Insights from industry

Expanding Beyond Polymer Seals, Materials & Composite Solutions: Opening A World of Possibilities With Metal Solutions

 
insights from industryDamien CanacBusiness ManagerOmniseal SolutionsTM
Omniseal Solutions™, a design engineering and manufacturer of high-quality sealing solutions and materials for many key industries including space, aviation, energy (i.e., hydrogen and nuclear), and life science, is increasing its repertoire. The business is expanding its range from polymer seals and composite alternatives to metal seal solutions.

This progressive move is marked by the acquisition of High Tech Metal Seals (HTMS), a designer and manufacturer of engineered metal seals in Belgium, which has been supporting the industrial, energy, space, and aviation industries for over 20 years. The move complements Omniseal Solutions’ acquisition of American Seal & Engineering (ASE) in 2019, also a leader in technical metal sealing solutions.

In this interview, AZoM talks to Damien Canac, Business Manager of Omniseal Solutions™.

Can you explain what the acquisition of High Tech Metal Seals (HTMS) means for Omniseal Solutions™, a company of Saint-Gobain?

As a precision solutions provider, Omniseal Solutions™ is dedicated to providing the highest expertise and tailor-made solutions for its customers. Therefore, the acquisition of HTMS, which is well known for its specialization in high-end metal seals for critical applications and considered a complementary solution line to ASE’s portfolio, is a perfect addition to ensure our technical experts can recommend the best fit solution to confidently handle our customers’ metallic challenges.

The company also snapped up ASE in 2019; how does this acquisition fit with that of HTMS?

These two companies serve different industries due to different solution lines as well as providing different expertise, processes and capabilities. In most cases though, they complement each other and as a result, the strategic goal is to build a state-of-the-art metal seal enterprise and synergy by combining the strengths of both.

As a business that can support both global and local needs, these two metal seal businesses can also provide us with two different locations: one in the USA and one in Europe, which will be very useful to support all our customers.

Why is this the right time to expand the company’s portfolio? 

The acceleration of the innovation and technologies developed by our customers is challenging in some cases for polymer solutions. Since our value proposition is to co-design with our customers to find a precision solution, it became clear that we had to expand our portfolio to make sure we can keep this promise and commitment.

We believe that our value proposition resonates with our customers who have relied on and trusted the expertise and knowledge we have built within Omniseal Solutions™ and to know that we will continue to be relentlessly dedicated to supporting their challenging and critical applications, especially future possibilities and growth.

The advanced composites market is undergoing impressive growth. How will Omniseal Solutions™ remain at the forefront of this field? 

Indeed, the composites market is undergoing a significant transformation: the more we learn about these materials, their possible designs and processes, the more they become a solution of choice for many, and I do not think we have seen yet all their potential.

That is why we are investing in a brand new center of excellence, dedicated to composite materials, so we can accelerate the development of our expertise and to be able to bring those materials beyond the boundaries of possible!

Omniseal Solutions™ will now be offering metal seals in addition to its polymer solutions. What industries do you expect to take advantage of this development?

We are seeing a strong evolution in terms of innovation and technologies impacting the working conditions and environment of the seal: more pressure, higher temperature, lower leakage rate, etc. Metal seals in general can answer some of those increasing and challenging specifications.

And this is resonating for many different industries, probably all.

What are the significant differences between polymer and metal seals? What do metal seals offer that polymer seals cannot?

Metal seals by nature - in comparison to polymer seals that are made from organic material - can withstand cryogenic, extremely high temperature, high pressure, and corrosive media. Through their ability to be combined with soft coatings (such as gold, silver, nickel, or our patented NCCM coating), they also offer a much lower leakage rate; for example, greater than or equal to 10-12 cc/sec He.

But, as always when facing a challenging application, the goal is to find a precision solution, taking into account not only the functionality itself, but also all other parameters such as installation, compression rate, etc. This is where the expertise and knowledge of our engineering and technical team play a critical role to support our customers and their expectations.

How will Omniseal Solutions™ integrate this whole new range of solutions seamlessly into its existing portfolio? 

These two companies were founded by entrepreneurs with a pioneering spirit and who were relentlessly dedicated to supporting their customers. We share the same values and although our paths may be a bit different, we share a similar history. I invite you to visit our website at www.omniseal-solutions.com/history to read these companies’ fascinating origins.

Our collaborative spirit drives us to co-design with our customer a precision solution for their specific challenges and therefore does sometimes, keep our business in a tailor-made environment. However, if our customers need something further, we are certainly able to extend this offer.

What makes Omniseal Solutions™ the right choice for space and aviation manufacturers?

Omniseal Solutions™ was founded by engineers trying to develop brand new solutions for the space quest in the early fifties – a time where existing seals failed numerous times and the situation seemed insolvable. They did not give up and as a result of their determination and subsequent success, we were inspired to keep developing our expertise and knowledge, fine tuning these sealing solutions in order to provide a wide range of solutions for most of the critical applications in the space industry as well as aviation.

So with such a wide experience, a proven pedigree and this pioneering spirit as a base of our DNA, our team of experts are always ready for a new challenge, trying to push the boundaries of possible every day!

In such a fast moving industry, new technologies and innovation are key, and we believe by collaborating together we can offer that to our customers in addition to some of the most advanced technologies such as simulation to concept proof solutions, fast prototypes or advanced processes such as in-house testing.

The space and aviation industries are at the origin of our business, and we will continue to support them in very long-term partnerships.

How has the company kept up with the demand in space and aviation for increasingly lightweight parts?

Developing new material such as composite parts is probably the solution that comes to mind. And it makes sense.

However, we would like to offer another way to successfully handle future demands: early collaboration on these systems. Indeed, we believe that a trusting and close collaborative partnership can really trigger innovation and act as a catalyst. Our team of experts support our customers to work not only on a precision solution but also on the overall systems to discover and explore ways to optimize them.

A specific example comes to mind - in space, a polymer seal solution will allow for a lower compression set, which in return can reduce the number of bolts on a given equipment. In this case (which we documented in a white paper), an early collaboration is needed to find the right balance between function, quality, risk management, integration of the equipment and so on.

Not only can some solutions support this dynamic, but also an early and close collaboration between engineers. 

About Damien Canac

Damien joined the Saint-Gobain Group in 2002 in the glass business in which he held sales and marketing functions. He later joined one of the business units in Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, working in the United States and then returning to France. In 2017, he joined Omniseal Solutions™ as Business Manager, a position he currently holds. Within the management team, he contributes to the strategic development of this business, which has 14 sites around the world. As such, he actively participated in the above two acquisitions and integration of those companies.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

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