Rubber rollers are essential in various manufacturing processes, including printing, pressing, squeezing, conveying, sanding, grinding, embossing, feeding, cooling, and so much more, and each application has specific roller requirements. At Integrated Solutions, we manufacture custom rubber rollers, along with conveyors, plastic parts, heat induction coils, gears, material handling equipment, and more for our clients across industries.
What Are Rubber Rollers?
A rubber roller is comprised of a steel, carbon fiber, or aluminum alloy core covered by a layer of elastomer compounds. While the shaft needs to be strong and durable as the primary structural component of the roller, it’s the cover and its unique properties that make rubber rollers so versatile and effective. By using different materials, we can customize rollers to meet your needs for shock absorption and resistance to impact, solvents, oils, water, UV light, abrasion, corrosion, and more.
Companies in many industries require rollers to help them move products and materials. It’s a simple concept, but that doesn’t mean one type of roller can do the same job in every application. With thoughtful design and customization, our custom rubber rollers are perfectly suited to take on any task, ensuring efficient equipment operation, high-quality production results, and long service life.
Rubber Roller Advantages
Industrial rubber rollers are efficient, economical, and easily customized with materials that offer the properties you need in your manufacturing process. Rubber is elastic and forgiving, which offers protection for the products it handles, as well as for the roller core. Where a metal roller can be scratched, dented, and cracked in the course of operations and material handling, the elasticity of rubber rollers mitigates the risk of damage. It offers both cushioning and structure, allowing it to handle delicate materials like paper or fine textiles. When rubber does become damaged or worn out, it’s easier and less expensive to repair than metal or various fiber-reinforced composites.
In roller applications, rubber offers many advantages:
- High coefficient of friction for excellent traction with moving parts
- Protects the metal core from damage due to impact, abrasion, and chemicals
- Good impact strength to resist deformation
- Good chemical resistance
- Easily replaceable—while the more expensive core is protected, the rubber covering can easily and cost-effectively be removed and replaced
- Elastic properties protect the product and compensate for small changes in machine function or product misalignment
- A wide range of rubber materials allows for soft or hard rollers offering various mechanical properties and environmental resistance
Applications and Industries for Rubber Rollers
Many rollers feature grooves to help release the heat created by friction, smooth wrinkles, or prevent belts from slipping. Between the groove patterns, the size and shape of the roller, and the particular rubber material used, rollers can be fully customized to meet exacting specifications in a range of industries:
- Laminating Machines: These rollers must be made of a heat-resistant material, like silicone, for large or small lamination projects.
- Paper Industry: For processes like drying, sizing, and calendaring, the paper industry uses various rubber rollers made of materials like EPDM, styrene-butadiene (SBR), neoprene, polyurethane, and natural rubber that meet specific needs for hardness, temperature resistance, and abrasion resistance.
- Plastics, Steel Manufacturing, and Roofing Materials Manufacturing Industries: Conveyor, drive, and grooved rollers are common in all sorts of manufacturing processes. Rollers are also used for grinding, sanding, and more.
- Textile Mills: Spreader rollers are used in the textile industry, as well as the paper industry, to remove wrinkles.
- Wood Industry: Polyurethane is a common choice for rollers in the wood industry because it’s flexible, durable, and resistant to low temperatures, oils, solvents, water, and impact. It also offers excellent shock absorption. Rollers in this industry are used for conveying, sanding, grinding, and more.
- Decorating: Rubber rollers are used for texture and pattern painting and specialized cleaning applications.
Rubber Roller Materials
The core of the roller is usually made of steel, stainless steel, aluminum, or another durable material suitable for the particular system and the demands it faces. For the rubber covering, each application has different requirements for impact and shock resistance, abrasion and chemical resistance, temperature, and more. Fortunately, with so many material options available, you can choose a rubber compound with the physical and mechanical properties required to meet those needs. Some common materials include:
- Neoprene (Polychloroprene): This synthetic rubber offers excellent water, oil, and heat resistance, and it’s ideal for coating, laminating, paper, and textile manufacturing, as well as offset, web, and flexo printing. It’s latex-free and available in various densities, so you can find the appropriate balance of support and cushion. However, it’s important to note that neoprene doesn’t do well in low-temperature applications, and it is more expensive than some other elastomer options.
- Neoprene + PVC: Dense and durable with excellent chemical resistance, PVC rubber rollers are reliable, cost-effective, and resistant to corrosion. PVC adds additional wear resistance to neoprene.
- Silicone: Commonly used for high temperature applications with high release properties (limiting the amount of materials that stick to it), silicone rollers offer good resistance to moisture, light, and ozone. They’re commonly used in hot stamp, heat transfer and heat seal applications, laminating, film, medical imaging, mail sorting, cleaning, and extrusion rubber roller applications. Compared to other materials, silicone may have lower mechanical properties.
- RTV Silicone: RTV silicone is water repellent and available in soft to medium hardnesses, making it suitable for printing and photocopying applications. Though more expensive than regular silicone, it’s exceptionally stable and holds up well under challenging or harsh conditions.
- Polyurethane/Urethane: Tough and versatile, polyurethane is a go-to choice for nearly any rubber roller application, including paper making, embossing, laminating, converting, and harsh mechanical environments like steel mills. It offers high shock absorption, fatigue resistance, impingement resistance, load-bearing, and rebound.
- Hypalon: Ideal for coating, laminating, embossing, and extrusion rubber roller applications, Hypalon offers UV, abrasion, chemical, and flame resistance. It’s waterproof and maintains its integrity in extreme temperatures, and features a tensile strength of up to 3,000 psi.
- Ethylene Propylene (EPDM): Chosen for its chemical, heat, UV light, and ozone resistance, EPDM rubber rollers are common in the printing industry. This versatile material offers good weathering resistance as well as superior insulating and dielectric properties while maintaining its mechanical properties in a wide range of temperatures.
Compression-molded in diameters of ¼ to 36 inches and lengths of up to 200 inches, ISI supplies grooved, straight, or spiral rollers made of materials like neoprene, silicone, RTV, polyurethane/urethane, Hypalon, or EPDM.
Rubber Rollers at Integrated Solutions
Integrated Solutions has manufacturing capabilities both in the USA (for time-sensitive inquiries that require quick turnaround) and overseas factories (for inquiries that have more time flexibility and cost effectiveness is of key importance). ISI handles all communication, translation, metric conversion, shipping, and importing challenges to streamline your manufacturing experience, eliminating hassle while saving you time and money.
We have years of experience manufacturing rollers for companies in industries like aerospace and automotive, warehousing and distribution, the plastic industry, and others. Whether you need one roller or hundreds of them, we offer high-quality solutions customized to meet your exact specifications.
All our products are backed by a full warranty and 100% guarantee, and we handle all service claims from our California offices. You don’t have to navigate language barriers or time zone challenges—we do it all for you. Our knowledgeable customer care team can help you determine which type of rubber roller is best for your application, and we’re here to answer any questions you might have throughout the manufacturing process. Contact us to learn more about rubber rollers and the various rubber roller materials we have available, or request a quote for your project.