Protective rubber linings are typically regarded by people as part of the mobile technology revolution. They’re the coverings and cases that dress up expensive smartphones. Such impact-absorbing cases are a blessing for our electronics-obsessed society, but they’re a one trick circus act when compared against their more adept industrial cousins. Small rubber jackets stop clumsy teenagers from crying in frustration at a lost Twitter account, but a vigilant rubber lining is designed to cope with aggressive attacks, a flow of sharp-edged rocks and caustic chemicals that would otherwise grind the underlying material into an aged, non-functioning mess.
Safeguarding industrial parts and their housings is a full-time job. Engineers design mechanisms out of strong alloys, graded steel amalgams that are fabricated to survive unimaginable stresses, but the fact is any alloy can be worn away when the right corrosive or abrasive medium is attacking the metal. And, at least in industrial scenarios, time is the one ally that’s not on an engineer’s side. Time sides with abrasion and caustic chemicals, leeching away the structural integrity of the metal, day after day and month after month. This is why protective rubber linings are such integral parts of any industrial domain. They’re the intermediary layers between expensive forged metal parts and that abrasive stream of aggregate matter coursing down a screening system. They present a chemically-neutral face to the acid waste left over from an electroplating process within a metalworking facility. And, scaling up from our tiny smartphone example, monolithic slabs of rubber lining are the best way to absorb the impact of one heavy part against another.
Imagine a situation where parts are under attack from different forces and you’ll find rubber lining hard at work.
A common use for everyday rubber jacketing is found in the smartphones that fill everyone’s pockets. Industrial applications are quick to fill an engineer’s thoughts, with mining lining covering hoppers, screens and conveyor guards, but this is only the beginning. Rubber lining brings the properties of different inert materials to the impact-absorbing party, adding chemical neutrality, antistatic properties and resistance to UV radiation to an already comprehensive mix. But, at the end of the day, it’s all about extending the life of the material below the lining, of ending abrasion and chemical reactivity so that the surface below defies aging effects.