Compounding and Formulation Development

Enabling clients to quickly develop and assess plastic compounds and rubber formulations, our experts provide confidential and independent support that helps our clients maintain their competitive advantage. Laboratory scale material batches can be flexibly produced under Design of Experiment (DOE), test specimens prepared and the properties of interest can be characterised within our accredited laboratories.

Smithers Rapra provides independent expertise in the development of compounds for both plastics and rubbers. 

Our expertise includes:

  • Nanofillers
  • Natural fibres and fillers
  • Flame retardants
  • CO2 assisted processing
  • Recycled polymers
  • Automotive compounds
  • Conductive polymers
  • Medical polymers

Plastic Rubber

Plastic Compounding

Smithers Rapra does not view compound development of plastics in isolation - to help you achieve optimum material performance and processing, we offer an end-to-end service from formulation and sample manufacture through to extensive physical testing or chemical analysis.

Guidance from Formulation to Material Testing
We regularly work with material suppliers, product manufacturers and designers. Using our in-house compounding and material test facilities, trial compound batches can be designed, manufactured and tested to ensure that they meet your precise requirements, all without interruption to your production lines or tying up your technical staff.

We offer a confidential, fast turn-around service and support in:

  • Optimising existing compounds to achieve better performance and durability.
  • Independent trials and assessments of different fillers, fibres and additives.
  • Developing materials to meet existing specifications.
  • Developing bespoke compounds with your complete ownership and control of formulations.
  • Developing materials for novel applications with only an outline specification.

Prototype Evaluation
Having designed and produced compound trial lots our team can manufacture short runs, sample pieces or prototypes and fully test against product requirements or alternative formulations.

Some of our recent projects include:

  • Masterbatch development
  • Assessment of additives for films
  • Flame retardant compound development
  • Screw optimisation including PEPT-Flow

contact us 
For guidance with plastic compounding please get in touch with our featured plastics expert.

Rubber Compounding

Developing the correct compound is crucial to product performance. Using our in-house compound processing and material testing facilities we can develop, manufacture and test trial batches of compounds to ensure they meet your specification requirements.

The type and level of ingredient is critical in achieving required durability and properties. Unlike many materials, rubber is compounded with numerous different additives and often there are no 'standard' formulations available which fulfil product requirements. With a wide range of additives available - polymers, fillers, plasticisers, vulcanising agents, protective agents and process aids - the choice of type and level of ingredient is critical in achieving final properties and the required durability.

An incorrectly formulated compound can lead to premature product failure, warranty claims, significant cost and loss of reputation. A high proportion of rubber product failures relate back to wrong choice of rubber type and/or poorly designed formulation, meaning that methods used to formulate a rubber compound are just as important as selecting the correct polymer type.

Independent rubber compound formulation and material development
Smithers Rapra has a wealth of knowledge and experience in rubber compound formulation and material development. We can support you with:

  • Developing a material for a novel application.
  • Meeting an existing specification.
  • Optimising an existing compound.
  • Replacing obsolete or restricted ingredients.
  • Ownership and control of your compound formulation.

Using our in-house compound processing and material testing facilities, we can design trial batches of compounds. These batches can then be manufactured and tested to ensure they meet specification requirements. Once a suitable compound has been developed for an application, we supply trial batches for a factory evaluation or alternatively we can manufacture and test prototype components and assist with scaling up to production. 

Develop and own your compound formulation 
Testing your own compound formulation gives you ownership and control over the development process, and means you can optimise to achieve superior performance and durability. Independent testing gives the flexibility to change your product manufacturer without the need to change or develop a new compound, or resubmit the formulation for approval. It is a cost effective option when compared to running expensive in-house tests.

Some of our recent projects include:

  • Specialised seal compounds for the  nuclear industry.
  • Hose compounds in the automotive and chemical industries.
  • Type component formulations in the automotive industry.
  • Military vehicle components in the defence industry.
  • Offshore and Marine products in the oil and gas industries.

contact us 
For guidance with rubber compounding please get in touch with our featured rubbers expert.