Similar to tapered plugs, pull plugs are used in metal finishing and masking processes. Pull plugs are for through holes designed to mask off the hole so that metal finishing can work up to it. This means that the areas covered by rubber pull plugs are not exposed to the conditions the rest of the metal is enduring. You can also remove these plugs easily after the metal plating process is complete, due to the flexible material they consist of. When deciding between neoprene plugs and silicone pull plugs for electroplating, it is important to distinguish the differences. Discover the differences between neoprene plugs and silicone pull plugs below.
What is a neoprene plug?
Neoprene was the first synthetic oil resistant elastomer created in the world and has held its performance for 75 years. The purpose of neoprene plugs is to provide a waterproof seal for the desired area that is being finished. With certain metals, such as copper, moisture or water penetration can cause a hazardous chemical reaction. Neoprene provides resistance to moisture, sunlight, oxidation, and gasoline. This makes it a suitable material to withstand specific conditions in metal finishing. Neoprene pull plugs can reach maximum operating temperatures of 170°C making it applicable to some hot conditions.
What are silicone pull plugs?
Silicone is a synthetic material which is partially organic. As an excellent electrical insulator, silicone displays fire resistant properties and thermal strength. It is a material for tapered plugs as it can withstand extreme temperatures of up to 320 °C. In particular for metal finishing and masking processes, climates for certain metals can exceed above average. As a result, they will require a component that can resist these high temperatures. Silicone pull plugs are ideal for these types of solutions because they are made of a heat resistant material. However, silicone does not react well with all chemicals. Oils are a particular chemical which silicone rubber is not suitable for use with. This is because silicone has poor tear strength and is more fracturable.
What are the differences between neoprene and silicone?
Silicone can withstand extreme temperatures but is not suitable for use with or around oil. In contrast, Neoprene is less suitable for high temperatures and works well for resisting moisture. If the climate conditions are likely to be hotter than 170°C, silicone pull plugs are the most suitable solution. Both neoprene plugs and silicone plugs are reusable without leaving any carbon deposits. As both materials also have different properties, we recommend you speak to a professional metal masking company so that the right material is selected for your desired application.
Hi-Tek supply a range of metal masking and finishing products for a variety of application purposes. Our products include tapered plugs and pull plugs made of silicone and neoprene. To find out which products would be most suitable for your function, contact a member of Hi-Tek today. Call 01202 661 300 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch.