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Home > Elastomers > Elastomer Processing 3

Elastomer Processing
Part 3

Once the material is compounded, it is shaped into sheets and then molded.

Extrusion

extrusion for o-ringsThe sheet compound is extruded into a configuration similar to the desired finished part.

clean extrusion for o-ring production Clean Extrusion

Molding

moldingMost of the elastomeric O-rings used in the semiconductor industry are compression molded. A preshaped form is inserted into a multi-section mold and transferred to a heated press. Under heat and pressure, the elastomer flows into the mold cavities and chemical cross-linking takes place (or begins to take place, depending on the specific elastomer compound). After a period of time ranging from several seconds to several minutes, the parts are removed from the hot molds. Depending on the compound, mold releases are often used. These diluted spray coatings are often a derivative of fluoropolymers, or silicone-based polymers.

compression molding Compression Molding

Flash Removal

flash removalAfter the parts are removed from the molds, they contain thin "flash" as a result of the elastomer flowing in the multi-section mold. This "flash" is typically removed by exposing the parts to a cryogenic tumbling process. The elastomer is cooled and tumbled, causing the thinner "flash" section to become brittle and break away from the main part. Additional tumbling or handdeflashing may be required on some part designs or compounds.

Cryo-deflash Unit Cryo-deflash Unit

Curing

curing elastomersSome high-performance elastomers are subjected to a post-curing operation. Elastomer parts are exposed to high temperatures in carefully controlled environments for several hours to complete the curing process. Additionally, this post-curing step removes excess water vapor and volatile process additives, thereby improving vacuum and contamination performance.

post-cure ovens Post-cure Ovens

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