Albright Silicone, a Massachusetts-based silicone molding company, has announced its entry into additive with the launch of a 3D printing capability for silicone parts. The capability will be provided as a cost-friendly solution for customers seeking prototypes or small volumes of silicone parts for testing.
Specialized in silicone production and prototyping, Albright has developed a “3D silicone molding” process that enables rapid prototyping of silicone parts at a relatively low cost. The process uses an in-house 3D printed mold to cast commercial-grade liquid silicone rubber (LSR). The capability enables the company to reduce cost and lead times for functional testing components.
“This capability of 3D printing and modling LSR is a helpful solution to customers’ problems when trying to develop and prove a concept before investing in metal tooling,” explained Matt Bont, Product Manager at Albright Silicone.
Indeed, the company’s new 3D printing offering will allow its customers to benefit from silicone molders without having to invest in costly metal tooling. As specified, the 3D printing capability is primarily intended for prototypes or small batch test parts.
“Our capability continues to expand with this technology, and we have developed internal expertise through successfully supporting many appropriate customer projects,” added Bont. “We have had very positive feedback from our customers for parts used for initial test prototypes, product launches with investors, and one-off functional parts.”
Albright’s 3D printing offering offers a number of potential benefits to customers, including the ability to mold with commercial grades of LSR (between 10 and 80 Shore A durometer) and to mold parts with complex geometries and undercuts. 3D printed molds can be used to cast parts ranging in size from 1 mm to 75 mm and can be effectively used to test the first stage of overmolding. The company also offers color matching.
With its 3D printing capability, Albright now also has the tools to 3D print a range of high temperature thermoplastic parts for development applications, including for assemblies or for overmolding substrate components in the 3D casting process. 3D printed parts can also be used to improve the company’s existing processes including LSR product molding, slitting and assembly.