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Flatbed lamination is a process that involves using pressure and heat to join multiple materials, producing a multi-layered composite with improved properties. Compared to PSA lamination, which involves creating a sticky, adhesive surface to bond materials with, industrial flatbed lamination can create specialized laminates such as multi-layered sheets or rolls.
Industrial flatbed lamination is used across diverse industries for applications such as automotive components, packaging, insulating panels, and molding precursors. This process not only produces a high-quality finish but also can improve the appearance of products, add a protective barrier, and to reduce material thickness when desired.
The Basics of Industrial Flatbed Lamination
Flatbed lamination is used to combine different materials such as foam, film, fabric, and nonwoven materials to produce a composite material with improved characteristics. The main goal of industrial flatbed lamination is to create materials with highly specialized properties, such as enhanced structural integrity or insulation.
This process is especially beneficial for creating products with a smooth, level surface from raw, uneven substrates. As such, it allows for the use of more economical materials compared to other lamination processes. Flatbed laminators also facilitate precise thickness reduction and material densification of certain foams, nonwovens, and other substrates.
Depending on your particular needs, the adhesion between the materials being laminated can be achieved using thermoplastic adhesives in the form of webs, powders, and films. Some materials can even be laminated without the need for additional adhesives due to their inherent thermoplastic characteristics.
Types of Industrial Lamination at RubberMill
At RubberMill, we utilize highly advanced Pressurized Flatbed Laminating technology that employs zoned heating, cooling, and pressure to produce unique material composites. Using a range of material combinations as well as adhesive films and webs, we can create the desired end product. For example, we can combine nonwoven materials with films or fabric with foam.
If the main goal is the application of pressure sensitive adhesives, RubberMill also offers PSA lamination services using dedicated equipment. The finished PSA laminated product can be converted into continuous rolls of stripping or cut into separate parts.
With over three decades of industrial lamination expertise, RubberMill can deliver innovative solutions to meet the needs of various industries and applications. This level of experience allows us to provide finished laminated products that adhere to specific OEM requirements.
The Technology Behind RubberMill’s Lamination Process
Our advanced belt press lamination machine uses a horizontal flat conveyor run, allowing it to accommodate materials of various thicknesses and widths. By applying customized amounts of pressure, heating, and cooling, our machine enables precise control over the properties of the end product.
To meet the needs of sensitive applications, RubberMill’s lamination process includes continuous full-width thickness monitoring, including product-specific settings that can be stored electronically for the duration of the laminating process. Our machinery is also capable of creating sheets with specific dimensions and can automatically trim the edges to ensure uniform roll width.
Our lamination technology is highly cost-effective due to its high speed and minimal energy and adhesive consumption. This makes it a sustainable option for all of your industrial lamination needs.
Benefits of Contract Lamination with RubberMill
By outsourcing your industrial lamination needs to RubberMill, you gain access to the following benefits:
- Cost savings.Outsourcing your lamination process reduces costs associated with investing in additional machinery and manpower.
- Speed. Our level of expertise ensures a fast and efficient manufacturing process. This results in a quicker time-to-market for your laminated products.
- Turn-key. Our in-house die-cutting capabilities allow RubberMill to provide a turn-key lamination solution. This eliminates the need for you to transport your laminated materials for further converting.
- Eco-friendly. Industrial lamination is a more environmentally friendly alternative to flame bonding and other lamination processes that emit toxic fumes.
Take Your Industrial Lamination to the Next Level: Contact RubberMill Today
Contract laminating helps companies save significant amounts of time and money on specialized material finishing processes they’re likely unequipped for. At RubberMill, we offer contract flatbed lamination and well as other lamination services to deliver the unique composites you need. For more information about our industrial lamination capabilities, or to get started on your contract laminating solution, request a quote from us today.
Many types of heavy machinery, appliances, and other equipment require thermal and acoustic insulation to prevent excessive heat and noise. These products protect operators and keep machinery working reliably. As a leading provider of quality thermal and acoustic insulation products, RubberMill can help you better understand how these products work and the different types available.
Thermal vs. Acoustic Insulation
Thermal and acoustic insulation serve different functions but are used throughout many similar applications. Let’s explore what exactly these products are, their benefits, and the materials options available.
What is Thermal Insulation?
Thermal insulation is a product used to reduce heat transfer between solid objects, fluids, or gasses. It works by forming a lower temperature barrier between heat-producing components that prevents heat transfer. Thermal insulation is used throughout many industries, including medical, energy, industrial, and more. These applications all involve machinery that requires an optimal thermal environment for efficient performance.
Benefits of Thermal Insulation
Thermal insulation products provide a number of advantages:
- Energy conservation
- Hotspot prevention
- Surface temperature reduction
- Operator protection and comfort
- Electronic component protection
Common Types of Thermal Insulation
There are two primary types of heat-resistant materials: heat reflection and insulation. Insulation keeps heat confined within a space, minimizing convective and conductive heat flow. Radiant materials, on the other hand, reflect heat energy from traveling in a straight line, thereby reducing heat gain.
Thermal insulation products are made using many types of materials:
What is Acoustic Insulation?
Also known as sound insulation, acoustic insulation reduces the transfer of noise. Sound is made up of vibrations and acoustic insulation products reduce noise by either redirecting it, absorbing it, or transmitting it. These products can be designed to target specific noise frequencies.
Benefits of Acoustic Insulation
When acoustic insulation materials are used to line hard objects like engines or heavy machinery, the porous material prevents sound waves from reflecting back at workers and the nearby environment. These materials are utilized in automotive, HVAC, and appliance applications to provide quiet operation of the device.
Common Types of Acoustic Insulation
There are two main types of acoustic insulation: absorbers and barriers.
Absorbers take in and trap sound waves, reducing the amount of noise in an area and improving its acoustic conditions. Absorbers can be applied to walls, ceilings, floors, and even objects. They can be made from several materials:
- Open-cell elastomeric foam
- Nonwoven fiber materials
- Cellulosic fibers
- Dimensional fabrics
- Glass fiber materials
Acoustic barriers block noise from transmitting between locations. In this instance, sound is not absorbed by the material but bounced back to the original location. Common types of acoustic barriers include steel or concrete. While durable, these options can be expensive to manufacture and ship and are not very eco-friendly. This type of insulation is also limited in the sense that it is for larger projects such as construction walls, whereas foam absorbing materials can be used in tight-fitting appliances and automotive parts.
Thermal and Acoustic Insulation Products From RubberMill
Thermal and acoustic insulation products are used throughout numerous industries, including automotive, consumer appliances, heavy machinery, and more. Each of these applications requires reliable, high-quality products to ensure operator and equipment safety. RubberMill has over 30 years of experience meeting OEM needs for quality and precision insulation products. To learn more about our solutions, contact us or request a quote today.
When to Use Different Kinds of Rubber Materials
As a trusted supplier of non-metallic parts, RubberMill is knowledgeable in rubber types. The components we produce, such as gaskets and seals, insulation parts, and molded parts, can all be made from a variety of high-quality rubber materials. This blog post will explain the different types of rubber and when they should be used for various applications.
Properties of Rubber
Rubber comes in several variations, each with its own unique properties. However, each distinct rubber type also shares common characteristics, including:
- Elasticity: Rubber materials all feature a molecular structure that allows them to return to their original shape after being stretched or compressed. Since rubber molecules are all attached to one another, they return to their original position.
- Thermal contraction: Rubber contracts when heated and returns to its original state after the heat is removed. This is opposite to most other types of materials that expand when heated.
- Durability: Rubbers resist degradation and damage well and are highly durable in the face of tearing and abrasive forces, water, low temperatures, and impacts.
What Are the Different Kinds of Rubber Materials and When Should You Use Them?
