When designing silicone rubber molding components to incorporate into a product, many factors need to be taken into account. The size, shape and functionality all need to be addressed. The color is another important factor to consider. The color chosen is also important in determining whether the silicone component blends in or stands out. For a clean look, blending in with surrounding parts might work best. If the silicone molding plays a key role or important function, then a contrasting bright color would help to distinguish it from the rest of the component.
Coloring silicone molding requires precision and expertise to properly produce high quality silicone rubber products with proper results. Silicone pigments are mixed into base colors using the same silicone polymers used to manufacture liquid silicone rubber. The base colors can be used to make a variety of colors to fit almost any need. The pigments can also be formulated to produce translucent silicone rubber products. Translucent parts work for many applications where a light behind the part is used to define or accentuate a specific function of the component.
The process of mixing different base colors together to achieve a custom color is a distinct and accurate process. All ingredients are weighed out and recorded to reach the tightest tolerances possible. When turning that custom color into a translucent color, specific formulas are then followed. Once the color has been made, it must be tested by mixing it with silicone rubber in exact quantities and cured. The material is then tested to ensure the proper amount of light passes through.
There are other factors that need to be taken into account when producing translucent silicone rubber products. Machines have to be set up to receive specific ratios of pigment to liquid silicone rubber. The pressure used on the pigment itself needs to be set to allow a defined amount at a certain pressure. The mold design and dimensions play a critical role specifically in the area that is to be translucent. The mixing speed, injection pressure and temperature of the mold are all factors that must be adjusted and regulated for successful production.
Translucent colors can also be made into a coating to be sprayed onto silicone rubber molding. An example of this would be a silicone part that is molded clear, and coated with a translucent spray. The part is then printed on, allowing the printed design to be backlit. Another option is once the translucent color is sprayed on an additional color can be added and a design can be laser etched out of the final color to create a custom backlit design.
At SiTECH, we use the highest quality silicone pigment base colors to create custom silicone colors. Since they are silicone-based products, they don’t affect viscosity, cure time or shrinkage of the part being produced. We offer color matching with a guarantee to match and produce components to be within 1 Delta of the desired color, and maintain that accuracy for the life of the product. A Delta measurement is unnoticeable by the human eye and is the reason for use of a colorimeter for all exact readings. You can trust the experience SiTECH has to offer with all of your silicone molding and custom color needs.