Whether users’ core systems run or not, engineering sealing precision components indeed make the difference. When users are looking for quality solutions from a true partner (not just a provider), they have several key questions. This article provides answers to top frequently asked questions related to the manufacturing, value and performance of sealing solutions.
Which qualities do users look for in their precision components? After years of providing sealing solutions for industrial, oil and gas, automotive, aerospace and other industries, it has been discovered that there are some engineering commonalities amongst them. An overview is given below:
Engineering Seals: 3 Top FAQs
1. Performance: How does your seal compare to others on the market?
This is invariably a top question in Saint-Gobain’s initial design meetings. The Rulon® fluoropolymer materials, OmniSeal® spring-energized and rotary lip seals and Meldin® thermoplastic/thermoset materials are specifically designed to outlast the components where they are installed, providing customers a lifetime of confidence. These materials have a wide range of temperature tolerances (from cryogenic to 600 °F) with long durability and very-low emissions leakage for excellent service.
Customers are not only advised to find a partner that has a wide range of good products but also one that has good problem-solving skills. Engineers are important pieces because they need to solve immediate performance challenges and also meet specific application requirements. Performance can relate to several different factors ranging from temperature, pressure and leakage to durability, manufacturing and many more.
2. Manufacturing: What does your process look like?
Development of precision components starts with plenty of questions before reaching the drawing stage. Customers are recommended to find a partner with a highly-skilled technical sales force. This way, they can ask important questions at the initial design meeting itself to get the part “first-time right.” With this method, customers can save their valuable time and money on a retrofit or redesign of precision components later down the line.
For example, in the automotive industry, Saint-Gobain is aware of the fact that the total weight has to be lowered in order to maximize fuel efficiency. However, users may also wonder if automotive components can withstand the oil they are using – What is the PPM (or the rate of failure in parts per million) on this seal? Is the viscosity compatible with the seal? A technical sales person can answer these questions and offer recommendations.
In addition, many OEMs ask about the assembly and traceability of a sealing product as it concerns the manufacturing process. Users require reliable assembly with a low risk of damage to parts. This can be obtained by paying close attention to seal packaging. Best practice is to search for those materials that are packaged for both production and protection.
As an example, “clean seals” have low-dust packaging in order to reduce the contamination of components. The traceability of a product is also extended by packaging and this product should be clearly marked through a bar code to help separate the components in the event of a product recall.
Another important point to consider is the versatility of a manufacturing facility. Saint-Gobain takes pride in providing precision components that can reach 8-9’ in diameter and which are used in liquid oxygen tanks to propel rockets into space, but at the same time it also has equal expertise in developing seals in millimeter sizes to power medical instruments.
3. Value: How does your value proposition compare?
Whether designing a simple replacement seal or a new prototype, value proposition is important to the overall assessment of any engineered seal. Customers are recommended to look at the total lifetime performance cost in terms of precision and longevity over initial pricing,
In the aerospace industry for example, a jet engine that burns at a higher temperature provides better fuel efficiency, saving airlines on the total amount of fuel consumed. Likewise, seals that are particularly developed for longevity will require only minimum maintenance, which can lower the time in the service bay and allow more time in the air.
Millions of dollars are at stake during a rocket launch, and well-designed sealing components can mean the difference between a scrubbed launch and a successful launch. The variation between the two can be as small as a measurement off by as little as a couple of thousandths of an inch; therefore accurate design is very important. At Saint-Gobain, it is believed that the total lifetime value of a product is key to determining the value proposition.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Saint-Gobain.
For more information on this source, please visit Saint-Gobain.