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Silicone vs rubber
As opposed to rubber, the production process to create quality silicone does not require the addition of questionable stabilising agents. Although rubber production processes are being continually adapted in attempts reduce the use of arguable carcinogens, this inevitably reflects on the stability of the rubber. Whereas with silicone, the production process is such, that the resulting material is completely stable without the need for toxic additives.
Basic science tells us that under a microscope a smooth surface is more hygienic than a rough/cracked surface. The uneven surface of rubber allows for microscopic germs and bacteria to reside inside. This is a problem that only gets worse with time as the rubber begins to deteriorate, allowing it to harbour more and more bacteria. Silicone is completely smooth on a microscopic level and remains so throughout its life, making it unquestionably more hygienic than rubber alternatives.
The life of any product should always be seen in relation to its cost. Something is not necessary cheap if it continually needs replacing. Durability in commercial materials such as rubber and silicone is a financial concern as well as a hygienic issue. On average silicone lasts four times longer than rubber. At just twice the price of rubber, this clearly delivers sizeable financial savings long-term, as well as cutting down on the hassle and manpower to replace items.
There's a lot to be said for transparency. If a problem can be seen, it can be fixed. If a length of black rubber tubing becomes blocked, there is no way of telling exactly where that blockage is. If the blockage is complete, then the tubing is redundant. However, maybe worse would be a partial blockage, restricting flow, slowing productivity and negatively effecting hygiene. Silicone is clear. Blockages and problems can be spotted easily and fixed straight away, without any detriment to quality. Alternatively, you can add dyes to the silicone mix in the manufacturing process to create whatever colour you want.
As soon as anything starts to degrade, it starts to become unstable and cause pollutants. Rubber is a "dying" material; continually changing, it is degrading from the moment it is produced and this process is considerably speeded up by stress, pressure, changes in temperature and by exposure to UV light. Silicone doesn't. It's is not effected by UV light or extremes in temperature. Eventual fails will result in simple tears, providing a clear indication that it needs replacing, without causing any long term contamination.
Looking at the unique properties of silicone compared to rubber, it is easy to see why silicone is the material of choice for medical applications and for use within the food processing industry. Where repetitive action is required, the flexible nature of silicone can withstand continuous stresses and pressures for a far longer period than rubber and without corroding or cracking in the process. This leads to less contamination, financial savings and an all round more hygienic environment.