Category Archive: Blog

Protecting Adhesive Materials During Humid Summer Months

Summer’s heat and humidity can be especially damaging to adhesive materials.

If not properly shielded , the siliconized release liner of your pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSA) will wrinkle and pucker in the heat — called cockling — resulting in overall production kinks and system failures.

With the start of summer rapidly approaching, protection of your adhesive materials is critical to ensure they perform well in your application year-round. That’s why we turned to Adchem Corporation for tips on how to defend products against the harmful effects of cockling.

Causes and Potential Damage

cgr-cockling-adhesiveThe nature and composition of PSAs make them susceptible to cockling, as 85% of release liners are derived from highly absorbent paper and wood pulp materials. In high humidity environments and during the hot summer months, these materials absorb the atmosphere’s moisture, making them swell and curl.

In addition to humidity, general fluctuations in temperature can cause cockling. These fluctuations create a harmful cycle in which the wood fibers dry out in elevated temperatures and condensate during the cooling process. The constant changes in both temperature and moisture ripen the material for cockling.

Either of these conditions can damage and ruin your material in the following ways:

    • Performance failure – Air pockets form, so the release liner no longer protects the adhesive, resulting in dried-out adhesive.
    • Fabrication issues – Wrinkles and creases in the first and second laminating process waste material and can clog converting equipment, such as die cutting and printing tools, during the manufacturing process.
    • Uneven adhesive performance  – Inconsistent adhesive causes the liner to be pulled off during cutting, resulting in the creation of extra waste.
    • Increased costs – All of the aforementioned issues will drive up your overall cost.

Solutions

For enhanced adhesive material protection against cockling, OEMs should take the following precautions throughout the manufacturing process:

  • pressure-sensitive-adhesiveUse a more effective material such as poly-coated liners.
  • Use a higher-basis weight material with a layer of poly-coating on both sides.
  • Minimize the amount of heat applied to paper during manufacturing of the release liner.
  • Re-moisturize the release liner to mitigate drying and restore moisture levels.
  • Always store liners in a cool, dry environment.
  • Wrap plastic around both ends of each roll to keep moisture away and wrap the entire roll after a laminating job.

By taking these provisions, OEMs can help to protect the release liner, defend against cockling, and maintain the proper performance and appearance of the adhesive system.

Why CGR?

CGR Products proudly follows Adchem’s best practices for adhesive materials, ensuring your finished component is always prepared to perform at its best. Our adhesives are specially designed to withstand harsh conditions that lead to cockling, including extreme environments and temperatures.

For more information about our adhesive offerings, visit our Tapes & Adhesives page.

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Material of the Month: Silicone Rubber

CGR Products stocks material choices of all kinds — flexible rubber sheeting, adhesive solutions, and fiber materials are just the beginning of our specialty options.

Our Material of the Month series spotlights some of our favorite materials and their unique applications. This month, we’re discussing silicone rubber.

material-of-the-month

What is Silicone Rubber?

Silicone rubber is a unique, extremely flexible synthetic elastomer. It is extraordinarily versatile and relatively simple to manufacture, making it essential for industries ranging from automotive to home goods.

Materials and Properties

In addition to its outstanding ease of production, this unique material offers a wide range of specialized properties, including:

  • Rubber sealingHigh and low temperature stability
  • Compression resistance
  • Tear strength and flexibility
  • Long-term tensile strength and elongation properties
  • Excellent insulation
  • Easy coloration and formula customization
  • Resistance to chemicals, fungus, ozone, aging, weather, and flames
  • Varying degrees of hardness and softness

Applications and Industries

Silicone’s list of applications is constantly growing — its versatility and accessibility make it particularly appealing to innovators across industries. Some key uses include:

  • Sealants and gaskets in the automotive industry
  • Door and window seals in aeronautics and aviation
  • Equipment in food and beverage applications
  • Gaskets in electronics and energy transmission
  • Sensitive, hypoallergenic tools in medicine and veterinary science

Using Silicone for Your Application

As flexible material specialists, the CGR team offers years of experience in converting silicone into components to fit specialty projects. Our in-house precision cutting services include rotary and flatbed die cutting, kiss cutting, slitting, splitting, knife cutting, and more.

