Liquid silicone rubber gets a lot of attention for technical components like medical products and lighting fixtures.
But the material has plenty of applications in consumer products, too.
LSR applications were among exhibits on display by Unterkulm, Switzerland-based Poesia Holding AG at the Swiss Plastics Expo 2017 exhibition in Lucerne.
Among various LSR parts on display, the group was particularly proud of a new LSR application in the form of Poesia's Groomy-brand all-LSR hair care brushes for cats and dogs. These brushes are produced by the group's BK Brändli AG subsidiary, which was founded in 1977 but only started LSR injection molding in 2014.
BK Brändli also produces solid silicone parts and a well-established core activity in production and sale of milled and turned metal parts such as threaded inserts.
While Daniel Brändli is managing director at this subsidiary company, he and other members of the Brändli family also hold management positions at other Poesia group companies, which also include silicone seal production and profile extrusion at PBC Polymer AG.
Aside from the single-component LSR Groomy brushes and other products, including door stoppers, also on display at Swiss Plastics Expo 2017, Brändli molds two-component LSR parts. It has been molding all LSR parts on a single Engel e-Victory 80 all-electric injection molding machine supported by LSR mixing and dosing equipment from Elmet. The equipment enables BK Brändli to also produce LSR parts meeting stringent food industry requirements entirely automatically, the company says.
BK Brändli added two more LSR injection molding machines in 2014 but suggested LSR expansion would not stop there, as there is sufficient building space to install up to 10 LSR injection molding units, with associated LSR mixing and dosing systems.
The company perceives its role as seeking out market niches in order to satisfy and primarily provide high value in meeting customer needs, "at a time when there is much competition and price pressure, with mass production dominating a large part of the industrial world."
The "100 percent purest silicone, hot washable and dishwasher-safe" Groomy brushes are produced in LSR of two different hardness levels, allowing for more or less sensitive pet fur. And there are versions allowing for both short and long hair, for different breeds of both cats and dogs.
Groomy brushes are in fact very multifunctional, as they can be used on one side of the brush to remove loose hair and clean the fur, but the other side has a surface profile enabling the brush to also remove hair from clothes and upholstered furniture, as well as for final pet cleaning.
Differences in the profile surface on the side used to treat cats and dogs allow the brush to be used for a massaging function to improve the pet's blood circulation in the skin and the condition of muscles.
Poesia says the absence of any metal in the LSR brush means it is impossible to injure cats and dogs during their hair care. The brush should be wetted with water when caring for cats, in order to dissipate static electricity.
Poesia recommends using several times a week on dog hair, as otherwise "the sebaceous glands become encrusted and the hair will start to smell badly."
The company cites a statement made by the pet shop Kaufmann's Tiershop as demonstrating beneficial characteristics of the Groomy brush: "Due to the soft and flexible structure of the silicone, the brush optimally adapts to any body shape and, compared with other brushes, it has the essential advantage of not hanging up anywhere or setting off an unpleasant feeling on bony protrusions, such as for example on greyhounds, which can set off resistance to treatment."