Enclosure Sealing and Insulation: Performance Properties and Applications

enclosure sealing

What’s the right enclosure sealing and insulation for your application? There’s a lot to consider.

Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates seals, gaskets, and insulation for enclosures that house machinery and equipment. These industrial rubber products can provide environmental sealing, acoustic insulation, flame resistance, EMI shielding, chemical resistance, and other performance properties. As the following examples show, enclosure sealing and insulation varies by application.

Environmental Sealing and Acoustic Insulation 

Gensets or generating sets supply off-grid electricity. They consist of a diesel or gasoline-powered engine and an electrical generator (such as an alternator) that converts mechanical power into electricity. To support repairs and maintenance, this equipment is housed in an enclosure with a door. The genset’s door gaskets provide environmental sealing, but the enclosure also needs acoustic insulation.

Sealing a genset door isn’t a job for just any rubber product. Static seals are fine when there’s no relative motion between mating surfaces, but dynamic seals are recommended when there’s motion or movement between sealing interfaces such as a door and door frame. Rubber gaskets also need to resist compression set – the permanent deformation of a material – when the enclosure door is closed.

Rubber gaskets provide some acoustic insulation, but an engine in an enclosed space is loud. Sound absorbers made of acoustic foams can be “tuned” to address these frequencies. Sound barriers and vibration dampers also support noise control. That’s important for complying with workplace limits on noise exposure and avoiding “noise pollution” in areas such as neighborhoods.

Flame and Fire Resistance 

Manufacturers of electrical and electronic systems may need enclosure gaskets that are made of fireproof rubber. The UL 94 standard from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) defines 12 different flame ratings, so it’s important to determine which rating applies to your design. Engineers also need to consider whether the rubber gasket or the entire enclosure needs to meet this demanding standard.

Compounds that are described as “capable of passing UL 94” or “compliant with UL 94” probably don’t have a UL yellow card – proof that Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has tested and recognized the material. However, these less-expensive materials may still meet your requirements. Before selecting a compound then, engineers need a complete understanding of the application.

EMI Shielding 

Electronic devices and equipment that are housed in an enclosure may require protection against electromagnetic interference (EMI) that can disrupt or damage circuits. The causes of EMI are numerous and can include both manmade and naturally-occurring sources. In industrial and commercial settings, the causes of EMI typically include brush motors, computer circuits, and lighting.

Gaskets made of particle-filled silicones provide both EMI shielding and environmental sealing. These metal-filled elastomers also provide electrical conductivity and resist a wide range of service temperatures. For applications that require resistance to fuels and industrial fluids, EMI gaskets made of particle-filled fluorosilicones are used.

Chemical Resistance

Enclosure gaskets are also needed by the pharmaceutical industry, which uses solid dosage processing equipment to manufacture finished doses of medication in tablet or capsule form. Often, these solid doses are coated to mask the medicine’s taste or odor, protect the drug in the stomach, and to control its release profile. In turn, these coatings may contain chemicals that can attack rubber.

Fluorosilicone enclosure gaskets can withstand these chemicals. These rubber gaskets also provide other performance properties such as excellent stability over a wide temperature range. Fluorosilicones gaskets resist compression set, too. Fluoroelastomers are more expensive than some other compounds but are cost-efficient to produce with the right cutting and bonding techniques.

Choose Enclosure Sealing and Insulation from Elasto Proxy

Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates enclosure seals, gaskets, and insulation with the right performance properties for your application. We use water jet cutting, offer a variety of bonding methods, and can help you with seal design and compound selection. If you need enclosure sealing and insulation solutions, please contact us.

What’s in the Elasto Bag? Sealing and Insulation Samples for Mobile Equipment

elasto bagDo you need thermal, acoustic, or thermal-acoustic insulation for forestry, mining, construction, or other types of mobile equipment? Maybe you need cabin flooring or floormats instead. The Elasto Bag, a sack full of samples from Elasto Proxy, contains sealing and insulation that you can see for yourself and hold in your hands. It’s easy to request an Elasto Bag, but what’s inside when you get it?