For more information about  silicone’s unique applications and fabrication possibilities, visit our Silicone Rubber material page.

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How Can OEMs Cut Costs and Optimize Their Supply Chain?

For original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the stress of product design and manufacturing often overshadows the maintenance of a lean supply chain.

oem-ebook-quoteSupply chain optimization is an initiative that always seems attractive, but it can be difficult to pinpoint just where to start.

According to a recent TMG-IMG study, OEM supply chain management and optimization can deliver enormous benefits to cutting costs associated with sales, administration, and products. Delaying a supply chain overhaul could lead to years of needless spending that could have easily be spent slashing costs.

Luckily, there are several simple steps you can take one at a time to achieve a lean supply chain, each of which carry a significant impact.

Step 1: Inventory Management

A well-maintained inventory can improve your business in a number of ways, some of which include:

oem-ebook-inventory-mgmt

Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI) is a software-automated process offered by manufacturers like CGR Products to streamline the supply chain. In a VMI system, customers send automatically generated product reports directly to the manufacturer via customized software.

The advanced software eliminates the time-consuming rounds employees make as they walk around a warehouse counting products, as well as the possibility of human error or miscounting that result in delays and rush orders. Your entire ordering process is streamlined so only a minimum number of people have to touch each order.

Step 2: Production & Assembly Optimization

20150831_160143Design automation strategies, facility layouts, and production areas can all be re-organized and optimized to maximize workflow and efficiency.

One commercial small engine builder, for example, received die-cut rubber gasket parts in bulk delivery boxes, which called for a time-consuming assembly line process that involved stacking piles of parts, assembling them with additional gaskets, and finally installing them.

By changing to a rubber-coated, metal-clad material and packaging the parts in pre-counted and banded stacks, the OEM drastically reduced these assembly line times and achieved a direct costs savings of $400,000. Opportunities for small changes and efficiencies like these can be found everywhere, as long as teams are committed to looking for them.

Next Steps…

For more tips on cutting costs throughout the supply chain, we invite you to download our latest whitepaper, How OEMs Can Optimize Their Supply Chain.

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Die Cutting vs. Waterjet Cutting: Which One Should You Use for Your Project?

More cutting methods are available today than ever before. While friction sawing used to be the primary industrial material cutting option, there are now nearly a dozen viable choices.

Not all cutting methods are created equal — which isn’t to say that one is categorically better than another, but rather that they all have their own strengths. To ensure the accuracy, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of your next project, each designated cutting method specified for a particular part should be a major consideration starting in the design phase.

Two of the more common cutting methods that manufacturers offer today, die cutting and waterjet cutting, each have benefits that are suited to particular needs.

Waterjet Cutting vs. Die Cutting

Waterjet Cutting

waterjet-cut-shapes-bigWaterjet cutting, exactly as its name implies, uses highly pressurized jets of water to cut through soft materials.  When harder materials such as metals or plastics are needed, abrasive mineral can be added to the water to enable the waterjet to cut these materials as well.  This method offers several benefits over die cutting and other cutting methods.

Clean Cuts

Primary among these benefits are the clean cuts that the process generates.

Many companies consider waterjet cuts to be “finish cuts,” aesthetically  acceptable cuts that require no secondary finishing processes. This is important for applications where financial budgets or time constraints are a concern — finishing processes add both time and money to your project.

Low Heat

The second important benefit of waterjet cutting is that it generates little heat, and transfers even less to the material being cut. This is important for a number of reasons:

  • It allows for the use of waterjet cutting on meltable and flammable materials — such as plastics, laminates, acrylics, and more — that can’t be laser or plasma cut
  • It prevents the release of heat-generated toxins into the workplace
  • It doesn’t create heat affected zones on cut parts, thereby eliminating a secondary finishing process that laser or plasma cut parts often require

Tolerances

Waterjet cutters are able to maintain tighter tolerances in their cuts because the cutters are controlled by highly accurate computer software. Additionally, the process creates no mechanical stresses in the material being cut, eliminating the loss of tolerance caused by warping.

Die Cutting

Die CuttingDie cutting is a very common method of cutting, wherein sheets of material are stamped  with a die in order to create the required part.  Die cutting  carries many benefits:

Speed

Most die cutting processes, including rotary die cutting and progressive die stamping, are continuous processes. In these processes, rolls of material are continually fed into the equipment and stamped parts are continually output.

