Rubber grommets are rubber rings that can be placed around an opening in a surface. Grommets are used to protect surface openings from tearing or breaking, and they protect objects that pass through the openings. For example, rubber grommets are often used to protect wires or cords that pass through openings in metal surfaces that would otherwise be too jagged or sharp.
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Advantages of Rubber Grommets
One advantage to using rubber grommets over other grommet types is that rubber is inexpensive and recyclable. This means that when the grommets are no longer useful, they can be recycled and turned into other rubber products, or perhaps back into grommets. This helps keep manufacturing costs low for all industries.
No matter what industry, a rubber grommet is often involved in the production process at some point, whether you are manufacturing vehicles or electronic parts or anything in between.
Design of Rubber Grommets
A rubber grommet starts as a simple piece of rubber, either synthetic or natural rubber. The rubber is then formed into the grommet shape using a mold. Some companies use die molds and others use injection molds to create the grommets. After manufacturing, the grommets are shipped to the companies that use them for their manufacturing purposes. Some are shipped directly to consumers.
In action, a grommet does exactly what it is intended to do. Rubber is a highly versatile material that is resistant to many forms of corrosion, including temperature, chemicals, and oils. Natural rubber will eventually break down, but many synthetic rubbers have a lifespan that extends beyond that of natural rubber.
Rubber Extrusion Process
Rubber grommets are usually made of extruded rubber, though they can also be molded. Rubber extrusion is the process by which raw rubber is forced through equipment that heats and pressurizes it. Once the rubber becomes molten, it is forced through a die, which is a tool designed to shape raw materials into usable products. When the rubber emerges on the other side of the die, it is allowed to cool and harden, at which point it is cut and becomes a finished grommet. Extrusion is not always a suitable grommet fabrication process, though, as it can only produce very simple shapes. Injection and compression molding processes can produce more complicated shapes. Both processes begin the same way as extrusion; the rubber is heated to a molten state. Rather than using a die, though, molding processes involve the injection of molten rubber into a cavity. Once forced into a cavity, molten rubber conforms to the contours of the cavity. Compression molding provides compressive force to the rubber which ensures that the rubber will come into complete contact with the cavity’s surfaces. After the molding is complete, the rubber is ejected from the mold, and it is allowed to cool and harden. The product is then cleansed of imperfections if necessary and sent for shipment or additional processing.
Applications of Rubber Grommets
Rubber grommets are used to protect other objects. The plastic or rubber insulation around electrical cables is particularly vulnerable to abrasion or to breaking after repeated flexing at its point of entry through a surface. Some wiring varieties are vulnerable to damage if exposed to thin, hard surfaces because of the risk of crimping. Rubber grommets that protect wiring are usually broad and round, which prevents thin wiring from becoming crimped at an angle. In industrial settings, many kinds of machinery and control equipment are housed in punched sheet metal; wire entry points in punched sheet metal are often fitted with rubber grommets to protect wires from becoming damaged. Many factories and warehouses are equipped with ceiling-suspended, retractable power outlets. After repeated pulling and movement, power cables can become damaged or disconnected if not properly secured. Rubber grommets can be used in this situation to snugly hold wires at their point of contact to avoid damage to connection points.
Rubber grommets have nearly innumerable uses in the industrial world. They are used to protect wires, hoses, pipes, and more. They are used as vibration dampers, spacers, and finishing components. They are used to fit into a pre-drilled hole for a tighter fit. All industries use rubber grommet parts, including the automotive, motor, tool, appliance, electronic, and consumer industries. Applications like air lines, wiring, tubing, rope, and cable can benefit from the use of grommets.