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Manufacturing Help -- Need a highly viscous material

  1. Feb 4, 2017 #1
    First time post, I appreciate any advice!

    I own a small manufacturing company that makes RF connectors and adapters. Our automated machinery makes the connector bodies out of brass, and many of the parts we make have fairly delicate threads or features that are easily damaged when one part exits the machine and lands on another part via the machine's exit "chute".

    We often run our machines "lights out", so I'm hoping to find an inexpensive, and non-toxic highly viscous gel or liquid that we can use to drop parts into as they exit a machine. Ideally, we would place this viscous liquid in a 5 gallon bucket to allow for part accumulation yet preventing parts from dropping directly onto each other or hitting each other with force.

    We've tried a cornstarch and water mixture and that provided the viscosity we want, but the mixture began to smell badly after a day or two and frankly was a mess to clean off of the parts when they dropped into the 5 gallon bucket. I've seen 5 gallon buckets of silicone liquid that appears to be viable solution, but those are sold for $200 or more, and I would need hundreds of gallons per year.

    Does anyone have any suggestions of a relatively low cost industrial solution, or a home made option? For reference, the viscosity of honey may be too high, probably looking for something slightly less viscous than honey, but more viscous than motor oil. End use is at room temperature.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 4, 2017 #2
    Gear oil? It is more viscous than motor oil. Not sure how it measures against honey, but I recall the thick oil additives (STP, 'Miracle Oil') were honey-like.

    This chart shows gear oils from 70W to 250W, compared to typical 30W motor oil.


    I can't visualize your set up, but how about an air flow to slow them down? No clean up.
  4. Feb 6, 2017 #3


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    Maybe you could use clean water in the 5 gallon bucket, but cover the surface with a layer of soft free floating beads or balls. The components will hit the layer of soft balls first, roll through the layer, then sink at a controlled rate to the collect at the bottom.
  5. Feb 8, 2017 #4


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    Exit onto a moving conveyor belt?
  6. Feb 8, 2017 #5


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    Welcome to the PF. :smile:

    What is the final packaging like? Maybe just invest in combining this fabrication process with the final packaging step.
  7. Feb 28, 2017 #6
  8. Feb 28, 2017 #7

    Viscosity adjusted by solution with hydrocarbons
  9. May 24, 2017 #8
    metamusal-- and mineral oil - any source of vegin -pectin- biodegreatable!!!
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