Military Buyers Find Sealing Solutions at CANSEC 2013

Military vehicles need high-quality rubber seals
Military vehicles need high-quality rubber seals

Clyde Sharpe
President of International Sales at Elasto Proxy

Military buyers need rubber components that can withstand electromagnetic interference (EMI), provide waterproofing, and withstand extreme pressures and service temperatures. When designing military systems, however, defense contractors may not consider all of their sealing requirements until the latter stages of the design process.

For example, a shipbuilder may design a hull, then a door, and finally a watertight seal for the door. Similarly, a manufacturer may design all of the doors and windows on a land vehicle before sourcing rubber products that can withstand shock and vibration. Even the thermal and acoustic insulation used in engine compartments and cabs may take a backseat to other design considerations.

Solving Sealing Challenges

In this procurement environment, how can a supplier of sealing solutions identify partners, understand their sealing challenges, and offer the right solutions? CANSEC, Canada’s leading defense and technology tradeshow, provides a platform for getting answers to these and other questions. This year’s event was held at the Ernst & Young Centre in Ottawa on May 29 and 30.

CANSEC 2013 spanned 120,000 square feet of indoor exhibits, included an outdoor display, and featured over 250 exhibitors – including Elasto Proxy in Booth #935. Sponsored by the Canadian Association of Defense and Security Industries (CADSI), this private two-day event offered more than just networking opportunities. CANSEC 2013 provided a way to learn about what the defense community needs.

Meeting Military Needs

Since our founding in 1989, Elasto Proxy has worked closely with defense contractors to identify sealing solutions that meet rigorous requirements for pressure, temperature, shock, and vibration. As a CADSI member and the holder of a Controlled Goods Certificate (CGC), our Boisbriand, Quebec company got its start with Atlantic Defense Industries, which required us to develop strict quality control procedures.

Although Elasto Proxy has attended CANSEC events before, CANSEC 2013 was the first time we had a booth of our own. Jason Beattie, a sealing solutions provider from our Boisbriand headquarters, joined me in staffing Booth #935 and meeting government officials, military personnel, defense contractors, and other Canadian manufacturers.

Technical Design and Custom Fabrication

While answering questions about Elasto Proxy’s technical design and customer fabrication capabilities, Jason and I learned what’s on the minds of members of the defense community. In addition to EMI shielding and high-quality rubber products for extreme conditions, CANSEC attendees expressed a need the type of custom gasketing and niche components that Elasto Proxy provides.

Although some military contracts are being held-up, there are plenty of opportunities for suppliers to the Canadian defense industry. At CANSEC 2013, the attendees that we spoke with were excited about urban shipbuilding, the planned construction of Coast Guard vessels, the Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) program, and the Military Support Vehicle System Project (MSVS).

How Can We Help You?

Are you a military buyer, a procurement officer, or a defense contractor? Would you like to learn more about the sealing solutions that Elasto Proxy provides? If so, I hope you’ll comment on this blog entry or contact Elasto Proxy today. How can we help you? 

Outsourcing and Custom Fabrication – Industrial Rubber Products


Alex Bergeron
Sealing Solutions Provider at Elasto Proxy

What do you think of when you hear the word “outsourcing”? Do you think of increased efficiency and higher quality, or do you worry about a loss of control? Outsourcing your manufacturing processes to a partner requires trust. That’s why long-term business relationships are important, and why proof can strengthen a commitment.

As a solutions provider for Elasto Proxy, it’s my job to listen to all of your application requirements and business needs before recommending the right sealing solution. Words aren’t always enough, however, and sometimes seeing is believing. Such was the case with a manufacturer of ventilation units who chose custom-fabricated gaskets instead of unfinished rubber coils.

Door Gaskets for Ventilation Units

Ventilation units have access doors that allow maintenance and repair personnel to reach machinery. The gaskets for these doors vary in size, but all require rubber compounds that can meet demanding environmental conditions. With our partner’s vacuum units, for example, exposure to dust, water, and pollution made dual durometer EPDM the right choice.

Manufacturing the rubber gaskets for these access doors can be a labor-intensive process, and produce material waste and unwanted variations. At our partner’s production facility, employees would position the rubber coils that we supplied next to a machine. Production personnel would then unroll the rubber onto the access doors, cutting and then splicing the lengths where they met.

Gaining Quality by Giving Up Control

Performing these operations in-house gave our partner maximum production control, but also created opportunities for increased efficiency and higher quality. Human error and variations between workers or even shifts can cause small differences in cuts and splices. If the rubber that’s left on a coil isn’t long enough for finished product, the remaining material becomes unusable for gasketing.

Although our partner originally wanted a distributor, touring our Boisbriand, Quebec production facility provided proof of Elasto Proxy’s custom fabrication capabilities. Today, our skilled production team cuts their doors gaskets to length and then performs film splicing operations. Improvements to quality and efficiency have strengthened our partner’s supply chain, and strengthened our business relationship.

Asking, Answering, and the Art of Sealing


Doug Sharpe
President of Elasto Proxy

How well do you listen? Do you like to ask questions? When you have the information that you need, do you know what to do with it? Many people think that selling is all about talking. Yes, the ability to speak effectively is important. Salespeople need to write clearly, too, especially when it’s time to communicate instructions. But don’t underestimate the importance of asking for and analyzing answers.

Answers and Application Knowledge

Recently, a group of Elasto Proxy employees visited a Montreal-area restaurant with Andrew Yang, our sales representative in China. Before heading inside, I noticed a front-end loader. Although the operator of this mobile specialty vehicle was busy, he took the time to answer my questions about the door seals. We also talked about the noise, vibration, and overall comfort level inside his cab.

As a custom fabricator of industrial rubber products, Elasto Proxy provides sealing solutions to makers of on-road and off-road equipment. Every application is different, of course, so it’s important to listen to all of the requirements before offering recommendations. In the case of our front-end loader, asking a few questions allowed me to offer some advice about adjusting the floor mats.

Solutions Providers Instead of Salespeople

Several years ago, Elasto Proxy replaced its salespeople with solutions providers. In our Internet Age, there’s plenty of information on the Web – and few people like to be “sold to”. So what do managers, technical buyers, and product designers look for in a potential supplier? In short, they want a partner instead of a provider. By offering solutions instead of products, partners demonstrate commitment.

When I spoke with the operator of the front-end loader, I knew I wouldn’t sell him door seals or anti-vibration components on-the-spot. That wasn’t the point of our conversation. By learning about his user experience, however, I confirmed that the door seals on this particular type of vehicle leak. I also learned that mold under the rubber floor matting is problematic.

The Right Way to Start the Sales Process

In the future, I’ll use what I learned about this front-end loader in my conversations with other mobile specialty vehicle manufacturers. At the same time, I’ll also consider what I don’t know. For example, although I’ve specialized in rubber seals for many years, I don’t consider myself an expert in bearings. But when the operator and I spoke about vibrations and transmissions, I readily shared what I knew.

Asking questions and getting answers is part of the sales process. Applying what you’ve learned to the solutions you can provide is important, too. Just explaining your company’s capabilities is not enough, however. By taking the time to listen and learn, you’ll become a solutions provider instead of a product salesperson. For Elasto Proxy, the art of sealing begins with a question: How can we help you?