From the Start: Designing Effective Rubber Seals
June 19, 2018
For design engineers tasked with designing effective rubber seals, the earliest stages of the design process are critical.
Selecting the proper type of material, designing with the appropriate criteria in mind, and understanding how the seal will be attached to the application are all important factors to consider.
Ultrafab works with OEMs everyday to develop custom solutions for rubber seals, gaskets, and weatherstripping.
We help design engineers from the earliest stages, all the way through prototyping, testing, and manufacturing.
This article provides a starting point and overview for companies who need to develop new products, or are looking to increase the effectiveness of their product.
3 Factors to Consider When Selecting Seal Material
The first step in designing a new rubber seal is selecting the right material for the application.
1.) Selecting Seal Material and Closure Force Requirements
The first consideration to make when selecting material for a rubber seal or gasket is to assess the application and decide if it calls for a sponge or dense rubber material.
The primary factor in determining the material of the seal is how much closing force you will need for the application.
If the application only requires a low amount of closure force, a sponge gasket is a suitable selection.
Low closing force applications may include a simple door seal, outdoor electronic enclosures, fiber optic junction boxes, and many consumer products.
For applications that have higher closure force requirements, such as when components are bolted together in an industrial setting, a denser type of rubber seal is needed.
For either selection, the type of application will be the determining factor in choosing the best fit material.
2.) Selecting Seal Material and the Application’s Environment
Another important detail in the material selection process is the environment that the seal will be used in.
Consider factors like temperature, and determine if the seal will be exposed to extreme levels of heat or cold, or if there will be regular and significant changes in the range of temperature.
Some materials must be selected over others because they offer protection against UV and/or ozone exposure.
Likewise, the type of liquid that the seal is exposed to will give you a reason to select one type of material over another. An application that needs protection from water will require a different material than one that is exposed to chemicals and solvents.
These questions are important to ask prior to selecting a material.
Even if the design is perfect, if the material does not match the demands of the application, the work will be for naught.
3.) Selecting Seal Material and Attachment Requirements
A third factor to consider when selecting the right material is how the seal or gasket will be attached.
Parts that are attached by compression fit into a channel may require a different material than one that is attached by adhesives.
Likewise, some applications require a mechanical attachment, like staples, nails, or clips, and must be made with a material that can tolerate this process.
The Ultrafab Advantage
Ultrafab excels with our partners who require effective fenestration solutions because of our experienced staff and expertise at all stages of the design and manufacturing process.
We can design, prototype, and manufacture the product in-house, and we have the raw materials on hand to ensure our partners receive the shortest cycle times and quickest path to first-time quality possible.