When creating a product that includes molded rubber parts, it is important to supply the parts manufacturer with a design drawing to follow. This design offers the specifications necessary to produce the custom molded rubber products and parts. Similar to architectural blueprints, a specification drawing shows the pattern and all of its elements. Silicone molding manufacturers can look at the design specification drawing and learn what the molded silicone parts should look like when they are finished. This includes the size, shape, color, thickness, material and pliability.

One of the most common methods of supplying the design specifications to silicone molding manufacturers is through computerized programs. Software like Solidworks, ProE and AutoCAD help the product designer to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional drawings. The drawings are then saved in an electronic file, such as.dwg,.prt,.dxf,.smt,.x_t,.iges and others. The electronic file formats can be read by the parts manufacturer, who converts the digital mechanical designs into real-life custom rubber molded parts using compression molding or liquid silicone injection molding processes.

In the design of military rubber keypads, for example, a specification drawing will describe and lay out the dimensions of the custom rubber keypad, including its height, width and thickness. It also describes the required materials, color and any printing processes and ink colors, as well. When manufacturing military rubber keypads, each requirement is spelled out to ensure uniform production of all parts within tolerance.

For those new to designing products that include custom keypad technology, they may need assistance from the rubber molding manufacturer’s engineers. These professional experts may provide a set of standards and design recommendations that can be used as a guide. For example, the minimum recommended key pitch dimension may be.080. The clearance between a key and a bezel may be.012. When their mechanical design considerations are followed, the manufacturer can create a quality custom keypad. There are also specific recommendations for the distance from the edge of the keypad’s matte to a key’s diaphragm.

Other important information needed by the manufacturer involves the use of coatings. Molded silicone parts can be coated with abrasion-resistant, chemical-resistant or conductive coatings, depending on their intended use. These offer extra protection against the outside world. They are especially helpful on military rubber keypads in rugged conditions. Coatings can improve performance and make the components last longer.

When all of the necessary information needed to produce the components is provided, the molded silicone manufacturer can create the necessary molds needed to make them. The molds are used to duplicate the same item as many times as necessary.