SIMTEC Silicone Parts (Miramar, FL), a custom manufacturer of liquid silicone rubber (LSR) parts and LSR two-shot components, has a highly diversified customer base, producing parts for automotive, medical, cosmetic, food and beverage, kitchenware, consumer goods, and industrial applications. It recently welcomed a new customer—a manufacturer of high-end audio equipment—and application to its portfolio. Why are so many companies in so many sectors beating a path to SIMTEC's door? Company president Enrique Camacho chalks it up to the unique properties of LSR that make it desirable for a range of industries and product segments coupled with the in-house expertise and resources of SIMTEC.
Suited for durable, high-volume part manufacturing, LSR is nonreactive, stable, and resistant to extreme temperatures while still maintaining its properties, says Camacho. Combining it with a thermoplastic material in a two-shot injection molding process imparts other unique performance characteristics. The new audio application is a typical example of an innovative two-shot LSR solution, Camacho told PlasticsToday, noting that LSR technology had not been used in this sector prior to SIMTEC's involvement.
"Our customer's engineering task force teamed up with SIMTEC's experts to develop the new component. A two-shot LSR solution was selected based on the prescribed long-term device performance," explains Camacho. "This unique component has a very thin section that requires a material with a low compression set (after being postcured) combined with a rigid structure. The component must consistently perform over the lifetime of the device. No other material combination even came close to meeting these requirements," he adds.
The overall versatility of liquid silicone rubber allows SIMTEC to partner with customers in need of high-precision LSR parts and components that meet the requirements of even the most demanding applications across a range of industries, says Camacho. One example is the medical technology sector, which accounts for approximately 11% of the company's business.
"SIMTEC has been manufacturing components for medical device applications since 2003," says Camacho. "We manufacture a range of parts, allowing us to leverage our core competence in the automated production of high-precision, high-volume LSR parts and LSR two-shot components." Applications vary from single-use parts for drug-delivery systems to components for respiratory devices used in intensive care and postoperative environments, Camacho adds.
Going forward, Camacho intends to continue evangelizing for the material and promoting his company's expertise to further diversify the customer base. Integral to that mission is a combination of experienced team members that benefit from continuous training and education and ongoing investments in state-of-the-art production equipment, says Camacho. "As our low turnover rate demonstrates, our team members are fully identified with our company's philosophy, goals, and way of doing business." As for the investment part of the equation, SIMTEC will add new tools and machines in 2014 in order to meet and, indeed, exceed customer needs.
Norbert Sparrow is Senior Editor at PlasticsToday. Follow him on twitter @norbertcsparrow and Google+.