With the growth of the global economy, it can be appealing to decide to manufacture your silicone rubber components overseas. There are many important factors to consider, however, when deciding whether or not to have your product produced domestically. These factors include the quality of materials, intellectual property rights, shipping and turnaround times, and manufacturing and labor standards. The most important, for military applications is whether or not it is an ITAR-certified rubber molding manufacturing facility.
What Is ITAR?
ITAR stands for International Traffic in Arms Regulations; The Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) interprets and enforces ITAR. It is a set of U.S. government regulations to control the import and export of defense-related articles and services on the United States Munitions List (USML). Its main goal is to protect U.S. national security and further U.S. foreign policy objectives. One of the many ways it does this is by requiring all manufacturers and suppliers of military components to register with the DDTC. In addition to registration, companies are required to keep all records pertaining to ITAR-related components for future audits.
Foreign companies can be an attractive option with low labor costs, but they may come with high risks. It can be very hard to authenticate the quality of the raw materials used. Many overseas companies add fillers to reduce the amount of silicone in their molded silicone rubber products to increase profits. With little enforcement in place, your intellectual property rights are almost impossible to protect and enforce overseas.
When military parts are involved, the responsibility for counterfeiting most often lies within unauthorized U.S. suppliers, distributors and other mid-tier suppliers who fail to properly vet the origins of the products being produced. Purchasing products from domestic companies which are nothing more than a front for foreign companies so that they can imply their products are manufactured in the U.S. is the most common problem plaguing the market today. There have been many documented cases of foreign counterfeit components that have infiltrated the market and been used in sensitive military equipment.
Shipping is an important factor to consider when deciding where to manufacture. Shipping from factory to port, port fees, customs and shipping in the U.S. can dramatically reduce any cost savings achieved by going overseas. The distance can also hamper turnaround time and delay communications.
ITAR-Registered Domestic Manufacturers
To avoid these issues altogether, buying from a domestic, ITAR-registered manufacturer is the best option. SiTECH Is located in Newport News, Virginia, is an ITAR certified rubber molding manufacturer of custom molded silicone rubber components for many applications, including but not limited to, military applications. We only use Dow and GE silicones and offer a variety of value-added services to streamline your project. All silicone parts are produced and assembled in-house. If you have questions or concerns over how to make the production process run smoothly, we can help you with our experience in what works and what doesn’t.