Posted | Categorised in Manufacturing & Processes.

The versatility and durability of polyurethane parts mean they are finding their way into every corner of the industry. Their diversity is phenomenal, making it interesting to see how we create these custom polyurethane parts.

From a basic chemical reaction to a vital part that performs flawlessly, the methods used to produce high-performance polyurethane items are surprisingly simple. The skill is in the detail, and getting both the blend and mould right, to create the ideal outcome.

The team at Custom Moulded Polyurethane have the technological and traditional abilities needed to offer exacting prototypes and to achieve 100% consistency across high volume orders. Including when a complex bespoke part is needed and there is a lot riding on its accuracy and performance.

This step by step guide to custom polyurethane part manufacturing shows how we stay so successful.

Taking a client brief

The most crucial stage is the initial discussion between our technicians and the client. Finding a product form that matches often exacting specifications can include everything from varying the tensile and resistant properties to custom shapes, colours and details. Does this part need specific tear or impact resistance perimeters, or to be especially good at dampening noises and vibrations? We also consider whether the part must exhibit strong electrical insulating properties or cope with extreme temperatures and proximity to pollutants.

The brief will also dictate the level of completion of the product. In some cases, the spec calls for an unfinished part that will undergo separate production techniques.

This collaborative approach means the brief for custom polyurethane parts can be in many guises. From data supplied in computer code to a rough sketch. We are often presented with an existing part and asked if we can replicate it in high-performance polyurethane. Or, if we can scale up or scale down an item or produce it in a different colour or with tiny improvements.

The perfect polyurethane blend

To meet client requirements flawlessly, our technicians decide the proper blend of basic urethane components that will produce the ideal outcome. By varying the high-quality resins, curatives, pigments and other additives, we can form polyurethane into everything from an adhesive that becomes rock hard, to soft foam, to polyurethane parts with the strength of metal. Our shore hardness range for custom polyurethane parts is 10°A to 85°D.

Working together, our knowledgeable chemists and designers then add the blend to a suitable mould and heat the formula to bind the molecules.

Standard and bespoke moulds for polyurethane

Both low or high volume orders of polyurethane products rely on accurate moulds that produce often challenging forms. For items with standard dimensions, we can use an existing mould for a particularly speedy response of course. However, we can create bespoke moulds quickly too.

In many cases, liquid polyurethane is poured into a relevant open mould. Then, it is put in a heated compression machine to make sure the substance is pressed evenly into the mould features. Sometimes the polyurethane mix is injected into a closed mould (with small air holes) which is often required for cylindrical or larger shapes for instance.

Part prototypes in polyurethane

Using a combination of advanced design software and our experience and skills, we can work with clients to innovate. Often problem-solving and producing a part or component that underpins a new piece of machinery, manufacturing process or productivity improvement.

Moulds for prototypes can sometimes require complex contouring or cut-outs, protrusions, or indentations. There is pretty much nothing we haven’t mastered when it comes to precision engineering polyurethane.

Clients often put their polyurethane prototype into action, to test the merits of their own specifications. Once it has proven to be impeccable, they can then commission anything from a short run of these items to a significant production run.

Switching to high-volume orders

Using advanced equipment such as modern dispensing, trimming and finishing machines, we can switch easily from focusing on prototyping to full-scale production. Including high volume orders for polyurethane parts.

It is important to note that the accuracy, sustainability, and speed of waterjet cutting often makes this technique an integral part of our unrivalled service.

As we hold moulds for clients indefinitely, there is always a possibility of re-ordering in the future. Though polyurethane’s unrivalled durability and strength make it unlikely one of our parts will wear out any time soon!

Ordering custom polyurethane parts

Whether you need rapid prototyping, model making or bulk manufacture of polyurethane parts, the team at Custom Moulded Polyurethane can help.

We are always happy to talk to clients about the cost savings to be gained by specifying polyurethane, the incredible problem-solving values it offers and the precision tooling and finishing services we provide.