One of the earliest uses for silicone custom molded rubber products in mainstream America was the cell phone. Used as keys, or creating a protective sleeve over keypads and the cellular phone itself, injection molded silicone offered many features that most consumers had never seen before. Today, custom molded rubber products are used in cell phone and mobile device technology as a standard, rather than the exception. Many of today’s cell phones, smart phones, tablets, netbooks and laptops include injection molded silicone in them or on them. Used primarily as a protective coating, it makes them look sharper and last longer. It also gives users a chance to personalize their electronic devices with an inexpensive and customizable protective skin.
Backlit Rubber Keypads
One of the most helpful uses for custom injection molded silicone is the use of the backlit rubber keypad. More common today on regular cell phones than on their Smartphone cousins, the backlit rubber keypad revolutionized the cell phone, creating the novel idea of taking and making phone calls in the dark. Not long after that came the technology for backlit rubber keypad features to light up when a phone received a call or a text message. This popular feature is especially helpful when the ringer is turned off.
The latest use of injection molded silicone perhaps comes in the form of protective skins. They are slipped over the mobile device as a non-skid, scratch-proof, water-resistant stylish cover. Since injection molded silicone can be customized, these skins are popular for each manufacturer and phone model. Customized skins offer cutouts and windows built into the cover to accommodate the curves, corners, cutouts, buttons and adapters. Skins come in every color under the sun, and then some. Skins made from custom molded rubber products are ideal for matching purses, backpacks, briefcases and wallets. For the fashionista, they can even match the outfit – and yes, the hat, the belt and the shoes, too.
Unique to injection molded silicone is its ability to serve as a gasket on any mobile device to create a waterproof seal. Gaskets can be created to fit around these devices with such precision that even the once-deadly mud puddle drop no longer means it’s time for a new netbook.
As long as mobile devices are subjected to scratches, drops, dirty hands and the nuances of everyday life, their manufacturers will continue to find new and interesting uses for the injection molded silicone that surrounds them and makes them last longer.