Elastomer Compounders are not Created Equally
OEMs and fabricators of rubber products should never underestimate the importance of collaborating with their compounding and formulation development providers. Elastomer compound development isn't only about cost per pound; it's about quality and value.
Collaborating with customers to create solutions for demanding applications is what HEXPOL does. We help our customers achieve innovation and product quality, accelerated growth into new markets, and manufacturing flexibility on a global scale.
To do that, it's important to look at the big picture. Very few rubber compounders have the resources or interest in a strategic view. HEXPOL, however, has a reputation for developing strategic, operational, supply chain, and financial benefits for our customers. Whatever the challenge – such as material requirements, regulatory changes, or emerging new markets – we help customers in ways most compounders can't.
There are three components to rubber processing for compounds delivered to OEMs and fabricators: mixing, shaping, and curing. Simply stated, mixing includes loading ingredients into the mixer, actual mixing, and emptying the compound from the mixer for shaping, cooling, and packaging.
General shaping processes include: extrusion, calendering, and molding. The proper integration of the compound and the process is essential to achieve the right end product. Extensive cooperation between the compounder and the fabricator is critical:
- Recipe Design – Formulation and ingredients
- Mixing Process – Equipment use, speed, pressure, time, temperature, power and procedure
- Right recipe design and mixing process = right product
If you are not completely satisfied with your current elastomer compounder, you should consider and review such things as their manufacturing technology, quality and testing, research and development, access to raw materials, and knowledge of your industry.