Silicone rubber is an excellent option for a wide variety of components, seals and keypads. Silicone’s properties lend themselves well to a wide variety of shape and size options for custom molded rubber products. In addition, the ability to screen print on silicone helps to customize your product and helps it stand out on the market. When printing on silicone using silicone ink, a permanent crosslink is created for the life of your product.
Silicone ink is fully customizable, extremely durable, has many advantages over standard ink and comes in a variety of colors which can be combined to achieve more colors. Silicone inks require heat to cure. When preparing inks for printing on rubber molding, a crosslink is added, as well as an agent for controlling viscosity and a catalyst which ensures curing when heat is applied. All the ingredients need to be precisely weighed to ensure accuracy. Once the desired color is achieved, it remains workable for an extended period of time. Printing on silicone with silicone-based ink provides a very strong bond, which results in a weatherproof, wear-resistant product.
The process of mixing different base colors to achieve a desired color is a highly controlled procedure. A formula is created, depicting each pigment needed and the precise weight to acquire the tight tolerances required for accuracy. Pigment quantities are adjusted until the desired color is achieved. When a formula is finalized, it is color matched to exceed the manufacturing standard of within one delta of desired color. The custom formula is recorded to ensure accurate reproduction throughout the life of the product. Colors for printed silicone keypads and components can also be matched to existing products for a seamless transition of production. Another option is using translucent pigments that can be made in a variety of colors to give the final colored custom molded rubber products the option of being backlit.
Screens are another important part of the process. Screen meshes come in a variety of sizes and materials, depending on the final image desired. Making screens and artwork in-house ensures proper sizing and quick turn-around when a change is required and troubleshooting any issues can be achieved quickly and resolved. Mesh tensions are precisely measured to achieve clear and sharp images. Another advantage is that multiple images can be exposed on a single screen, helping to increase the efficiency and production of a component.
At SiTech, all aspects of our decorating processes for custom molded rubber products are performed in-house. Printing on silicone will increase the functionality and performance of your component. It can also make your product more visually appealing to attract potential customers. From our custom made liquid silicone injection molding keypads to our proprietary silicone inks and sprays, we can fulfill your product needs and help it stand out from the competition. For more information about our printed silicone keypads, call our office at 757-887-8488.