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Manufacture silicone rubber parts | 10 Step Production Schedule

Manufacture Silicone Rubber Parts

Manufacture silicone rubber parts

Custom Parts (Moulded) Production Schedule

Producing custom made silicone parts is something we’ve been doing for decades. We manufacture silicone rubber parts both in the UK and overseas. It’s not just silicone rubber parts we have moulded either.

All our customers have very specific needs and to maintain our zero-returns record, AFAC operates a stringent set of rules to manufacture silicone rubber parts. As you’d expect there’s a formal process we run through to ensure quality of service and solution.

From initial enquiry through to managing ongoing volume needs, AFAC will satisfy, and attempt to exceed, your expectations.

1. Parts defined

  1. It’s perfectly normal for us to expect to sign NDAs at this point.
  2. Whether you wish to manufacture silicone rubber parts that are a modification of an existing design or require a design creating from scratch, AFAC will assist you in proposing a solution to suit your requirement.
  3. To manufacture silicone rubber parts it is useful at this stage to provide .STEP files of the application required to AFAC’s design team for analysis.
    Est. 3-4 days.

2. Drawing created

  1. Our design team will create the necessary files for production to manufacture silicone rubber parts.
    Est. 48 hrs

3. Drawing approved

  1. You will be provided with PDFs clarifying design and dimensions.
  2. It’s important to check all details at this stage to ensure design meets requirements.
    Est. 48 hrs – Customer dependent

4. Drawing sent to production

  1. Acknowledgement of drawing receipt from production.
    24 hrs

5. Prototype tool created

  1. Initially a single impression prototype tool is machined from steel.
  2. Once tool is machined, prototype parts are produced to enable customer approval.
    5 days

6. Prototype parts received

  1. With production being on the other side of the world, you’ll have to wait for a plane to arrive before you receive your prototype parts.
  2. AFAC inspection takes place before forwarding the parts to you.
    5-7 days

7. Prototype parts approved

  1. You’ve now got your prototypes in your hand.
  2. These are fully testable prototype parts. You can take your time to ensure the product is fit for purpose.
    Est. 7-14 days – Customer dependent

8. Production tool created

  1. Ok, the prototypes worked, so now we need your approval.
  2. You’ll have signed the drawing off and paid for your goods in full at this point.
  3. Your multi – impression production tool is then machined from steel.
    21 days

9. Production parts manufactured

  1. Tool made, parts coming out of the mould in volume.
  2. You will have specified colour and shore value earlier in the process.
    21-28 days

10. Shipping

  1. You have a choice here but with choice comes price. It all comes down to how urgent your parts are.
  2. For volume customers we normally recommend only using air to satisfy the 8-10 week requirements until sea shipment arrival.
    Air – 5-7 days
    Sea – 8-10 weeks

Supporting quality manufacturing and metal finishing companies requiring price conscious precision masking supplies. Leading companies from the Automotive, Aerospace, Switchgear & Lighting sectors choose AFAC for reliability, service and price.

Founded over 35 years ago, AFAC has designed, adapted and developed substantial ranges of standard parts supported by a comprehensive bespoke bureau. Engineering backgrounds and family roots give AFAC that competitive edge on service.

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The London to Brighton Off Road Cycling Event

London | Brighton Off Road

Company Director, Ryan Mullins has just signed up for the London to Brighton off road cycling event. This charity event organised by the British Heart Foundation stretches over 71 / 74 miles (depending what page you read). That 3 mile difference will probably feel like the length of England on the day……

Ryan is the son of company founder Lee Mullins and has been in charge now for nearly 3 years. Lee has taken retirement and now spends most of his time either at the local aircraft museum or tinkering with cars in his garage at home.

So why did Ryan decide on the London to Brighton off road?

Ryan is a keen cyclist and a British Cycling qualified level 2 coach. Not only does he ride bikes but he enjoys building them too. His main passion is mountain biking which he said this about.

