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Solutions that fit like a glove; tackling challenges in the rubber industry

Rubber gloves

Caldic Malaysia’s resourcefulness was proven when working on the high-speed production of rubber gloves with a key manufacturer. The production bottlenecks that surfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic, when demand for gloves skyrocketed, were efficiently resolved by successful work on coating and cleaning formulations.

Rubber technology expert

It’s probably no coincidence that Caldic met the challenge: Lister Lam, Caldic Malaysia Division Manager for Industrial Chemicals, has a degree in Chemical Engineering, a diploma in Rubber Technology, and years of experience in the rubber industry. “When I first joined the company,” says Lister, “I spent the first six months working in the lab studying the products that our suppliers sell to us. As a result, I felt confident providing advice to our customers in the glove industry about which of those products was applicable for any particular job or product.”

The production problem involved the thin polymer layer that lines the inside of many gloves produced for the health care industry. This coating serves two purposes - to reduce the tackiness of the glove so it is easier to put on and take off, and to serve as an anti-allergic barrier between the skin and natural or synthetic rubber. Of course, the demand for rubber gloves skyrocketed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so solving the problem was of the utmost importance.

Formulation support

Lister explains, “The customer had decided to produce their own polymer coating, but they were experiencing problems finding a satisfactory formulation. Fortunately, we were able to assist them with the formulation, the preparation of a prototype product, and then troubleshooting as they took it through a trial run.” The customer is now much better equipped to meet the increased demand for high-quality rubber gloves. And subsequent to that success, Lister and his team provided assistance with another production issue. Rubber gloves are produced by dipping a hand-shaped ‘former’ - a sort of mold - into a vat of liquid rubber, and these formers must be thoroughly cleaned before a new glove can be produced. The glove producer was experiencing problems with the deterioration of one of the cleaning agents. Caldic worked with one of its key suppliers to deliver a solution that eliminated a serious bottleneck in the high-speed production process.

New facilities

Caldic Malaysia partners closely with customers to provide tailor-made solutions for both products and production processes. Much of the research is carried out in Caldic Malaysia’s application laboratories, while toll manufacturers carry out the actual production. In 2020 operations of Caldic Malaysia were consolidated in a new facility, which includes offices, warehouse space, and a packaging facility, as well as specialized laboratories for personal care, coatings and food. “This new facility will enable us to even better support our customers. We’ll be looking to expand our portfolio by targeting the agriculture, automotive and petrochemical sectors. I think we’re well positioned to do that because most of our competitors focus exclusively on sales, but we distinguish ourselves by providing our customers with solutions.”