The manufacturing world has been revolutionized by 3d printing technology; one area of manufacturing in particular that has received a makeover is silicone molding. The area of silicone molding has been improved by massive savings in costs and overall production times.

For those who don’t know about silicone moldings it is known as Room Temperature Vulcanizing (RTV) it is the most effective and the most economical way around today of creating small numbers of plastic product parts.

Silicone molding is carried out using a three step process and always starts from an initial pattern. The initial pattern, in most cases, is made out of either metal, wood or plastic. The engineers use the initial pattern to pour in silicone rubber into the shape or pattern mold. The silicone is given the time needed to set and cure, and then the pattern or shape casing is removed and filled with a chemical called urethane which is used in the production of the final parts. This practice is found in the medical, electronics, car and aerospace manufacturing industry.

Silicone mold

The most time consuming process in silicone molding is the pattern making stage, it’s at this stage that additive manufacturing is used to help streamline the process and speed it up. By using Stratasys PolyJet-based 3D printing technology in creating the mold patterns the production time of the pattern to less than three hours, rather than the three weeks it used to take using traditional methods. Just because the production time has been sped up, it does not mean less quality in the end product, in fact the results that are produced by going digital with 3d printing are outstanding; it shows again the power of influence 3d printing technology has had in this industry.

When it comes to creating silicone mold patterns 3d printing is a real viable way to create small numbers of product parts at an affordable cost with the parts details and quality not lost in the development process. Check out this video and see how 3d printing is being used in the silicone molding process.