A gasket joins two systems or mechanisms tightly together and helps prevent leakages or external interference with the enclosed system. Given the critical role of gaskets, their materials should be carefully selected to ensure zero leakages and unplanned costs. If you’re looking for custom-made gaskets, it is recommended to look for highly skilled finishers capable of trimming and packaging your gaskets to the industry standards of excellence you deserve.
Types of Rubber Material Used in Rubber Gasket Manufacturing
Rubber gaskets have different purposes; knowing their purpose is essential in knowing which type of material to use. Getting the suitable material to fit perfectly and accomplish its goal is the core function of manufacturing the product.
Various materials are used in the manufacture of gaskets. Every material displays its unique capabilities and advantages in different conditions. Among the commonly used no-metallic material is rubber, which occurs in various forms as explained below:
The natural rubber has high-end dynamic sealing capabilities. They interact well with metal surfaces, have excellent low-temperature properties, and display remarkable water-resistance properties. Similarly, natural rubber has lower decaying rates compared to most materials. In essence, rubber gaskets can endure compression and abrasion to a high level, given zero tension.
Like natural rubber, silicone is an impressive elastomer used in making superior, top-performance sealers highly resistant to extreme temperatures. In essence, they can hold their functionality in temperatures around -67 to +450 degrees Fahrenheit. But unlike natural rubber, silicone gaskets display impressive resistance capabilities to chemicals, heat, fire, and ozone, and their agility to low temperatures is unsurpassed by other forms of elastomers. Given its versatility, silicone gaskets are applied in various systems fields like pharmaceuticals and food processing plants.
Neoprene is another form of an elastomer and ultimately flexible rubber with high durability and resilience. Neoprene is ideal for gasket manufacturing because of its long-lasting abilities in tough environments, not to mention its compressibility nature.
Elements That Determine Rubber Gasket Material
Wherever these materials will seal, they may come into contact with high temperatures or low temperatures. You have to consider these factors when making the product.
When making rubber gaskets, you should consider temperature balance, whether for flexibility in low temperatures or resistance to high temperatures. When you get help from experts, they advise you on the need to know the performance of rubber material in different temperature ranges. It includes factors such as thermal expansion.
The environment around the material can affect some materials. Some materials such as Nitrile are not resistant to sunlight, and they perform poorly compared to others.
Other materials are resistant to chemicals while others are not. Natural rubber, when used in areas with high chemical concentrations, begins to degrade and fail.
Pressure is a crucial component because some materials cannot withstand the pressure in these gaps. Thus using rubber materials designed to withstand the pressure in the application can save costs and prevent damages in high-pressure processes.
The Manufacturing Process of Rubber Gaskets
Raw materials vary in gasket manufacturing. Although metallic and composite materials are relatively impressive in gasket making, non-metallic materials like rubber are widely used because they have low tension compressibility during bolting and are cheap and readily available.
Manufacturing of gaskets involves a range of processes that include punching and cutting through the material to get the required shape and size. These techniques are traditional, and they use them in various ways to get a rubber gasket ready for use.
Here are the tips behind the manufacturing processes of rubber gaskets:
Selecting a Production Method
It is the most critical aspect you should consider when trying to make rubber gaskets. Production methods usually determine the end product. Manufacturers with a high volume of production require plans that can produce many gaskets with perfection.
Here are some of the methods that can create perfect rubber gaskets to be used to seal.
Cutting is a swift technique that enables the manufacturer to achieve an infinite variety of shapes. To achieve these shapes, the manufacturer can use different tools such as water jets and lasers. Hand cutting can customize gaskets into large sizes, whereas strip cutting allows for specific sealers using a rotary knife. Here are commonly used techniques in cutting;
Water jet cutting is an effective cutting technique that uses highly pressured water under high precision levels to cut a large variety of gasket-making materials into desired shapes. Given its precision levels, jet cutting can produce un-deformed forms within short periods, and it’s often preferred over the punching process. Nevertheless, water jet cutting is excellent at creating prototypes and test parts, meanwhile maintaining product integrity.
Laser cutting closely resembles water cutting, only that a laser is instead used than water. Although it has equally impressive characteristics, the laser might not achieve desired edge quality in various materials used. In particular, laser-cutting rubber often produces melted or burned edges. Therefore, the tolerability of the material used should be put into account when selecting laser cutting.
Hand cutting is among the oldest and the most often used techniques in gasket shaping for most plants. The person who cut the material influences the dimensional tolerance of the hand-cut gasket, which is generally +/- 3.2mm (1/8”). The cutting can be achieved using shears, utility knives, scissors, or battery operated. Although not often, hand cutting most likely produces several cut marks, which can cause jagged edges that are regular points of weaknesses. On the other hand, the process is typically slow and tiresome but helps in achieving large-shaped gaskets.
A rotary knife is used in strip cutting to press cut long sheets of materials like rubber and metal into strips. In essence, differently located rotational knives press over parent material in a series of circular motions and produce strips with varying width as desired.
Punching is an ancient gasket-cutting technique where a rule form is either power pressed or hydraulic pressed into the parent material such as rubber. The rule form is generally made by molding and bending a unique steel strip into a specific shape and sharpening its base area to run through the gasket material. The outcoming shape usually is consistently sized and repeatable. That means that punching works well for consistent gaskets requiring high production volumes.
Once they have cut the material, it is essential to trim it to perfection and then pack. Sealing experts that have a high level of craftsmanship do this work. They ensure the product is of the required level.