What Are Custom Rubber Formulation Services?
Custom rubber formulation generally refers to any project with the goal of developing a highly customized or one-of-a-kind compound formulation. However, this field is incredibly broad. There are many reasons why a company may choose to invest in custom rubber formulation services, ranging from simple cost savings, to complex reverse engineering projects, to meeting stringent material specifications.
Many companies have a specific goal in mind when investing in custom compounding, such as improving upon a certain key performance property to keep up with their competition or evaluating alternative material sources to keep up with supply chain challenges. Companies also may be looking to build a new compound entirely from scratch, based on specific performance goals or requirements.
Other companies may be seeking more control over their existing compounds. For example, many businesses use compounds that are manufactured in other countries and are looking to bring that process back to domestic soil to gain greater control over production. However, they may not know the exact recipe of the compound they’ve been using for so many years. An experienced lab can use reverse engineering and benchmarking techniques to recreate the formula, so that companies can begin manufacturing it themselves—with more control over grades, materials, and other elements. Every custom mixing project is bound to be unique, but every successful project requires a strategic and curious approach.
Custom Formulation Process
Discover Client Goals
The first step of the custom formulation process is a conversation. This is our chance to learn more about what you’re hoping to achieve and talk about:
- The product’s application and end use and your requirements for the product.
- Cost savings goals, if applicable.
- How the product will be manufactured.
- Any roadblocks or pain points we can help you address.
This initial conversation is critical to the eventual success of the project. Understanding as much as possible from the beginning saves time and money by eliminating needless steps and maintaining focus on what matters most.
After we’ve gathered enough research to proceed, the material selection process begins. This starts with choosing the most appropriate polymer—or polymers—for the application, followed by fillers, oils, cure systems, process aids, and antidegradants, as necessary. Each element is chosen based on the client’s goals, the manufacturing environment, and the product’s end use. Generally, we’ll start with a control batch and iterate off that. The number of iterations required to achieve the final result differs for every project, but each stage is subjected to comprehensive testing to benchmark progress toward the final goal.
Every test batch is subjected to a series of physical and analytical tests to determine whether that particular formulation meets the requirements outlined in the initial conversation. This stage may also include processability testing, such as Mooney viscometer and extrusion or mold flow analysis, to determine whether the batch can handle the intended manufacturing environment.
Chemical and Rubber Experts at ACE Labs
ACE Laboratories is fully equipped to execute every step of the custom rubber formulation process on site. Our in-house physical, analytical, and processing testing teams work closely with our compounding experts to ensure seamless and efficient progress from one step to another, making the entire process smoother for our clients. With their diverse experience and backgrounds, our experts have a combined body of knowledge that spans many industries and applications. By entrusting your custom formulation project to ACE, you can leverage those many years of cross-disciplinary expertise without having to hire a single employee. To learn more about our custom compound development services or discuss a project, talk to a member of our team.