Manufacturing of condoms
There are around 9 billion condoms used each year.
For the last 70 years most of the condoms manufactured have been made with natural rubber latex and are manufactured mostly in South East Asia. Similar to the tapping of maple trees for syrup, rubber trees are tapped to extract liquid latex. Once the latex is treated with chemicals,
it is ready to be used to for condom manufacturing.
More chemicals are added to the latex in the compounding process, where the latex is put
in large vats. During the compounding process, added to the raw natural latex are chemical preservatives, vulcanisers, and other compounding agents. The composition of the resulting
latex determines the condom's strength, sensitivity and suppleness. The solution produced
at this stage is then fed into other large vats.
Formers are glass moulds that are dipped twice into the compounded liquid latex.
In the dipping process, the condom shape is formed. After dipping is completed the condoms are dried in the drying ovens then sent to the leaching and stripping tanks. Leaching is the process that takes off the latex residue and odour.
Next the condoms are washed and dried and covered in talc to remove any stickiness
in the latex. This completes the primary production process.
The condoms are then immersed in the powdering tank. In powdering a mixture of magnesium carbonate, cornstarch, and anti-bacterial chemicals prevents the latex from sticking.
After the condoms are made they need to be tested. There are two types of testing procedures conducted on the condoms.
The dry electrical test is performed on every ?condom manufactured and plays an important
role in the quality control process. An electric current is introduced through every single condom to test for pinholes and overall porosity. Any condom that does not pass the electrical test
The second type of testing is done in a factory laboratory. Five tests are performed
on randomly selected samples of condoms from each batch of condoms produced.
These test are called: air burst, water burst, aging and wet electrical.
Vacuum testing is done on the packaging as well. These test are performed ?on three-month, six-month and five-year and un-aged condoms.
Once the condoms have been manufactured and tested, the final stage in the manufacturing process is foiling where condoms are lubricated and inserted into aluminium-based packages. Final testing is performed on the packaged condoms before they are approved for shipping. Prior to shipping condoms are stored in a temperature-controlled environment For the last 70 years most of the condoms