Autoclave molding is a process that uses high temperature and pressure to manufacture rubber products.
Autoclaves can be used to manufacture automotive and aircraft parts, medical devices, and a variety of versatile products that require flexibility or durability.
There are many benefits to this type of molding, but let's take a look at the top 4.
1. Increased product quality
The autoclave molding process is quite effective when it comes to manufacturing quality parts.
It produces less waste than other types of rubber processing, as well as an end-product with a low defect rate and a high degree of uniformity.
Parts that are manufactured using autoclave molding also show better adhesion between layers and good control over resin and reinforcement.
Because autoclaves allow for control over the rubber's hardness, the end result is a more precise, customized final product without any void content (thanks to entrapped air being removed through the vacuum).
2. Reduced production costs
The cost of autoclave molding is significantly lower than other types of rubber production methods, thanks to its speed.
For example, the average injection molding time can take up to 30 hours and has a higher rate of failure--compare that to the mere 20 minutes it takes to manufacture a product using an autoclave, which is much more consistent.
When choosing a manufacturer like Mark Tool that has a steam autoclave in-house, you'll get a higher-quality product that performs better and lasts longer, all for a lower price.
It's also important to note that our equipment can accommodate large products and batches, which means you won't have to worry about additional costs for multiple sets. This is beneficial for both large- and small-scale producers.
Autoclave molding is also less labor-intensive than other manufacturing processes, which means you'll have a lower per-unit cost when ordering items in bulk.
3. Quicker turnaround times for prototypes
Another benefit of autoclave molding is its ability to make prototypes quickly.
When an engineer has a new idea or design that needs testing before going into full production, the quick process of autoclave molding allows them to create a prototype that can be tested and re-tested until it's perfect.
It also gives companies the ability to make multiple small batches of parts without having long lead times for each one, which means you'll never again have to worry about production delays or waiting on manufacturers with longer wait times.
4. Increased product strength
The heat and pressure in autoclaves are key to increasing product strength.
Not only does the final product have a higher strength to weight ratio, but it also has an increased resistance to heat and chemicals.
This is because autoclave molding allows for more cross-linking in polymers than other processing methods, which means that bonding occurs between molecules instead of just along their edges.
Autoclave molding is widely used by the aerospace, military, and marine industries to manufacture high strength to weight ratio parts that can handle extreme temperature variations and heavy weight.
At Mark Tool & Rubber, our 85′ long x 6′ wide, vulcanizing steam autoclave is used to bake polymers into molds, cure natural rubber, and apply SplashTRON® (our protective splash zone coating). Trust us to manufacture your vulcanized rubber clamps or other unique rubber and urethane parts and request a quote today!