When you consider creating a new silicone product, designing a prototype. Next task? find a supplier. But how to choose the right silicone products supplier? how can you make sure your design translates into higher volume production and reach your quality requirement while staying within your budget? So choosing a reliable silicone supplier for your business will be one of the most difficult and important tasks you must deal with. Let’s look at the basics of sourcing a supplier for your silicone project.
1. Why choose suppliers in China?
When looking for silicone products suppliers, you will need to decide whether you want to source domestically or from overseas. Typically, overseas suppliers are located in Asian countries like China, India and other Southeast Asia countries. But most customers still choosing to buy from China, why? mainly for two points:
- Mature supply chain
- Complete Infrastructures
Though the rising labor costs have been driving factory emigration from China, businesses have sought even cheaper labor in Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia. But the business environment in the Southeast is not that good as expected, recently, many factories who move to Southeast now move back to China.
One of the typical examples is the garment factories. Ken Loo, Secretary General at Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia announced 70 factories bankrupted till now, it has been doubled compared with last year, and the numbers are growing. The main reasons are：labor cost increasing, logistics cost increase due to the imperfect supply chain, low work efficiency, frequent mass strike increase the difficulty of factory management.
China, as the “World Factory”, virtually everything today is manufactured in China. Because China has relative low manufacturing costs and labor cost which makes overseas manufacturing ideal for the common business. In China, there are different areas that concentrate on producing the same product lines, for example, electronic (Shenzhen), Car parts (Taizhou), Stationary (Ningbo). The mature supply chain and complete infrastructures ensure the production going on well with higher manufacturing capabilities.etc.
2. Where to search for a silicone manufacturer?
- online sourcing platforms like Alibaba
- trade show
Many suppliers in Alibaba are distributors or trading companies, however, most of them will tell you they are a factory, but they most likely get their products from a real silicone manufacturer. It doesn’t mean the distributors or trading companies are not good, it’s up to your choice.
If your volume is large or you create your own design, it would be better to dig on Google or Bing search engine to find the real silicone manufacturers for your project. Especially when it comes to customized production—these are usually done with private label manufacturers who provide OEM services to their customers, and you will get a better price too.
3. How to choose the right silicone supplier?
Selecting the right silicone suppliers for your silicone projects is crucial to your business success. The supplier should be able to deliver your products and service on time, at the right price, and meet your quality standards. Here are some points you need to take into consideration.
- factory size
It is widely accepted that it’s safer to select a big silicone factory for better quality and service. Large companies have better-established organizations and standards, each department concentrates on its own duty, so they can get better quality control on your project. But big business often has large, complex processes with low efficiency and a lack of innovation, the price will be higher, and if you are ordering smaller volumes, you are not likely to be treated with great respect.
Small suppliers with smaller processes are more flexible than larger companies, they are more likely to be willing and able to modify the way they operate to your particular requirement, you can work closely with them and get fast response. Price will be more competitive for small vendors. For quality control, it is important to clarify your quality standard for all aspects before mass production, ask the factory to perform as agreed. You can also appoint a third-party quality inspector to check the quality before cargo sent out.
- Processing equipment
For silicone manufacturing, mainly two parts: mold and product. The compression molding production of silicone products is, the uncured silicone rubber pieces placed between two halves of a pre-heated tool mold. The mold is then closed under an overall pressure from the vulcanizer molding machine. The pressure ensures the material forced into all area of the mold cavity, making it heated by conduction from the mold surface, and cured to the shape of the cavity.
So the mold must be made for silicone products manufacturing, CNC mill machine will be needed. Some factories don’t have their own in-house mold tool shop, they have to work with their mold-making partners who specialize in mold making with CNC mill machines, thus it may take longer for mold making.
Working with silicone factories with their own CNC tool shop will largely simplify communication and shorten your project timeline. Especially when you customize your own design, streamline the product development process.
- R&D support
Whether you have a creative idea, or just sketch or complete 3D CAD files. R&D support from silicone manufacturer will ensure your design is feasible both for mold making and volume production, help you save time and money by getting involved in the early stage of product development.
- Experience and Expertise
Working with experienced full-service silicone suppliers that can bring your products from a simple idea to a product, manufacturing, assembly and packing to shipping will be helpful and encouraging.
Finding a reliable silicone supplier means better communication and better quality products, consistent support and on-time delivery.
Once you find a suitable supplier, by visiting their website you will get an impression on them, then you need to approach them by RFQ, knowing more about them through communication. It requires a little more patience and perseverance to find the perfect partner for your silicone business.