Simple parts in particular can be produced at great rates. Simple flat cogs, as an example, can be completed in one second with a single stamp. More complicated parts can be quickly manufactured by utilizing a progressive die stamping process.

Uniformity

Particularly important for large volumes of identical components, die cutting creates parts with a high degree of uniformity. Punching a part out with one swift movement prevents variances that can occur in processes that cut a shape around the edges. Tool and die fatigue can occur, but a quality stamper will know his machines and replace affected equipment long before they can impact the quality of the parts.

Cost

Because of its ability to create very high volumes of parts with a high degree of uniformity, die cutting is a relatively inexpensive method of cutting. The high output reduces time and, therefore, labor costs, and uniform products reduce losses related to quality assurance.

Additionally, die cutting equipment is fairly standard — many companies perform die cutting, so competition keeps costs reasonable. Tool and die manufacturing can be costly, but high volume part orders can easily negate that one-time expense.

Cutting with CGR

Over the course of more than  50 years, CGR Products has developed expertise with a range of different cutting methods — not only die and waterjet cutting, but also knife cuttingand more. Not every method is the same, nor are they all suitable for any project.

To learn more about cutting methods and other important design considerations, download our eBook, 5 Common Design Mistakes & How to Avoid Them.

Download eBook: 5 Common Design Mistakes

Material of the Month: EPDM Rubber

Highly Resistant and Versatile: A Solution for Everyday and Specialty Applications

This blog post is the third installment of a new CGR Products content series called “Material of the Month.” The series spotlights some of the unique materials that CGR works with, as well as their common applications.

material-of-month-V4-1024x219

Material selection can make all the difference when bringing a simple design idea to life. From cross linked polyethylene (XLPE) to acrylic foam tapes, our Material of the Month series highlights the benefits of these unique materials. This week, we’re featuring EPDM rubber.

What is EPDM Rubber?

neopreneEthylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber, also known as synthetic rubber, is a smooth elastomer used in a wide variety of both specialty and general-purpose applications. It is resistant to heat, weather, and steam, and also functions as an excellent electrical insulator.

Benefits and Uses

EPDM rubber is exceptionally resistant to heat, oxidation, electricity, ozone, weather aging, and polar solvents such as alcohol, water, ketones, alkalines, and diluted acids. The water resistance and insulating qualities make EPDM rubber a popular choice for cable-jointing and other electrical applications.

EPDM rubber’s most frequent use is in seals for automotive vehicle windows, doors, and trunks, as well as cold-room doors, such as a refrigerator. The material’s strong insulating properties help to prevent water, heat, or cold from entering the sealed environment.

Other common uses of EPDM rubber include:

  • Automotive weather stripping
  • Tubing and hoses
  • Belts
  • Glass-run channels
  • Washers

Custom Fabrication at CGR

At CGR Products, we offer smooth, black commercial EPDM sheet rubber with thicknesses ranging from 1/16” to 1/2” and a PSI of 725. Our precision die cutting, knife cutting, and waterjet cutting services can trim synthetic rubber sheets to fit the exact shape and size required for your application.

Want more information about working with EPDM? CGR offers charts with information about ethylene propylene’s relative costs and average temperature ranges.
Find the Temperature Range & Cost of Your Polymer Material

Material of the Month: Cross Linked Polyethylene (XLPE)

Lightweight, Versatile, Durable: A High Performance Foam Solution

This blog is the second in a new CGR Products content series titled “Material of the Month.” The series will spotlight some of the unique materials and their applications that CGR works with.

material-of-the-month

High performance material choices can make all the difference in a project. From sheet rubber to open- and closed-cell foam to adhesive solutions, our Material of the Month series will spotlight some of these unique materials and their applications.

volara-XLPEFor this post, we’ll be featuring cross linked polyethylene. This flexible, closed-cell foam has low water absorption and excellent thermal insulation properties.

The foam material also makes it highly efficient for conversion into various shapes — including Christmas trees and snowflakes, as pictured in the photo!

What is Cross Linked Polyethylene?

