Technical buyers and design engineers need to evaluate all of their application requirements when specifying acoustic insulation. Sound dampening and sound absorption aren’t the same, and some acoustic materials may not be suitable for specific environments or frequencies.
Noisy equipment can cause hearing loss and result in violations that carry fines and other penalties. In North America, regulatory agencies such as OSHA, NIOSH and the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) establish workplace limits for noise exposure. Yet the fact remains that noise and hearing loss are the second most prevalent self-reported work-related injury, according to the Hearing Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa.
Noise can also affect perceptions of product quality. That’s why some potential car buyers listen to how a vehicle’s door sounds when it closes. In a sports car, engine noise suggests speed and power. In a tractor, dump track, or military vehicle, loud engine sounds within the cab are unwanted. For technical buyers and design engineers then, noise mitigation can be about enhancing worker safety, ensuring regulatory compliance, improving the customer experience – or all of the above.
Acoustical foams absorb and dampen sounds. Some of these foam rubber materials also provide flame resistance. Product designers need more than just an acoustic foam, however. They need a custom fabricator who can convert stock materials into a custom insulation solution.
Acoustic foams are used for sound absorption and sound dampening in applications such as military vehicles, commercial trucking, and equipment enclosures. They’re usually made of silicone, urethane, or foam-based melamine. Some acoustical foams offer additional properties, such as thermal resistance or fire resistance. For specialized applications, acoustical foams can be added as layers within “insulation sandwiches” that also contain fillers, adhesives, and barrier materials. Continue reading Acoustic Foams for Noise Control in Vehicles and Equipment
Rubber weather stripping provides either static or dynamic sealing. Sealing pressure is essential, and some elastomers are more resilient than others. Technical buyers and product designers need to compare open cell and closed cell rubber, specify the durometer or hardness, and choose the right compound.
Rubber weather stripping prevents the flow of air and water between two surfaces, such as a door and door frame. Standard weather stripping may be suitable for residential use, but applications in the automotive, building and construction, and electronics industries often require a custom sealing solution. Custom-fabricated weather stripping ensures part quality while speeding installation and reducing material waste.
Rubber truck bumpers from Elasto Proxy help keep trucks and trailers on the road instead of in the shop. Learn how these impact-resistant rubber bumpers meet ASTM standards, and are available in 10 different types for vehicle protection.
Rubber truck bumpers help protect trucks and trailers as they backup to loading docks, or when a driver opens the truck’s side doors. They absorb energy from low-speed collisions and low-force impacts while helping to keep trucks on the road instead of in the body shop. These rubber auto parts cost less than truck body repairs, and are easy-to-install with standard metal fasteners such as screws, bolts, and washers.
Rubber truck bumpers are made from elastomeric compounds that can withstand sunlight, rain, snow, and incidental contact with petroleum products and automotive chemicals. SBR and EPDM rubber are good choices because they can handle these road conditions while providing good tensile strength and abrasion resistance. Continue reading Rubber Truck Bumpers for Impact Resistance
Fluorosilicone gaskets combine the high and low temperature resistance of silicones with the fuel and oil resistance of fluorocarbons. Some fluorosilicone gasket materials also resist abrasion and provide EMI shielding. Is fluorosilicone the right rubber for your gasketing application?
Fluorosilicones combine the temperature resistance of silicones with the fuel, oil, and solvent resistance of fluorocarbons. Applications for these extreme-environment elastomers include automotive, aerospace, defense, electronics, and semiconductor manufacturing.
For technical buyers and design engineers, however, choosing the right rubber can involve more than just specifying a temperature range, oil or fuel type, and industry. Is flurosilicone rubber right for your sealing and insulation application? If so, what type of fluorosilicone compound do you need? Some provide specialized properties that you might not expect. Continue reading Fluorosilicone Gaskets for Sealing and Insulation
Learn how adhesive taping attaches rubber parts to plastic, metal, and glass surfaces – and why taped gaskets provide a strong, reliable alternative to mechanical fasteners such as bolts and screws. Then, download the Make It or Buy It? E-Book.
