Manufacturing Products? – 10 Tips You Need to Know About Rubber, Part 1

By Claudius Jaeger, president, ARTEMIS Rubber Technology Inc.

By Claudius Jaeger, president of rubber manufacturing company ARTEMIS Rubber Technology Inc.

If your business manufactures products – of any kind – chances are rubber is part of your component mix. Rubber is one of the mostly widely used components in manufacturing products, whether high volume consumer products or specialty B2B. Here are some tips you absolutely need to know before hiring a company to make rubber products or components.

1) Natural Rubber or Synthetic? One of the first decisions is natural rubber or synthetic. Natural rubber is tapped from trees, commonly in Southeast Asia. Synthetic rubber, in contrast, is derived primarily from petroleum distillates. Types of synthetic rubber include Butyl, EPDM, Neoprene, Nitril, Silicone, SBR, more. Be sure to hire a manufacturer who can help you select the ideal rubber type for your needss.

2) Look and Feel – Another factor to consider is look and feel. Do you want colors? Designs? What about the feel of the rubber – hard or soft? These factors must considered in advance, as they’re interrelated and in part dictate the rubber type you should use. For example, some materials are more color stable than others.

3) Durability? – What kind of durability will your product demand? For example, there’s a world of difference between pencil erasers and airplane tires, both commonly made from rubber. Be sure to choose manufacturer that can advise you on the ideal material for your performance needs, and that can provide rubber testing capabilities.

4) Special Material Requirements – Be aware of any specifications your product will need to meet to be approved for the market. These can include FDA, UL, NSF and others. Also note that certain challenging applications might require new ASTM specifications. Choose a manufacturer with engineering and testing expertise, to help get the product you need.

5) High Volume or Custom Made? – This question depends on a variety of factors, from the number of units to produce, to the complexity and importance of the product. If you’re producing mass-production consumer products, high volume injection-molding is what you need. If you’re doing low-volume or mission-critical, customer molding is likely the better choice.