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Producing Technically Challenging Rubber Mouldings

10 May 2018 | Posted by Sharon Kendal

MacLellan Rubber's capabilities in the manufacture and supply of high quality and technically superior rubber sheet are well known. Less well known is our ability to produce complicated and challenging rubber mouldings that many other manufacturers dismiss.

There are many examples of complex rubber mouldings within our portfolio, encompassing multi-layer compositions with metal wires and inserts for the transport industry through to intricate shapes for food applications and heavy duty products for construction and marine

Nitrile Rubber Sphere Mouldings

One of our favourite examples of a moulding job that looked simple but involved considerable technical input was for Nitrile Rubber Spheres used in waste pumps with diameters up to 195mm.

When originally submitted to MacLellan Rubber the job was simple enough - quote for a range of sphere sizes in a standard nitrile rubber - and there was information on the drawings relating to a material specification and dimensional tolerances. 

Having successfully tendered we were unexpectedly presented with additional supply information regarding specific weights per sphere, requirements on the concentricity (roundness) of the sphere and tight blemish free parameters, which translated into having to:

  • Develop a specific compound formulation for each sphere size to achieve the unique weight requirements
  • Modify manufacturing processes and hybrid tooling designs to accommodate large material shot weights and faster cycling times 
  • 100% inspection of parts to ensure less than the agreed number of surface marks per part - each mark to be identified
  • Undertake 3D scanning of batches to ensure concentricity was within parameters and there were no 'flat spots' that could provide a potential leak path once in situ. Reports showing upwards of 500 non-contact measurements were provided.
  • Bespoke packaging to eliminate risk of flat spots during transport and storage prior to installation

After extensive development work and regular dialogue with the customer, MacLellan was able to achieve the desired quality standard at a commercially viable rate, supporting the customer with monthly supplies of premium quality parts over an extended period.

Often it's not until you have completed the development of a job that you realise just how much extra work is involved or you find out that many others have simply walked away from what they see as a problem job.

Would we do this one again with all of the technical challenges? Probably.  Commercially should we do it again? Probably not.   Could we do it again? Absolutely.

Commitment to Customer Service

The team at MacLellan Rubber believes that once we have committed to doing a job we should do our utmost to do it right.  We take pride in our work and believe our commitment to customer service is ahead of all our competition.