Rubber parts such as door seals, edge trim, and weather stripping can be attached to plastic, metal, or glass surfaces. Mechanical fasteners like screws and bolts are strong and reliable, but installation is time-consuming. The use of adhesive tapes can speed assembly, but taping also offers other important advantages. By understanding these benefits, and how high-strength adhesive tapes compare to mechanical fasteners, you can choose the best attachment method for your rubber parts. If taping is right for your sealing or insulation application, you can then decide which type of taping you need. Continue reading How to Attach Rubber Parts: Adhesive Taping vs. Mechanical Fastening
Learn why Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive suppliers source rubber auto parts and plastic auto parts from Elasto Proxy, a custom fabrication specialist with facilities in Canda, the United States, and China.
By John Rye
Branch Manager for Elasto Proxy
In the automotive industry, original equipment manufacturers (OEM) supply finished products such as cars, trucks, buses, and vans to the consumer marketplace. These OEMs don’t manufacture everything themselves, however. Instead, they rely upon a network of suppliers who add value through technical design, system integration, and custom fabrication.
The automotive supply chain is complex, so it helps to have a model to describe it. Instead of a metal chain with links, imagine a pyramid with different tiers. At the top of the pyramid are the OEMs. Right below the automakers are the Tier 1 suppliers of modules or systems. The pyramid doesn’t end there, however, and other tiers play supporting roles.
As the diagram that accompanies this article shows, there are Tier 2 component suppliers, Tier 3 parts suppliers, and an extensive automotive aftermarket. Companies in the “lower” supply chain tiers don’t directly interact with automakers, but Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers depend on them. For reliable rubber auto parts and plastic auto parts, automotive suppliers call upon Elasto Proxy for its design and fabrication expertise.
The Heart of the Auto Industry
For over 25 years, Elasto Proxy has helped supply chain partners meet their application requirements for quality, performance, and cost. Founded in 1989, Elasto Proxy flourished in Quebec and then expanded to Ontario, the heart of Canada’s auto industry. With our sales office and warehouse in Newmarket, we’re close not just to Toronto, but to Oshawa, Windsor, and even Detroit itself.
Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers to the Big Three automakers like that we stock materials in Ontario and can respond quickly to demand. Parts don’t have to be imported from overseas and then shipped across the continent to Canada’s automotive plants. Port slowdowns and dockworker strikers on the coasts won’t constrain these shipments either. Air freight is expensive, and shorter supply chains enhance logistics.
From our sales office in China, Elasto Proxy can also help international automakers with local sourcing initiatives. By leveraging our strong business relationships, we can help Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers to control costs without sacrificing quality. Elasto Proxy also maintains a sales office and warehouse in Simpsonsville, South Carolina, not far from automotive assembly plants in the southern United States.
Adding Value to Automotive Supply Chains
Elasto Proxy understands that automotive suppliers need more than just a parts provider, however. As your supply chain partner, we have the application knowledge and technical expertise to offer advice about material selection, additional data on force and deflection, and proof about the life cycle of parts. By listening to all of your application requirements, we add value to your supply chain.
For example, if you specify that a brake release must cycle a certain number of times before showing a specific percentage of wear, Elasto Proxy can help prove that the part is right for the application. If a custom molded part is in high-demand, we can safeguard your safety factors by releasing parts from our warehouses in response to your sales forecasts.
Elasto Proxy’s automotive industry experience includes custom-molded stoppers and bumpers for seat tracks, molded plastic parts with the words “press here”, and molded rubber pads and end-pieces for emergency brake pedals. These pedal pads combined a rubber part with a plastic insert for the lettering, and were more challenging to produce than a standard pedal pad. We’ve also supplied lengths of rubber and plastic tubing for automotive wiring, parts for car door assemblies, and U-shaped rubber isolators for hood props.
Vendor Selection Starts Here
Are you a Tier 1 or Tier 2 automotive supplier? Are you reviewing your vendor list, or searching for a custom fabrication specialist who can produce rubber or plastic parts for a particularly demanding project? Elasto Proxy has worked with suppliers to some of the world’s biggest automakers, and helps keep assembly lines humming in an industry where stock-outs are not an option.
How can we help you? Do you need molded parts, tubing, bumpers, edge trim, or window channels? Elasto Proxy keeps over 700 standard rubber profiles in stock, and supplements its extensive product catalog by working with a trusted network of material suppliers. Our production team is highly-skilled, and combines traditional craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technology like waterjet cutting.
