Your Top 3 Questions About Precision Solutions
Performance, Manufacturing & Value
By John Tark (November 2021)
Design engineering the right precision solution in the form of seals or material components is instrumental to whether your core systems run ... or not. When you are searching for quality solutions from a true partner (not just a provider), you have important questions.
After decades of providing solutions for space, aviation, oil and gas, life science, industrial and other industries, we discovered several key engineering commonalities among them. Today, we answer the top 3 FAQs related to the performance, manufacturing, and value of sealing and material solutions. Let's dive in!
1. Performance: How does your seal or material compare to others on the market?
This is always a top question in initial design meetings. Establishing lifetime confidence is critical to developing trust between new partners. Solutions with a historical pedigree such as Omniseal® spring-energized and rotary lip seals versus conventional elastomer lip seals, mechanical face seals or metal gaskets, prove their high performance and longevity over many decades. Material solutions such as Rulon® fluoropolymers, Meldin® thermoplastics and thermoset materials are designed to outlast the parts where they are installed. These solutions offer a wide range of temperature tolerances (from cryogenic to 600°F) with very low emissions leakage and long durability for superior service.
A best practice is to not only find a partner with a range of high performance solutions but also one with excellent and proven problem-solving skills. Engineers are critical parts of any application's success as they need to meet specific application requirements as well as solve immediate performance challenges.
Performance can relate to a number of diverse factors - from pressure, temperature and leakage to manufacturing, durability, and many others.
2. Manufacturing: What does your process look like?
Manufacturing precision solutions begins with a lot of questions before the drawing stage is reached. Our recommendation is that you find a partner with a highly-skilled technical sales force. In this way, they ask critical questions at the initial design meeting to get the part “first-time right.” With this approach, you save time and cost on a redesign or retrofit of precision components later down the line.
In the aviation industry for instance, we realize that you need to lower total weight to maximize fuel efficiency. But you might also wonder if components can tolerate the media you’re using – is the viscosity compatible with the seal? What is the rate of failure in parts per million (PPM) on this seal? A technical sales person is prepared to answer these questions and provide recommendations.
Many OEMs also ask about the assembly and traceability of a sealing part as it relates to manufacturing. You need reliable assembly with a low risk of part damage. This can be achieved by paying attention to the packaging of a seal. Best practice is to look for materials that are packaged for both protection and production. As an example, “clean seals” have low-dust packaging to reduce the contamination of parts. Packaging also extends to the traceability of a part, which should be clearly marked via a bar code to help isolate components in the event of an issue.
The versatility of a manufacturing facility is also important to consider. We take pride in offering precision components that can reach over 9' in diameter for use in a liquid oxygen fuel tank to propel rockets into space, yet we also have equal expertise in manufacturing seals in millimeter sizes to power medical instruments.
3. Value: How does your value proposition compare?
Whether rapidly designing a new prototype or a simple replacement seal, value proposition is critical to the total assessment of any engineered solution. We propose looking at the total lifetime performance cost in terms of longevity and precision over initial pricing.
For instance, in the aviation industry, a jet engine that burns at a higher temperature delivers better fuel efficiency, which saves an airline on the total amount of fuel consumed. Similarly, seals that are specially designed for longevity will need less maintenance, which can reduce time in the service bay and more time in the air.
In the case of a rocket launch where millions of dollars are at stake, well-designed sealing components can mean the difference between a successful launch or a scrubbed launch. The difference between the two can be a very tiny measurement off by a couple of thousandths of an inch; accurate design is imperative. We believe that the total lifetime value of a solution is critical to determining the value proposition.
Does the above information answer some of your questions on precision solutions?
Let’s connect for a custom sealing consultation - our sealing and material team of experts are always here to answer your questions!