In the polyurethane world, choosing the right durometer can be the most critical key to the functionality of a product. The idea of incorporating various hardnesses to form a single part was groundbreaking from its conception; this concept is called dual-durometer.
Stated by custom urethane manufacturers, the specialized manufacturing process is the act of molding a soft material to a much harder urethane in order to take advantage of polyurethane’s unique properties at different hardness points. For example, impact absorption (soft), sturdiness and support (hard).
Let’s discuss in further detail why dual durometer is so important in the manufacturing process and how the technology is used today.
Why Dual Durometer?
Weight can be a critical factor in a part and reducing the weight of that part can result in cost-savings, increased performance, and more reliability. This can be achieved by replacing a metal hub or core with a high durometer (hard) urethane and coating with a low durometer (soft) urethane as the tread.
Impact absorption and sturdiness is another crucial benefit of utilizing a dual durometer system. For instance, you need to absorb a payload of bulk material.
The low durometer’s absorption properties will be useful in this case, although a soft material will fail under the weight of the payload without the support and a harder urethane should be molded to the part to provide structural support.
Applications using Dual Durometer Technology
Industries across the world are utilizing and replacing current systems that are considered outdated with this technology for a wide range of use cases as mentioned. Some of these applications include mining, automotive, aerospace, etc.
The mining industry in some cases uses dual durometer technology for the vibratory and structural properties we discussed earlier.
Electrostatic Discharge or also known as “ESD” can be very dangerous in high dust environments as seen in mining. The aerospace industry uses highly flammable liquids and solvents as well. Static electricity in these environments can cause a dust explosion or solvent ignition so this is very important for crew safety.
Antistatic agents are used to prevent or to dissipate static electricity and consequently prevent ESD. Antistatic agents formulated in the polymer provide permanent protection. Thus, replacing other “combustible” hubs and treads with a non-static urethane is highly important to the safety of the work environment.
After reading this article you can see why dual durometer technology is so important for various industries. Not only can it keep your crews safer, but it also ensures increased reliability, impact absorption, and more of your materials.