Silicone is a unique and in-demand material with an impressive array of desirable properties. Silicone is durable, non-reactive, and water resistant. It remains stable at extreme temperatures and in aggressive environments. For these and other reasons, silicone is a popular material choice for a wide range of industries and applications, from automotive components to cookware.
But designing and manufacturing a high-quality silicone product can be a complicated process. Many companies don’t have the full scope of in-house expertise they need to ensure a successful, on-time launch and rely on support from a silicone rubber consultant for support.
ACE Laboratories is proud to offer silicone consulting services for companies looking for expert guidance as they design, manufacture, and launch silicone products. From silicone compound formulation to pre-launch validation testing, our experts can help you deliver excellent products to your clients.
Silicone Product Design
Successful silicone product design is about more than just the product’s intended use or final ultimate service environment. A wide range of other factors must be taken into account, such as the manufacturing process and the complexity of the final product. And because every material behaves a little differently throughout the manufacturing process, the unique material properties of silicone must be considered when designing both the product and the manufacturing methodology.
At ACE Laboratories, we prioritize hiring silicone experts with hands-on manufacturing experience. Our consultants have real-world expertise and understand the challenges and opportunities of working with silicone. You can count on us to consider the big picture—and your unique goals—when advising your silicone design and manufacturing project.
Silicone Compound Development
Many silicone products are not 100% silicone. In fact, a majority of polymer-based products are actually made from polymer compounds that contain a variety of other elements, such as fillers, additives, cure systems, and other ingredients. These additional elements may be necessary to improve processing, achieve a certain performance goal, or change the appearance of the material. Each ingredient added to a compound formulation will have an impact on the base polymer as well as the other ingredients, so a deep understanding of compound development and material interactions is vital to ensure a successful outcome.
The team at ACE Laboratories understands the complexities and nuances of compound development. We can help you understand the options and trade-offs to consider when formulating an optimized compound so you can achieve the end result you want. We also offer small-batch mixing services so you can test and iterate on a few different formulations before committing to one at production scale.
Silicone Failure Analysis
Sometimes, a product fails to meet expectations or doesn’t perform as expected in the field. The first step toward a solution is investigating and pinpointing the cause of failure so a solution can be found. An experienced silicone consultant can conduct an investigative analysis of the product or material to determine exactly what happened and why.
The ACE team has years of experience investigating product and material failures. We understand the art and science of failure analysis, so you can count on us to uncover every minor detail of the issue and deliver a comprehensive report of our findings.
Comprehensive laboratory testing is a powerful tool for assessing the performance of silicone products. A well-designed laboratory testing program can predict how a silicone product will respond to its service environment and quantify various performance attributes of the material. Testing can also be utilized to pinpoint the cause of unexpected product failures and validate potential solutions.
ACE Laboratories is committed to investing in state-of-the-art testing technology and instrumentation that meets our clients’ needs. Our silicone rubber consulting team has full access to our laboratories, so we can back up our consulting guidance with excellent testing data. Silicone testing capabilities at our accredited laboratories include:
Chemical analysis for silicone
Chemical analysis refers to a wide range of testing services that assess materials on a chemical level. This may include basic characterization analyses, such as raw materials assay, impurity identification, or composition analyses. Chemical analyses may also be used to demonstrate compliance with quality standards set out by a variety of governing bodies.
Physical property testing for silicone
The purpose of physical property testing is to quantify the performance of silicone products or silicone rubber material samples. In most cases, physical property testing programs are designed based on the product’s intended environment and include test methods that mimic service conditions. For example, if a silicone product will be subjected to compression while in service, a sample will be subjected to compression testing in a laboratory to determine whether it can withstand those conditions.
Physical property testing may also include environmental conditioning, or controlled exposure to substances or weathering factors that may be present in the final service environment. This allows manufacturers to observe how a silicone product or material may react to environmental conditions and make necessary adjustments before product launch. The team at ACE Laboratories can replicate a wide range of conditions, such as Xenon arc, ozone, salt fog, and more, using our state-of-the-art environmental conditioning instrumentation. ACE can also set up controlled fluid exposure tests to measure how a silicone product will react to fuels, oils, and other substances in its service environment.
The silicone rubber experts at ACE Laboratories have a combined eighty years of hands-on experience working with silicone elastomers and silicone products. With backgrounds in processing and manufacturing as well as testing and consulting, our team members have an in-depth, real-world understanding of what silicone product manufacturers need. At any step throughout the design and manufacturing process, you can count on ACE Laboratories to help you make better, more confident decisions. And with the fastest turnaround times in the business, ACE Laboratories delivers the data you need to get your timeline back on track when things don’t go according to plan.