When we received a request
for an EPDM rubber
sheet that could be produced in a range of colours to support a
diverse manufacturing and assembly line, our interest was piqued as to how far
our technical team could push our manufacturing boundaries.
The client was looking to
use different coloured sheets on different production lines so that any
potential contamination from seal failure could be identified to a specific
section of the plant thereby allowing then to shut down on that area that was
affected and dramatically reduce down time.
The technicality of producing Rubber Sheet in colours is largely
dictated by the polymer type and how much the compound formulation is
acceptable of pigments; colour pigments are compounds in themselves and can
often act negatively with other chemicals during the curing process and
consequently detract from the desired characteristics of the formulation.
Requests to match Pantone references are quite common and, in
most cases, completely unattainable. Like so many materials where heat is
applied to produce the final product, controlling colours is limited to getting
it to the right shade rather than tightly controlling it.
Challenged with providing seven clearly identifiable colours in
the same grade of EPDM,
our technical team undertook a programme of testing and development reviewing a
multitude of formulations and their reaction with colouring compounds and
Although laboratory development is proof of concept, we then had
to demonstrate that this could be scaled up to full production and give the
same quality results and technical characteristics in the cured rubber sheeting.
After a relatively short development and production trial
programme, we were able to submit our proposal based on a European manufactured
Rubber Sheet offering the following colours: Blue, Yellow, Red, Green, Brown,
White and Black.
Following on site testing the client approved their use and orders
have followed with seals being manufactured by a waterjet cutter and
installation at site being achieved within less than 6 weeks.
EU1935 Certified Food Quality EPDM
Seals for Food, Drink, Biopharma production plant with
multiple lines producing the same products
Enable rapid identification of fault area within the plant should
a seal fail and contaminate the process