Frequently Asked Questions

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Rubber and flexible parts - how do I get the hardness I want?

Hardness is officially defined as “the resistance of a material to plastic deformation, usually by indentation. However, the term may also refer to stiffness or temper, or to resistance to bending, scratching, abrasion or cutting.”

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What if I do not know the hardness I need?

Specifying a flexible part raises the immediate question of hardness, great if you can specify this, a problem if you can’t!

Plunkett Associates to the rescue!

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Which Shore Hardness do I want for my flexible part?

The Shore Durometer Test is the one we use most commonly due to the ability to measure the hardness of polymeric materials. 

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How is hardness defined?

Tests have been developed that measure the resistance of plastics including the Shore® (Durometer) test and the Rockwell hardness test. Rubbers are frequently defined on the IRHD scale.

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Can I have a flexible part in rubber, silicone, EPDM or Viton?

In a simple world only one material would be required for our flexible component needs. In the real world we often have requirements for materials as diverse as rubber, EPDM, Viton etc. 

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When I need a flexible part how do I choose which process to use?

Your requirement will be unique to you and various factors will influence the decision including aesthetics, functionality, environment, porosity, hardness, and time.

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Rubber and other flexible parts... Should I Injection mould or Compression mould?

Flexible components are present in most assemblies. Whether you want a simple gasket, a seal, a more intricate connector, or a bellows, the common denominator is that the part is required to flex in its operation or assembly.

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Natural & Synthetic Rubbers - what are they and how are they used?

Natural rubber is produced from latex, tapped off a rubber tree. Uncured, this rubber has limited application (e.g. adhesives, cements, etc.) and is unlike our expectation of what ‘rubber’ should be. However, after undergoing mastication, blending, calendering, extrusion and finally vulcanisation, it becomes the product we know.

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What is the quickest method to get a flexible part?

3D Printing is the quickest option for flexible parts. 

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