Purchasing and Logistics at Elasto Proxy
Cold temperatures can cause rubber parts to contract, lose their flexibility, and become brittle. These problems affect seals and gaskets, which can harden at low temperatures and resist deformation to pressure. Here in Canada, where Elasto Proxy is based, suppliers of on-road and off-road vehicles need door and window seals that won’t quit when the weather grows cold. Manufacturers in other parts of North America and all around the world also need sealing and insulation for extreme environments.
For over 25 years, Elasto Proxy has specialized in the design and custom fabrication of rubber products for a variety of industries. By analyzing your requirements and listening to your needs, we can help you select the right rubber for your low-temperature application. Material selection can be complex, and all rubber isn’t the same. If you choose a compound that contracts at cold temperatures, seal failure may occur. When the contact surface shrinks, look for leaks of liquid or air.
Fortunately, technical buyers don’t have to be material scientists to avoid seal-related problems. By understanding what to ask for – and that many different types of rubber are available – you can select a compound that’s made with just the right recipe for your application. Vulcanization, a chemical process that uses sulfur or other curatives, converts polymers into more durable materials. Vulcanized elastomers are made of natural or synthetic rubber, and meet specific low-temperature requirements.
ASTM D2000 Callouts for Low-Temperature Rubber
ASTM D2000 is a published standard that provides buyers and suppliers with a common way to describe vulcanized rubber materials. Originally designed for automotive applications, this publication from ASTM International is used also by other industries. As How to Read ASTM D2000 Specifications explains, the ASTM D2000 description for a vulcanized rubber contains letters and numbers that designate or “call out” specific material properties and testing conditions.
In the ASTM D2000 specification, the letter F is used as a callout to indicate low temperature resistance. This letter is then followed by a number that indicates the test method and test temperature. For example, the callout F17 indicates that the material was tested under ASTM D2137 for its ability to withstand breaking when bent at a given temperature for a period of time. This three-minute test is performed at temperatures under -40° C, and the sample must be non-brittle at the end of the test.
Vulcanized rubber with the callout F19 is also tested under ASTM D2137 for brittleness point, but under even colder conditions. This three-minute test is performed at temperatures under -55° C, and the test sample must be non-brittle at the end of the test period. If your project specifications state temperature requirements in Fahrenheit, note that -55° C equals -67° F. Because of the way that degrees Celsius are converted to degrees Fahrenheit, however, -40 C° equals – 40° F. You can learn why here.
Additional Application Considerations
Many rubber products that are exposed to low temperatures are used in outdoor conditions. That’s why suppliers of mobile specialty vehicles need to select compounds that can withstand sunlight, water, and even road salt. EPDM rubber is often the right choice for these outdoor environments, with applications ranging from door seals to hoses and tubing. Indoors, EPDM seals are used with cold-room doors since this synthetic rubber is an effective insulator.
Does your project require an elastomer than can resist low temperatures along with oils and lubricants? Do you need to source cost-effective compounds that can withstand both low and high temperatures? By taking the time to understand everything that you need, Elasto Proxy can recommend the right rubber, strengthen your seal designs, and then custom fabricate high-quality rubber parts for you.
Today’s automobiles are equipped with automotive electronics that direct drivers and manage vehicle safety and performance. Advanced cameras check for pedestrians. Adaptive cruise control automatically adjusts your speed to stay a safe distance away from vehicles ahead. An alarm beeps or the driver’s seat vibrates if your car leaves its lane. Truck headlights brighten or dim with changes in lighting conditions and oncoming traffic. Collision warning with automatic braking can slow or even stop your vehicle.
Does your car, truck, or sports utility vehicle (SUV) have these safety features? If not, your next ride probably will. Meanwhile, automakers are incorporating additional electronics for security, navigation, communications, and entertainment. After all, technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS), Bluetooth, and other radio frequency (RF) applications delight car buyers. For electronic designers and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) consultants, however, there are other important considerations.
What Is Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)?
Installing a large number of electronics into a small interior space can cause these systems to interfere with each other. Malfunctions or failures caused by cross-talk aren’t the only risks, however. Strong electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can affect human health. That’s why the batteries in electric vehicles (EVs) are enclosed in more than just a metal box. A shielding gasket atop the box contains EMFs and prevents electromagnetic interference (EMI) from the battery from disrupting other electronics.
