.
Hygiene is paramount in personal care, and silicone products are not an exception. They are super easy to wash off and reuse at your convenience without diminishing their superb quality.
4. Silicone Injection Molding Machine in Electrical Industry
When it comes to producing flawless and high-quality electronic parts, the silicone injection molding machine is up to the task. Some of these products include seals, gaskets, and insulating components that ensure the protection and reliability of electronic devices. Besides that, these machines also manufacture excellent insulation properties to support cables, connectors, and insulator production.
5. Silicone Injection Molding Machine for Consumer Products and Electronics
Silicone is now used more frequently in manufacturing consumer goods, including electronics. The silicone injection molding machine creates items like baby bibs, purses, remote controls, and kitchen utensils.
Because they are simple to use, maintain, and clean, they have grown to be a popular option. In contrast to other materials, they are also plush to the touch and less prone to trigger an allergic reaction.
6. Silicone Injection Molding Machine for Food and Beverage Packaging
Packaging for food and beverages needs to be handled with extra sanitation and care to avoid contamination, deterioration, and spoilage. Producing these items in a toxic-free environment is not enough; effective storage and packaging are also necessary.
This is why many food and beverage production companies have resorted to silicon-based packages and seals for safety measures. Silicon products are fit to be incorporated into food processing and production as they are safe for use.
7. Silicone Injection Molding Machines in Industrial Areas
In industrial areas, only high-quality and durable materials are acceptable. Everything in an architectural structure, including pipes, tubes, and other components, must be able to tolerate pressure and particular situations.
The silicone molding equipment is robust and can run continuously for long periods of time while preserving mechanical effectiveness and product quality. Thus, they are also fit to use in industrial areas for production.
8. Silicone Injection Molding Machine for Marine Components
Manufacturers use silicone injection molding machines to produce waterproof and seawater-resistant marine components. One common application of silicone products in this sector is silicone hump bellow hose that provides the ultimate flexible straight connectors for marine wet exhaust systems due to their heat resistance.
Knowing how to choose a silicone machine in the market that suits your needs will help your team work faster with more accuracy while you save money on frequent maintenance costs. This article highlights features a silicone injection machine should have and factors to consider when purchasing one.
Nevertheless, if you need help selecting the best silicone injection machine, send an inquiry to Legendary today. They will help you decide on which, and if you also need silicone products, they are one of the few manufacturers that produce pure silicone products that are hypoallergenic.