When you’re designing a product or prototyping your concept, you’ll be working with several companies within the manufacturing field. While you likely know most of the terminology we use, there might still be a few words or phrases you’ve never heard—especially if you’re a beginner.
Take a look at these terms that may need a little more explanation to fully understand what we’re talking about.
Manufacturing vs. Converting vs. Fabrication
While these terms are similar and relatively interchangeable, you may hear one used more often in a certain industry than another:
At its core, manufacturing is the process of creating raw materials. For example, Rogers Corporation manufactures their BISCO® silicone by processing and curing chemicals. When they have a large amount of the material, Rogers Corporation sends it to us. (Manufacturing is also widely used to describe nearly any creation or assembly process.)
Industrial converters (like us) combine or shape raw materials to create a single, defined component. After we receive BISCO silicone from Rogers Corp, we cut and shape it into parts like gaskets or bumpers. We also add layers of laminate or adhesives if requested.
Fabrication is the process of assembling several parts together to create devices, equipment, machinery, or objects. After we create silicone gaskets for a customer, they may assemble them along with other parts to build a hydraulic lift or a water filter.
PSA (pressure-sensitive adhesive)
A PSA or pressure-sensitive adhesive is an adhesive that only needs pressure to cling, not heat or an additional solvent. We use PSAs on parts to make application easier and faster.
C-Set (compression set)
C-Set or compression set resistance measures how well a material can keep its shape after being compacted. Materials with low c-set resistance may deform and allow air or water to pass through.
Pliability is the measure of how easily or how difficult it is to bend or flex and object. We measure the pliability of materials to determine which would work best in specific environments and conditions.
EMI (electromagnetic interference)
Electromagnetic interference happens when escaped energy waves from one electrical device interrupts or damages another unprotected device. You may see this when a running vacuum cleaner makes a TV lose signal.
To avoid this, we use EMI shields to both keep in and protect from electromagnetic waves to keep devices and machinery from becoming damaged.
RFI (radio frequency interference)
Radio frequency interference, like EMI, is the interruption in function caused by unblocked radio waves from other devices. We shape RFI shields to keep radio frequencies from damaging nearby devices and equipment.
EMC (electromagnetic compatibility)
Electromagnetic compatibility is the measurement of how well a device or machine is protected from electromagnetic interference from other electrical devices. The higher the compatibility, the better it is protected.
An elastomer is an elastic polymer. Elastomers are great at retaining their shape after being stretched and compressed. Natural rubber and polyurethanes are elastomers. Our most requested elastomer is PORON® Urethane from Rogers Corporation.
A release liner is a backing layer of film or paper that allows adhesive products to be transported without looking their adhesiveness. You’ll often see release liners available in stores holding stickers or sticky felt pads.
We use release liners to carry parts that have a layer of adhesive, which could be anything from bumpers to seals to anti-skid materials. To shape parts without cutting the release liner, we kiss cut the material while it’s already on a backing layer.
A durometer is a measuring scale used to determine how soft or hard a material is. Rubbers and polyurethanes have lower durometer levels while plastics have higher durometer levels. We use durometer measurements to decide which material would perform the best in certain environments or under extreme pressures.