I love getting out in the woods at the weekends. It’s so peaceful and I get a mix of adrenaline, fitness and general wellbeing. Ryan Mullins

When Ryan heard about the London to Brighton off road he had immediately said he would like to take part. 2018 seemed the perfect year for it with a combination of fitness and equipment that would form a great foundation for working up to the 70+ mile adventure. The fact it’s for a good cause too just makes it all the more worthwhile.

Ryan will be knuckling down with a training regime over the next few months which includes a 50 mile off road event more locally at Milton Keynes in the summer.

Visit Ryan’s Just Giving page here if you’d like to make a contribution to the British Heart Foundation and sponsor Ryan’s London to Brighton ride.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

If you’re interested in taking part, visit this link: BHF London to Brighton Off Road

 

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AFAC are growing and it’s good news for customers!

AFAC has undergone some changes over the past 12 months, starting with the retirement of Director Lee Mullins. Son Ryan has stepped into his shoes after 25 years of supporting his father and learning the ropes.  AFAC is the end to end silicone rubber specialist and specialist rubber manufacturing.

Ryan brings a fresh approach and the enthusiasm to build further on his father’s years at the forefront.

So what does this mean to you?

On March the 1st, the full operation comes under 1 roof with a brand new custom built warehouse facility with additional staff to help support the growing and changing needs of our customers.

This means even more flexibility in service, product and provision with:-

  • Extended last order hours for next day delivery*
  • Collections available 6 days a week
  • Lower minimum order quantities
  • Reseller starter boxes
  • Selection packs
  • Over 1 million products in stock
  • Convenient location between the M1 and A1

Our bespoke facility enables us to customise orders, big and small whilst also speeding up turnaround times. Product ranges are already developing and expanding to meet the growing needs of the individuals. Be this health & safety officers, schools, researchers or specialist manufacturers.

Possibly our most exciting development is the addition of an in-house product designer who brings with him years of experience along with a 21st century approach to design and technology. The benefits of a custom design include:

  • Increased lifespan due to fit for purpose design and decreased wear and tear
  • Lower end product wastage
  • Improved labour efficiency and speed
  • Reduction in bottom line costs

In fact it’s something we do for customers all over the world already.

With over 35 years experience AFAC is the owner managed business you can rely on.

I’m sure you will agree it’s a very exciting time here at AFAC! With great strides however comes the inevitable disruption and we ask all our customers to bear with us through the move. Service continues as normal but there may be a bit of a delay in response times as we take extra care to make sure everything is in place and working efficiently.

And in the run up? Our biggest sale in history! See our promotion for details.

You will find out new facility at Unit 2 Caxton Road, Bedford MK41 0HT

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Director Lee Mullins reflects on 35 years

AFAC Director Lee Mullins retires after 35 years at the top.

Lee Mullins had worked in the industrial fastener industry, both in spring and plastic clips, before entering the world of weldable fasteners. It seemed that most companies in that industry had restrictive practices regarding sizes of fasteners stock and minimum quantities. Lee decided he could address some of these shortcomings by forming his own company.

It was 35 years ago that Lee Mullins launched Applied Fastenings and Components as a supplier of captive fasteners for manufacturers. The company did however deviate shortly after into the supply of masking products to protect the threads of its captive fasteners as powder coating took over from wet paint spraying, the business focus moved and silicone rubber became the material of choice. Designs were developed and the masking products division launched. AFAC was born, using the initials from the original company.

We caught up with Lee to hear about the highs, lows and what the future holds.

 

What will you miss most about working for AFAC?

The relationships I have developed over the years, with both customers and suppliers. I’ll also miss the daily challenges presented by different industries. We have solved masking problems from the masking of tractor wheels, oil well electrical enclosures, motor yachts, automotive structures and even aircraft undercarriages and railway rolling stock.

How have you seen the engineering and metal finishing industry change over the past 35 years?

As most of AFAC’s customers are manufacturing products from metal, it has become apparent that many of the smaller companies have been absorbed into larger organizations, with many establishing overseas divisions, to take advantage of lowers costs. With the advent of the container ships, transport is no longer a major cost consideration. AFAC now exports a significant proportion of its products to Europe and the Middle East as a result.

What is your proudest working moment?

