When designing any rubber product or component, it is important to consider the material features and follow core rubber product design guidelines.
It is also important that the product is designed with the manufacturing process in mind, to ensure that the end result is simple and cost effective to produce.
Here’s our guide to rubber product design.
Rubber product design guidelines
When designing a rubber product or component, try to follow these general guidelines to make the process as straightforward, accurate, and cost effective as possible.
Keep geometry simple
The simpler the product or component is from a geometry perspective, the more cost effective and tolerant it will be.
Wherever possible, try to:
Keep the design symmetrical
Avoid deep undercuts
Avoid sharp corners
Keep essential features within the same mould.
Consider the finished surface
How do you want the product to look? Remember that certain marks will appear as part of the manufacturing process, including:
Draft lines from where the mould plates meet
Sprue marks from where the injector sprue meets the mould cavity
Ejector pin marks from where the ejector pins make contact with the rubber.
If you don’t want these marks to be visible on a particular surface or areas of the product, speak to your manufacturer to discuss how you will need to adapt the design.
Keep wall thickness uniform
Keeping the wall thickness uniform will help to prevent uneven cooling during the moulding process, which can cause the product to shrink or sip in certain areas.
Consider draft angles
It can be difficult to release very soft rubbers from their moulds without causing any damage. If the rubber being used is soft, you may need to incorporate draft angles into the design in order to safely release the product from the mould.
Things to keep in mind designing a rubber product
When designing your rubber product or component, there are a number of design features that you should keep in mind, including:
All rubbers will undergo a certain amount of shrinkage during the manufacturing process. Not only this, but rubber is flexible and contracts and expands during usage. This can make it difficult to measure final dimensional tolerances. Speaking to the manufacturer’s technical team early in the design process will ensure that you can achieve the right tolerance for your product or component.
All rubber materials have their pros and cons. Choosing the best material for your design will depend on the application. Always check with the manufacturer to ensure that the material is chemically compatible with the intended application of the product or part.
The shore hardness of rubbers is an essential design feature as it determines the material’s resistance. Shore hardness is measured using a durometer gauge, using a spring-loaded steel rod to compress the surface of the material before taking a reading.
The versatility and flexibility of rubber means it can sometimes be easy to forget that there are some limitations prescribed by the manufacturing process. Speaking to an expert from the start of the design process will help ensure you factor any limitations in.
Consult a rubber manufacturer
At Industrial Rubber, we manufacture high-quality rubber parts using top-class rubber moulding processes, ensuring accuracy and speed of delivery. We’re always pleased to be involved in the initial stages of product or component design.
Our skilled and experienced team of material technologists, production engineers, and manufacturing managers can provide support with:
Designing product shapes so that they are easier to manufacture
Choosing materials that will provide the best performance at the best price
Designing the product to achieve the lowest cost manufacturing process
Price analysis and tooling costs
Creating fully functioning prototypes
3D printing in rubber-like materials
Get in touch to find out how we can help improve your business manufacturing processes.