While there are variations in specific rubber molding methods, all rubber manufacturers use heat and pressure to form molded rubber products. The three most common methods in the rubber molding process are injection molding, compression molding and transfer molding.
Each of these rubber molding methods is different, but all involve pouring liquid rubber material into a mold where it is cured in an oven and cooled, creating the finished product. Some processes, like the one that will be discussed in the paragraph below, involve more then just rubber materials, but glass, metal or fabric as well. Rubber is an excellent material for situations that require a material to give and return to its original shape.
Varieties of rubber used in these products vary, but most commonly is either natural or synthetic. Synthetic rubber types include silicone, neoprene and nitrile. Specific industries that benefit from rubber products include the automobile, appliance controls, lawn and garden, sporting goods, medical, electrical, governmental and recreational industries.
A specific type of rubber product is bonded rubber. There are a few basic elements that are required for rubber bonding products; a bonding agent, a rubber and a substrate. One of the most well known bonds is the rubber bonded to metal combination. When bonded to metal, the options are limitless.
Aluminum and steel are two of the many metallic substances utilized with rubber in multiple applications and industries. Other metals that are strong and durable include titanium, brass and copper, although aluminum bonding is the most popular because it has the additional benefits of being cheap and light weight.
The adhesives used to bond the metal and rubber together vary on the combinations, although water-based adhesives are used more often then industrial adhesives because of their environmentally friendly attributes. Common bonded rubber applications include small machining parts like gaskets and gears as well as automotive parts such as steering wheel parts and brake pads. Medical manufacturers also utilize these materials for certain surgical instruments.