Designing and developing a practical masking system for powder coaters in the mid 1980’s that is still used extensively today. Proving that my ideas to give customers what they wanted, rather than dictate what they could or couldn’t have. We tried, and usually succeeded in giving the customer exactly what they needed and in the quantity they wanted. My original designs are still popular and effective over 30 years after stepping into the unknown and developing a practical masking system for powder coaters. At the time there were no products to fulfill the needs of the embryo powder coating users. Now you see so many products in day to day life and I can say “That was made cheaper and quicker, thanks to my ideas.”

Where do you see AFAC moving in the future?

Under the wing of my son Ryan, I can foresee increased sales into overseas markets, particularly in custom designed parts. This will be largely as a result of Ryan’s expertise in maximizing our internet presence, which now attracts far higher traffic levels than I would have thought possible. I will remain available to AFAC as Chairman, though I think this means I may be consulted if experience is needed!

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Manufacturing using 3D Printing – Roll on the Revolution!

How will manufacturers benefit from 3d printing?

Most of us have known about the advent of 3D printing for a while now. But what the inventors haven’t so far been able to show us is how its application is going to revolutionise certain industrial manufacturing processes. However, forward thinking businesses, such as AFAC, are starting to explore its potential—and now that it’s possible to 3D print in rubber, we can see a great future ahead!

3D printing – what is it and how does it work?

If you’ve seen a 3D printer at work, it’s an extraordinary sight to behold. A template in the form of a computer generated .cad file gives the printer its template. Press ‘PRINT’, and a stream of plasticising powder is fused with a bonding element to form a 3D plastic reproduction of the template. Furthermore, the technology has the ability to recreate complex objects, complete with moving parts—and all to an incredible degree of accuracy. But it’s not just plastic creations that can issue forth from the latest 3D printers. New printers have been unveiled that can create complicated multi-coloured sweets from sugar and chocolate. Just what the world has been waiting for!

To see an amazing 3D print out, take a look at this QI clip.

New 3D printing applications in manufacturing

However, more useful applications might not have the novelty value of spun sugar but they may revolutionise manufacturing as we know it. For AFAC, the eureka moment came when Ryan Mullins discovered that 3D printing in rubber is also available.

Rubber? What’s the big deal?

To date, most 3D printing has used plastic. For AFAC, plastic prototypes are not ideal for demonstrating a wide range of products which are generally made from rubber. The rigid nature of plastic doesn’t adequately show how the rubber and silicone plugs and covers will perform.

However, using a 3D printer to create rubber prototypes represents a game-changer for two reasons:

  • For AFAC, the properties of rubber are an integral aspect to the product design and effectiveness of proving concept for the vast majority of its products. In future, we will be able to utilise 3D rubber printing to produce rubber items with varying shore values as a way to provide the fastest and most efficient prototyping service for our clients. Lead times in bespoke product development will be slashed.
  • As 3D printing technology advances, costs will fall and its use will become widespread in all areas of mass production. 3D printing in rubber will reduce the cost of custom mouldings production. Tooling costs will exchanged for cheaper printer set-up charges and bespoke rubber prototypes will become available overnight. We’re not there yet, but with advances in the technology to increase the variety of materials and colours available, we will be soon.

3D Printing for designers and product development

For product designers and developers, this represents a massive leap forward. It’s conceivable that one could move from idea to full production in just a matter of hours. And with your own in-house 3D printing facilities, fears about product protection and pirating simply evaporate.

The UK has built its reputation on the extraordinary skill of its niche designers and product developers. 3D printing will hopefully allow more of the subsequent manufacturing to be based once again on British soil. And hopefully, AFAC will be one of the companies leading the way.

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Welcome back: Ryan Mullins returns to AFAC

More than 34 years have passed since Ryan Mullins remembers his father setting up a business in the spare bedroom of the family home when he was four years old. Fast forward three and a half decades and that tiny start-up is now the UK’s leading supplier of silicone rubber masking products for powder coating and metal finishing. And now Ryan is delighted to be returning to the family firm in a new Sales and Marketing role.
Continue reading Welcome back: Ryan Mullins returns to AFAC