XLPE is a smooth, fine-celled foam with exceptional consistency and gauge control. It presents superior physical and chemical properties, including low vapor transmission and water absorption. XLPE is available in  many grades.

Benefits and Uses

Foam rubber has cushioning properties to lessen impact and smoothly fill voids and gaps between less flexible materials. Closed-cell foams such as  XLPE are especially useful as seals, reducing the flow of gases and other liquids.  XLPE is particularly effective in transportation industry watershields, healthcare devices, and industrial cap seals because of its low water absorption.

Other uses of  XLPE include:

  • Instrument panels and door panels for the transportation industry
  • Medical tape and transdermal drug delivery
  • Industrial tape and specialized packaging
  • Appliance and vehicle gaskets
  • Construction
  • Military and defense
  • Sports paddings and new technology

Nontoxic and free of CFC, HCFC, and hydrocarbon blowing agents,  XLPE is available for conversion from both seamless rolls and laminated sheets. Each grade of  XLPE offers its own unique environmental and physical performance perks — consult one of our materials experts to find the best fit for your project.

Custom Fabrication at CGR

Foam materials are an ideal option for many industries and are a highly efficient material for cutting and conversion work at CGR. Our team can hold standard RMA tolerances to create foam rubber gaskets, sealants, and custom parts.

Our precision die cutting services, including both rotary and flatbed die cutting, as well as knife cutting and waterjet cutting, can deliver extremely precise, ready to use foam components.

For more information on  applications using XLPE, or to discuss other industrial foam options for your next project, reach out to a member of our team today.

How Are Rubber Materials’ Tolerances Calculated?

Rubber parts are becoming more popular for manufacturing because of their ability to deliver flexibility in a wide range of temperatures and situations. Versatility is a top benefit, but only if materials are designed correctly.rma-tolerances-example

To prevent failures of critical parts and processes, the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has developed a table of tolerances that can guide in design decisions. Tolerances rely on industry standards for a variety of processes, considering cure time, temperatures, compound registration, and more.

With help from the RMA designed table, you can easily address design questions, and not over or under design the part.

Importance of Adhering to Tolerances

Rubber tolerances allow engineers to design and create products that meet the design. Making known that you adhere to RMA-prescribed tolerances helps your customers know you are meeting their design criteria.

Understanding RMA Tolerances

RMA tolerances also give you a great place to initiate discussions with purchasers when they’re looking for specialty pieces. Rubbers at long lengths can stretch or compress easily during the manufacturing process, so tolerances for longer lengths give you a starting point so you can make arrangements for measurement techniques.

Tolerance schedules are extremely important to engineers. CGR Products’ RMA Tolerances Table shares length and width tolerance dimensions of die-cut sheets or strip, expanded, and closed cellular rubber.

You can rely on this guide to ensure adherence to RMA standards for drawing designation thicknesses of .030 inches to more than .50 inches. The guide will help assure that your parts and products meet requirements from standard through non-critical applications. It includes an example of how to calculate tolerances for a material.

Download the RMA Tolerances Sheet and keep your engineers on target and your customers satisfied.



Download Our: RMA Tolerances Sheet


Meet the New Knife Cutting Machine at CGR: Flashcut Flex HD

Knife cutting is one of the fastest and most precise methods for producing parts.

Knife Cutting MachineFrom prototypes to final products, no matter the shape or size of a design, knife cutting technology offers flawless production for a wide range of materials.

We’re excited to feature brand new technology to the CGR Fleet from ATOM. “Cutting”-edge tooling, increased versatility, and unrivaled precision are just the beginning.

The Future of Knife Cutting: Flashcut Flex HD

The Flashcut FLEX HD S Series, part of ATOM’s family of Dieless Knife Cutting Tables, delivers the ideal cutting surface for CGR’s range of flexible materials. The table’s static working surface is supported by a powerful 11kW vacuum pump to hold material in place, eliminating potential errors from movement and the need for sacrificial sealing.

A multi-tool cutting head on the Flashcut is able to total cut, score cut, and kiss cut with a single knife chuck, and  rotating punches that can handle small diameter holes

“Cutting” Costs, Increasing Yields

A robust structure, reliable performance, and high-level precision are bottom line in the Flashcut Flex’s operation. But that’s not all:

  • Automatic nesting with integrated software helps nest shapes within shapes, producing better yield and reducing waste and cost for everyone.
  • The reduction of dies and tooling offers a cost savings advantage.  Part concavity is virtually eliminated as well.
  • The Flashcut offers an advantage over waterjet cutting as the dieless knife process does not have any issues with water/moisture contamination.
  • Less hand cutting and fewer steps are needed for every part.

