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Keywords of this article:  injection molding 
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The new liquid silicone line ELASTOSIL LR 5040 has been specially developed for applications in the baby-care, food-contact and medical industries.
The new liquid silicone line ELASTOSIL LR 5040 has been specially developed for applications in the baby-care, food-contact and medical industries.

At Fakuma 2017, Wacker Chemie AG is launching a new liquid silicone rubber (LSR) line, ELASTOSIL LR 5040. They contain only few volatile components making the material compliant with regulatory specifications governing sensitive applications in baby-care, food-contact and medical sectors.

Silicone parts intended for use in the baby-care sector and the food industry in Europe must contain no more than 0.5 percent volatile substances. To ensure compliance with this limit, thermal post-treatment is often necessary. That entails heating the cured parts to temperatures of 200°C for several hours in a ventilated oven.

This process step, which specialists also refer to as "post-curing", might be skipped soon.

"We designed ELASTOSIL LR 5040 in such a way that this silicone rubber already complies with current regulatory requirements governing applications in the baby-care sector and food industry in its non-post cured state," said Christian Gimber, Head of the Engineering Silicones business unit at Wacker. "Thus, in many cases, our customers can eliminate post-curing of silicone parts for sensitive applications."

Rubber parts made of ELASTOSIL LR 5040 are translucent with a delicate blue shimmer. Their volatiles content – without thermal post-treatment – is below the required 0.5 weight percent.

Even in its non-post cured state, the silicone rubber already exhibits a high level of tear resistance equivalent to that of a post-cured high-tear-strength standard LSR. As a result, it can withstand even high mechanical stresses as may occur during the usage of baby bottle nipples or pacifiers, for example.

ELASTOSIL LR 5040 can be readily processed by injection molding. Since molded parts made of this LSR only have to be post-cured in very few cases, production processes can be streamlined and automated to a high degree.

The product line will initially cover a hardness range from 30 to 70 Shore A including 45 Shore A, a universally used grade in the baby-care sector. In the cured state, the actual hardness of the non-post cured silicone rubber deviates by no more than +/-3 points. The LSR is translucent and has a delicate blue shimmer, giving the silicone parts a particularly pure, high quality appearance.

Typical applications include feeding teats and pacifiers, teething rings, anti-colic valves, bottle tops and seals for food cans, but also respirator masks.

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