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Heat curing is the traditional method for cross-linking silicones in both injection molding and extrusion processes. The time it takes to transport the heat from the outer walls throughout the entire part, either by thermal conduction or by IR radiation, limits the process output. The necessary heat to induce vulcanization in a reasonable amount of time hinders the suitability for heat curing a combination product which typically includes temperature sensitive components or additives. Additionally, a heat cure can result in product shrinkage or create environmental pollutants.
Applying ultraviolet light to initiate the cross-link reaction is a relatively new process for silicone medical products known as UV curing. Within this process a high intensity ultraviolet light is used to instantly cure elastomers, inks, or coatings. UV curable silicone elastomers are relatively new, higher quality silicones with unique processing characteristics.