Reprocessing silicones: why throw old product out when you can re-use it?

At Elkem Silicones, we provide both catalyzed and non-catalyzed solutions. To manufacture a product, first a masterbatch, which is not ready for use, is prepared. A catalyst is then added, usually peroxide or platinum, to achieve reticulation which causes a chemical reaction. As a result of this reaction,  crosslinks between silicone chains, thus increasing viscosity and causing the product to harden. After reticulation, the product is ready for use and injection into machines.

However, companies frequently have a surplus in stock of silicone. Over time, the reticulation process continues and these products harden, making it impossible for companies to use them. Once a catalyst is added, the product has a shelf life of between 6 to 12 months during which it must be used. If it is not put to use, the reticulation process will harden it, thus rendering the product useless. At this point, companies have two options: throw the product away, with all the waste treatment regulations that entails, or reprocess the product.

Proper stock management is therefore essential for companies to minimize waste and, in turn, costs.  Instead of throwing money, energy and resources down the drain by chucking these hardened products out, Elkem Silicones has actually come up with a way to fix them. Clients can now send hardened products to Elkem Silicones Mix & Fix Centers where experts will run an analysis on a product, soften it by mixing old product with new product. The rejuvenated product is then sent back to the client who must use it within 15 days. Only silicone rubbers used for turbo hoses, battery cables and exhaust dampers or other applications  can undergo this process.

"Taking care of the environment is vital to any business practice, so that is why we have developed ways to reprocess and extend the shelf life of hardened silicone. With the help of our Mix & Fix Centers, we are capable of injecting new life into old products to minimize waste and help take care of our planet."

Fear not because reprocessing does not alter the properties of the original product as the chemistry stays the same along the process. Rather it allows us to rescue hardened and otherwise useless silicone blocks. Also, it is cheaper than throwing old product out and buying new one. Next time don’t throw out rotted stock, send it to our Mix & Fix Centers for reprocessing instead. It’s good for your company and it’s good for the environment.

Elkem’s commitment to Sustainability

Sustainability is central to our business strategy. Our mission is to provide advanced material solutions shaping a better and more sustainable future, adding value to our stakeholders globally.

Elkem defines sustainability work as continuous efforts to maximise our positive impact on the environment and societies around us, as well as to minimise any negative impact. As a global company, we affect the environment and communities around the world every day. And through the products we make, we have a foot print in our supply chain and make new solutions possible.

Disclosure is a primary part of this engagement, and we can proudly state that in 2020, Elkem received a Gold rating from Ecovadis and was ranked by CDP in the Climate A List.

Read more at Sustainability |