Silicone pad is made from silicone. Silicone is a polymer made from combining silicon, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. This material has very versatile physical properties such as thermal stability (from -80 °C to 250 °C), resistance to oxidation, UV light, etc. Many people confuse this material with silicon, which in nature occurs as silica (SiO2). Producers reduce silica to obtain silicon metal, which is utilized for semiconductors. In addition, silica processing forms silanes (siloxane), which are used in silicone production. Learn more about silicone printing pads.
After production, silicone is available in fluid or gel form, depending on its viscosity. There are two types of silicone LSR (liquid silicone rubber), which are a two-component system—this is what we use in most printing applications, such as silicone printing pads. RTV is a single-component silicone used in adhesives. Learn more about Liquid Silicone Rubber primers.
When making pads, we use a catalyst to vulcanize the rubber. At Boston Industrial Solutions, we have formulated our own high-tensile-strength, anti-static silicone fluid. After mixing the catalyst, we pour the liquid silicone into a mold. This forms the shape of the pad. We have hundreds of molds for making printing pads.
There are several advantages to using silicone rubber. Let us review the properties that make silicone an excellent material for the pad printing process.
Thermal stability (from -80 °C to 250 °C)
Low surface energy
Excellent flexibility and elasticity
There are two materials for making pads: urethane and silicone. Silicone is the preferred material for about 99% of all pads. As discussed above, silicone rubber has excellent wettability characteristics as well as excellent release characteristics. The ink can wet the pad with the right amount of printing solvent, and when the solvent evaporates, the pad printing ink easily transfers to a substrate other than silicone. Read more about pad printing silicone products.
Not only does silicone make it easy for printing pads to easily pick up and transfer the ink, but it also has excellent flexibility. This flexibility capability allows the pad to print on almost any substrate with any shape. The pad curves around objects to deposit ink in the right places. Whether you are printing on mugs, golf balls, medical syringes, or automotive dials, the silicone rubber pad will conform to the product’s shape. Learn more about printing applications.
Durometer is a measure of the hardness of a material, particularly elastomers (rubber or rubber-like materials). The amount of oil added to the silicone fluid controls the hardness of the pad. The higher the amount of oil, the lower the hardness. The reverse is also true. Additionally, an increase in oil requires an increase in cure or drying time. 165F is the best curing temperature for pads. The duration will range from 2 to 3 hours of baking time.
When printing, a soft pad (30–45 durometer) is excellent for printing on smooth, fragile parts; on the other hand, hard pads are for printing on hard-textured products such as gold balls or textiles.
Silicone printing pads are some of the most important pad printing supplies. Additionally, they are a critical component of a pad printing machine. Using the wrong pad will result in a misprint—ghosting, damaged product, or distortion.
It is therefore important to use the best printing products, from mixing sticks to pads to laser plates, for your business. All our products are of the highest quality at very competitive prices. Additionally, we have a quick turnaround on all pad printing consumables. For questions or inquiries, please call or contact us at 781-281-2558.