EMI gaskets are also used with the inverters and converters that manage the power and recharging circuits in electric cars and hybrid electric vehicles. Shielding gaskets are also needed at EV charging stations, where multiple chargers can generate strong EMFs as well as EMI. Paying for an EV charge could pose a problem, however. Electronic cash registers have drawers for dollar bills, and point of sales (POS) systems use electronics for credit card processing. Both need EMI gasketing.
EMI shielding isn’t just for electric cars and hybrid vehicles, however. Luxury automobiles powered by gasoline or diesel engines use cameras, sensors, and radar. As more mid-range models add automotive electronics, carmakers will need EMI shielding solutions that balance performance with cost. For EMC consultants and designers of automotive electronics, it’s important to know which shielding materials work best – and which gasket fabricator can meet all of your requirements.
Particle-Filled Silicones for EMI Gaskets
EMI gaskets aren’t new, but some buyers still think that particle-filled silicones are too hard, too brittle, too expensive, and too thick for automotive electronics. Loading a high percentage of particle filler into silicones can result in tough tradeoffs, but Elasto Proxy sources innovative elastomers that address these concerns. The shielding materials we recommend balance electrical conductivity with cost-effectiveness, and provide benefits that strengthen your electronic designs.
For example, the particle-filled silicones we source can be used in shielding gaskets that are thin, flexible, and able to withstand the high temperatures associated with automotive engines. Silicone gaskets from Elasto Proxy also provide environmental sealing. Fluorosilicone gaskets are available for automotive applications that involve contact with fuels or solvents. Silicones provide many desirable properties, and compounding this rubber makes it a great choice for EMI shielding.
Today, silicone gaskets that are filled with nickel-coated graphite particles are used between metal enclosures to protect automotive fuses. Elasto Proxy can also source semi-conductive silicones filled with carbon black for static dissipation. Both conductive materials are available in continuous rolls, a form factor that promotes the cost-effective fabrication of EMI shielding. Elasto Proxy can also source particle-filled EMI shielding as uncured moldable compounds and compression molded sheet stock.
Ready-to-install rubber gasketing speeds production, cuts labor costs, and reduces material waste. As we learned in our recent Make It or Buy It? series, it’s critical to consider custom fabrication in light of your manufacturing overhead (MOH) and opportunity costs. By choosing rubber gaskets that are ready right out-of-the-box, your installers can attach seals quickly, easily, and accurately. By partnering with a custom fabricator who delivers on your needs, you can also strengthen your industrial supply chain.
As a global supplier of specialty sealing solutions, Elasto Proxy provides bonded gaskets, spliced gaskets, and molded gaskets to a variety of industries. Instead of tightening screws or performing time-consuming cutting operations, production personnel install custom-fabricated components that come pre-cut, labeled, and with a removable plastic liner and pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA). From gasket design and custom fabrication to logistics and shipments, Elasto Proxy supports your company’s operations.
Gasket Design and Custom Fabrication
Elasto Proxy helps solve a wide range of sealing challenges. Some partners submit 3D CAD files and ask our sealing specialists to design and extrude custom gaskets. Others save time and money by choosing bonded gaskets, spliced gaskets, and molded gaskets that we keep in stock, and that require more limited custom fabrication. With our fast, efficient water jet cutting capabilities, Elasto Proxy can cut gaskets to size with speed and precision – and without the tooling costs associated with die cutting.
By keeping hundreds of rubber profiles in stock, Elasto Proxy can also offer quick turn-around times to meet the most demanding prototyping and production schedules. In addition to water jet cutting, our custom fabrication capabilities include film splicing, cold bonding, C-press injection molding, and vulcanizing. If taping is right for your application, our solutions providers may suggest either PSA or HATS, a high-bond tape that adheres well to automotive paints and plastics.
Logistics and On-Time Shipments
Elasto Proxy can supply custom-fabricated gaskets in limited quantities at first, and then increase deliveries as production scales-up. With warehouses in Canada and the United States, we can also store your ready-to-ship rubber parts and then send them according to your sales forecast, or on-demand. Just-in-time (JIT) deliveries reduce the amount of goods and materials that you hold in inventory, and support your lean manufacturing efforts.
Do you need help sourcing custom gaskets? Would you like to learn more about the value of custom fabrication, too? For 25 years, Elasto Proxy has been working with partners in a variety of industries to solve sealing challenges. By listening to all of your requirements and analyzing all of your needs, our solutions providers can recommend sealing solutions that are right for your application.