There are numerous types of rubber, each best suited for different applications:
- Ethylene propylene (EPDM, EP, BA, DA): EPDM has quickly become a popular general-purpose elastomer. It is highly resistant to weathering, oxygen, steam, ozone, and diluted acids. EPDM is non-oil resistant and is widely used to produce everything from door and window seals to roofing materials, pipe gaskets, seals, rubber hoses, and much more. It has an estimated shelf life of 5-10 years.
- Natural rubber (NR, IR, AA): Also known as polyisoprene, natural rubber was the first commercially available rubber type. It is naturally produced from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree and is mainly harvested in Indonesia, China, India, and Thailand. Natural rubber is used to produce automobile tires, bumpers, vibration mounts, gaskets, and much more. It has an estimated shelf life of 3-5 years.
- Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR, BR, AA, BA): Initially developed during the 1930s, SBR was widely used during World War II and is currently produced more than any other type of synthetic rubber. It is used to make footwear, clothing, toys, tires, and more. It has a shelf life of 3-5 years.
- Butyl (IIR, AA, BA, CA): First commercialized in 1943, Butyl rubbers are highly impermeable to gases and air and also feature excellent ozone and oxidation resistance. Since they have high energy absorption properties, they are used to produce inner tubes, shock absorbers, and seals. Butyl has an estimated shelf life of 5-10 years.
- Nitrile (NBR, BF, BG, BK): Initially developed in Germany for gasoline and oil-related applications, Nitrile is a synthetic rubber with excellent resistance to aromatic hydrocarbons. It is used in oil and grease seals, washers, check valve balls, and numerous other applications. It has an estimated shelf life of 3-5 years.
- Neoprene/chloroprene (CR, BC, BE): First developed in 1932, Neoprene is a rubber-like material that is resistant to ozone, oil, and low temperatures. It is also self-extinguishing. Neoprene is used in the production of seals, o-rings, grommets, bushings, and other components. It has a shelf life of 5-10 years.
- Urethane (AU, EU, BG): Urethane elastomers are available as both solid millable gums and liquid castable materials. They are a combination of either polyethers or polyesters and diisocyanates. Urethanes feature excellent abrasion resistance, load-bearing capacity, and tensile strength. They are also highly resistant to oils and solvents. Urethane is used to produce solid tires, wheels, shock pads, valve balls, and other components. It has an estimated shelf life of 5-10 years.
- Silicone: Initially patented in 1944, silicone is easily extruded, calendared, molded, and cast into various shapes. It displays excellent thermal stability up to 500 °F and is also resistant to oxygen, sunlight, and ozone. Silicone offers good electrical insulation and features low toxicity as well as flexible and anti-stick properties. Its use is growing in the automotive, medical, and industrial industries, and it is currently used to produce tubing, spark plug caps, door seals, valve balls, bellows, and more. Its shelf life is up typically up to 20 years.
- Viton®/fluorinated hydrocarbon (FKM, HK): Viton is a very expensive, high-performance elastomer. It is used in applications that require extreme oil, heat, and solvent resistance. Viton is widely used to manufacture components for the aerospace, automotive, and chemical processing industries, such as o-rings, gaskets, and seals. It is a registered trademark of Dupont Performance Elastomers and features a shelf life of up to 20 years.
- Butadiene (BR, AA): The second most commonly used synthetic rubber after SBR, Butadiene is the most resilient of all elastomers and exhibits excellent flexibility in low temperatures. It is used with other types of rubber as a blend to manufacture tires and is also used to produce golf balls, vibration mounts, and other molded industrial products. It has a shelf life of 3-5 years.
Diecut and Molded Rubber Parts From RubberMill Inc.
Rubber is used to produce components for nearly every industry. The numerous rubber types available feature unique characteristics that enhance their suitability for diverse applications. RubberMill Inc. has over 30 years of experience delivering high-quality rubber components, and we can help you identify the most suitable material for your application.
To get started on your non-metallic parts solution, contact us or request a quote today.