Positive Environmental Commitment

Addressing environmental change is one of the greatest challenges in achieving a sustainable future. At Rahco, our commitment to the principles of sustainability is fundamental to who we are, embedded naturally in our culture of relentless pursuit of value creation for customers.

Utilizing flashless mold technologies, low-waste or wasteless and energy efficient processes, we can address performance challenges and deliver higher-quality parts that are better for both the environment and our customers’ bottom lines. While we celebrate these concepts, we must also acknowledge the implications of a systemic issue inherent in all manufacturing, or any operation for that matter: the fact that production also drives waste, burns energy, and threatens climate change.

As the use and importance of rubber continues to increase, a focus on waste management is paramount. As of 2017, U.S. post-consumer rubber and leather waste disposal exceeded 9.1 million tons — and with exception of approximately 40% (thanks to the advancements made in recycling rubber waste from tires), virtually all non-tire rubber products are discarded into landfills and some materials can remain stagnant for hundreds of years.

As a leading provider of custom-molded rubber parts, we understand this impact. Here’s how our focus on highly-engineered, precision rubber components translates into sustainable manufacturing…

“Rahco is a recognized leader in sustainable manufacturing. What is best for our customer should also be best for the environment — and we look forward to working and collaborating with all of our value chain partners to contribute to a sustainable world.”
Steve Anton, President of Rahco Rubber

Rahco is very focused on mitigating residual molding waste with every mold and production process we design, helping minimize the amount of rubber waste that is transported to the landfill. We utilize the most economically beneficial and waste eliminating molding processes, via state-of-the-art injection mold systems, flashless and ultra-low waste transfer molding, compression, vacuum, conventional transfer, insert substrate overmolding and valve gate molding.

Waste Prevention & Sustainable Rubber Molding

Maximizing Material Yield through the Eco-Efficient Use of Advanced Flashless, Wasteless Mold Design and Manufacturability 

Flashless Wasteless molding is one of the greatest improvements in rubber molding — and new techniques have made the process even more efficient. While the initial reason was obviously to save compound, it also has shown to cut cycle times due to heating less rubber compound in each heat due to the absence of a rubber pad — all of which has a positive environmental impact.

Flashless Waste Free Molding

At Rahco, we mold flash free parts using the transfer, low waste method to create the least amount of byproduct or unwanted-excess material, using hardened stainless-steel cavity inserts that run in special vacuum presses. We use this process to eliminate cryogenic or die trim finishing, thereby reducing costs and keeping the parts free of contamination.
wasteless rubber molding After - Waste Reduced from 462g to 9g

Cold Runner Manifold Systems

In injection molding, Rahco incorporates cold runner manifold systems to eliminate the primary and secondary runner systems that conventional hot runner molds produce. These runners are not able to be recycled and would otherwise contribute to the landfill waste stream. With cold runner designed molds, Rahco can achieve up to 90% reduction in this type of waste
After - Waste Reduced from 462 Grams to 9 Grams

Cold Pot Transfer Molding

This low waste design is great for most applications with the only the small sprues being relegated to landfill. It is common to see a reduction in waste of over 90% when compared with a conventional hot transfer molding process.

Understanding Material Impact

Critical to our success is the ability to mix rubber compounds in house, which is a vital starting point in providing best in class rubber parts. Our in-house chemists work to develop a formulation based on specification(s), end item application’s necessities, and performance —using materials that highly processable and cost effective, but also sustainable whenever possible. For example, natural rubber can be recycled into another product.

Energy Efficiencies & Reusable Resources

Diligent Focus on Reducing Carbon Footprint through Energy Savings, Reusable and Clean Technology

As an environmental advocate, Rahco works diligently to reduce its carbon footprint and landfill impact. In addition to advanced, sustainable molding capabilities, our production delivers operational efficiencies with shorter startups and shutdowns, as well as quicker cycle times for a reduction in energy and eco-friendly processes that extend beyond the molding process. For example, after molding the part, we often aren’t finished. Everything from energy required to extract parts, to mold cleaning, to de-flashing (if needed), to secondary operations and beyond — Rahco looks to drive efficiencies every step of the way.

Cryogenic De-Flashing

Rahco has incorporated a 9,000-gallon liquid nitrogen tank to its facility that feeds a rotating bin that quickly clears flash, trim or excess rubber; avoiding the need for labor-intensive manual operation, which helps avoid secondary operations and added waste. In this process, the parts are frozen or brought to -100* or point of the material’s embrittlment point and subjected to a fine mesh media which helps to break off the excess flash. Plastic shot-blast media can be recycled and re-used several times.

Dry Ice Pneumatic Blasting for Cleaning

Compressed air and pelletized dry ice blasting accelerates the mold cleaning process, dissolving any containments or excess material from the mold minute geometries of a cavity. This process is completed quickly while the mold is in the press reducing cycle times and energy consumption. It also eliminates the engineer’s exposure to chemical cleaning agents.

Repurposing of Gaylord Containers & Expendable Dunnage

When Rahco receives materials, pallets are delivered with large containers and packed with dunnage. Unlike many suppliers we do not simply discard these immediately into a landfill, we reuse as much expendable packaging as possible to deliver finished goods with such containers. It significantly reduces waste, saves time, energy and costs for everyone.

Optimizing Efficiency Across Our Operations

From LED lighting equipped with motion detection that ensures lower output to the use of biodegradable aqueous based cleaners, we look for energy savings and eco-friendly processes across our entire 60,000 sq ft manufacturing facility while supporting our teams’ safety and workplace wellness. These are just some Rahco’s efforts, in addition to a robust recycling program that reduces waste and the consumption of resources with a strict effort to ensure unavoidable waste is recycled, reused or recovered

Made in the USA

Being Made in the USA is a status that comes with a great deal of pride, responsibility, and benefits for our value chain partners. When OEMs source parts from overseas manufacturers, they sacrifice quality, cycle times and now greater costs concerns, but it also means more logistical waste and emissions. Many suppliers also lack the ability to perform secondary operations, which creates the need for additional shipping, production, and waste. Made in the USA ensures the greatest commitment to social responsibility and sustainable manufacturing.