Check out all of our available custom cutting services, from knife cutting to water jets, laminating services, and more.

View Our Cutting Capabilities

Material of the Month: Acrylic Foam Tapes

VHB Tapes can replace mechanical fasteners, liquid adhesives and more

This blog is the first in a new CGR Products content series titled “Material of the Month.” The series will spotlight some of the unique materials and their applications that CGR works with.

Our first material on the list is acrylic foam tape.

material-of-the-month

What is acrylic foam tape?

CGR handles and converts a wide range of acrylic foam tapes manufactured by 3M. Very high bond (VHB) tapes can act as a fastener in place of mechanical fasteners, liquid adhesives, and more in certain scenarios.

3M TapeThe closed-cell foam is viscoelastic, utilizing energy-absorbing, and stress-relaxing properties. VHB can also conform to the irregularities of all rigid substrates, even when there might be a slight mismatch, while maintaining high internal strength.

Benefits and Uses

Acrylic foam provides outstanding strength and durability for even the most demanding applications. It offers an instant and permanent bond for both static and dynamic forces in exterior and extreme conditions. The material can absorb shock against wind, vibrations and other high performance stresses.

In tests, the VHB tapes yielded 92% retention of peel adhesion after the roll was aged for more than 5 years at 150°F. Initial tack and liner release properties were still excellent, proving VHB’s ability to tolerate long-term exposure to periodically elevated temperatures.

In addition, the all-acrylic construction of these tapes offers:

  • Resistance to extreme temperatures, UV light, moisture, and solvents
  • Sealing against environmental conditions
  • Prevention against bi-metallic corrosion
  • Elimination of pull-through, dimpling, and weld distortion

Custom Fabrication at CGR

As a 3M Preferred Converter, the CGR team has years of experience customizing acrylic foam tapes to fit specific shapes, sizes, and profiles for different projects. Our precision die cutting services, including rotary and flatbed die cutting, as well as die-less knife cutting can deliver custom kiss-cut parts on a continuous roll or pad, ready to use.

To access performance data and learn how 3M VHB tape can benefit your application, visit our library of technical data on acrylic foam tapes.

Access Data Library for 3M Acrylic Adhesives

Cutting vs. Converting – What’s the Difference?

Don’t Get Tangled Up in Terminology

Waterjet CuttingThe CGR team gets a lot of requests for cutting, converting, and fabricating. Fortunately for our customers, we do it all. As far as we’re concerned, these terms refer to the same process — the process of transforming a raw material into a precision component for your part.

If you participated in Manufacturing Day this month, you may have gotten a chance to dig into some of the processes and services from manufacturers across the country. We’re happy to break down some of our cutting capabilities right here, right now.

We specialize in flexible, non-metallic materials at CGR Products — that means custom parts, shapes, sizes and forms for markets of all kinds, cut from an immense range of elastomer, rubber and related thermoplastic materials. Each and every material — and family of materials — comes with specific capabilities to accommodate all types of industries.

Cutting, Converting or Fabricating?

As we said above, we do it all. Some of the specific methods we use to cut and convert materials at CGR include:

Die Cutting: Both rotary die cutting and flatbed die cutting are optimal for high volumes and precise tolerances.

Kiss Cutting: This special type of cutting (or converting) transforms sheets of material into sheets of parts that can be removed individually from a backing or liner.

Knife Cutting: This is one of the fastest methods for producing a part. It’s great for prototypes.

Slitting and Splitting: A shearing process, slitting or splitting takes a large roll and trims it into narrower or thinner rolls or sheets.

Waterjet Cutting: The accuracy and precision of a water jet cutter is ideal for soft materials.

Don’t forget that we also offer custom manufacturing and fabrication for projects that demand molding, extrusion. laminating and beaded gaskets.

Check out all of our available services, or call the team to discuss your particular project today. We look forward to cutting, or converting, or fabricating with you!