When you get into chemicals it's not long before you have to find ways to contain these chemicals. It was these initial requirements that lead us to find Silicone's and synthetic rubbers and realised that it also worked well as one of our core products. The same principles that apply to our Epoxy Technology are the same principles as Synthetic rubbers. Changing the base chemical property to alter its chemical strengths and then post processing it to alter its mechanical strengths. From learning how to use it within our other technologies we moved on to using it in its own right to make products and parts.
Within other products
The initial application within our other products was to make silicone sealing bags for Carbon Fibre parts. Traditionally done by using a sealing sticky tape, than applying a plastic bagging to facilitate the air being extracted and even pressure applied between the part and the mould. We moved onto using a silicone bag as it A) self-seals and B) is reusable c) does not have folds. These factors make production cleaner, no longer do we throw away the plastic bags, and more importantly because it is shaped accurately it eliminates "folds" that occur in the plastic sheet type of bag causing marks in the finished part.
Making its own products
After initially using silicones for simple uses, we soon moved onto using it for moulds for our Epoxy Plastic business. It would be a further 12 months before we started using the Synthetic rubber compounds to actually produce parts in its own right. From parts such as rubber pipes, for cooling or Turbo charging air pipes, to making window sealing rubbers for planes. We also found good use with it holding several different size pipes within the central tunnel of a mid engined car. These days we add agents to it to increase the shore strength scale or to make silicone foams, even fireproof V0 parts.
Silicone is one of the most difficult substances to control its cross contamination. It is a product that will attach to your skin, or clothing, from the lightest brushing touch. Not dissimilar to the common cold in the way it can migrate via touch it is also an airborne contaminate too. With our Silicone bay just 10 feet away from our paint bay, the most susceptible to contamination from silicone, we have a workshop wide policy for all our technologies. This ensures that whatever production method we undertake for our customers you can be assured of its purity.
Production Products or Production Moulds
For products you need to understand the environment the part will be working in, what its purpose is and also what its required fit and form will be. We take a great amount of time to fully research the product structure and requirements, make several prototypes for real live testing and consider the production method for the quantity required.
Be it product or mould a detail understanding is required. We often add structures that are encapsulated within the Synthetic rubber ensuring stability and adding further mechanical properties to the part or mould.
When making moulds we first have to make a bounding box to hold it all in place whilst it is cast from its liquid state. Once the box is made consideration has to be given to how the mould will be split and the need for any substructures that will enable a consistent repetition of the moulds use. Next we have to insert the part to be made, complete with various filling and bleeding ports to allow the parts construction material in as well as the air out of the voids allowing us to make a parts without flaws.