In early June 2023, we received a shipment of new fire pit silicone molds, patented and designed by us, but produced by a trusted third-party. The silicone and plastic components arrived separately, and we manually integrated them together for each set. To improve cost-efficiency and logistics, we requested the supplier to package the silicone parts together before shipping.
After a meticulous inventory inspection, we stacked them for efficient storage. About a month later, as we prepared to assemble and ship this batch, an unexpected issue surfaced. All the silicone molds had deformed, rendering them unusable. In our commitment to providing consumers with top-quality products, we chose not to release this inventory into the market and promptly disposed of it.
This experience came at a financial cost of $3000. For us, a small, mini-sized business, this is a significant setback.We are sharing this story to underscore the importance of proper silicone mold care and management. Our hope is that you can learn from our journey to ensure the longevity of your silicone molds.
Here are some methods and recommendations:
1. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
Regularly cleaning silicone molds helps prevent impurities from adhering to the mold surface and ensures a smooth mold surface. Gently wipe the mold with warm water and a mild cleaning agent, then rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow it to air dry.
2. Using Supports to Maintain Silicone Shape
Silicone typically possesses excellent elasticity and flexibility. When stored incorrectly for extended periods and exposed to high-temperature surroundings, silicone is susceptible to distortion due to the absence of adequate support. Promptly encase the silicone in plastic supports after using silicone molds to maintain their original shape.
3. Avoid High Temperatures and Direct Sunlight
Silicone molds are sensitive to high temperatures. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause deformation, aging, or loss of elasticity. Avoid exposing the molds to direct sunlight or high-temperature environments.
4. Avoid Using Sharp Tools
Sharp tools can damage the surface of the silicone mold. Avoid direct contact or scratching the silicone surface. Use soft tools or a cotton cloth to handle the mold.
5. Avoid Chemical Exposure
Avoid contact between the mold and chemicals such as strong acids, strong alkalis, and solvents, as they can cause irreversible damage to the silicone.
6. Proper Storage
Store silicone molds in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place, away from direct sunlight and high-temperature areas. Ensure they are dry and clean when storing.
7. Use Mold Release Agents
Consider using mold release agents to reduce adhesion between the model and the mold, prolonging the mold’s lifespan and improving model surface quality.
8. Avoid Overstretching and Distortion
During use, avoid overstretching or distorting the mold to prevent damage to its structure and shape.
9. Regularly Inspect the Mold
Periodically inspect the mold for wear, cracks, or deformations. Timely addressing issues can extend the mold’s lifespan.