The Elasto Bag contains at least nine samples of sealing and insulation. (We can also include samples of  edge trim, bulb trim, or D-shaped profiles with adhesives if you need them). Let’s take a look at what’s inside the Elasto Bag so that you’ll understand what you have or can get. Along the way, you’ll see links where you can download product specifications. Continue reading What’s in the Elasto Bag? Sealing and Insulation Samples for Mobile Equipment

Rubber Floor Mats Reduce Wear, Danger, and Noise

Rubber Floor MatsRubber floor mats for mobile equipment protect cabin floors from damage and operators from slip-and-fall hazards. Rubber flooring that’s laminated to acoustic insulation also absorbs noise from the engine compartment, which is often directly below the cab where the operator sits. Rubber matting can even be used as a kick-plate to protect cabin walls from contact with an operator’s boots.

For mobile equipment manufacturers, choosing the right type of cabin flooring is an important design consideration. The metal floors that are used inside a cab are durable, but operators track mud, snow, dirt, and water inside. Rubber floor mats can protect these metal surfaces from rust, corrosion, and scratching. Sheet metal flooring can become slippery, but rubber surfaces can offer surer footing.

As manufacturers are discovering, rubber floor mats are part of a complete cabin solution that promotes operator safety and equipment performance. By understanding how rubber flooring is designed and made, manufacturers can determine if a custom-fabricated solution is the right choice. For starters, however, engineers may want to compare rubber to other flooring materials. Continue reading Rubber Floor Mats Reduce Wear, Danger, and Noise

Industry 4.0 for the Real World

Industry 4.0Industry 4.0 is a catchphrase and buzzword that you can no longer afford to ignore. This fourth phase of the Industrial Revolution isn’t just about the increased digitization of manufacturing. It’s not just about advances in automation either. Industry 4.0 could change how your company competes and whether or not you’ll continue to win. Industry 4.0 isn’t just about technology. It’s about profitability. Continue reading Industry 4.0 for the Real World

Abrasive Water Jet Cutting vs. Guillotine Cutting for 45° Cuts on Bulb Trim Seals

Abrasive Water Jet CuttingAbrasive water jet cutting and guillotine cutting can both produce 45° cuts on bulb trim seals, industrial rubber products that may contain metal wires. Abrasive water jet cutting uses a high-velocity, high-pressure stream of water and abrasive to cut through rubber, metal, and many other materials. Guillotine cutting uses a miter saw or metal blade instead. Like abrasive water jet cutting, guillotine cutting can cut through rubber profiles that contain metal reinforcements.

For buyers of bulb trim seals, choosing the right cutting method involves a comparison of manufacturing costs. Compared to guillotine cutting, abrasive water jet cutting has higher hourly rates. Yet abrasive water jet cutting can also produce higher volumes of better quality cuts in less time. Cutting a 45° angle is challenging, even for an experienced guillotine operator. If the employee cuts too quickly, the wires won’t cut cleanly. This requires surface finishing, which adds labor costs and extends cycle times.

As this article explains, abrasive water jet cutting can cost less than guillotine cutting for 45° cuts on bulb trim seals. Let’s look at an example to understand why this is the case. Continue reading Abrasive Water Jet Cutting vs. Guillotine Cutting for 45° Cuts on Bulb Trim Seals

Solid Rubber vs. Sponge Rubber: What’s the Difference?

sponge rubber solid rubberWhat’s the difference between solid rubber and sponge rubber? Both are elastomers, natural or synthetic polymers with elastic properties. Both are also subjected to vulcanization, a process that uses heat and a chemical agent such as sulfur to improve durability. Solid rubber and sponge rubber are available in many of the same compounds, such as EPDM, silicone, and neoprene. They can be extruded into the same shapes or molded into sheets, too.

At the most basic level, the difference between solid rubber and sponge rubber is about air. Sponge rubber contains balloon-like cells or interconnected pockets that either hold air or permit its passage. Solid rubber doesn’t share this cellular structure. Both types of materials provide sealing and insulation, but sponge rubber provides better cushioning. Solid rubber provides stronger impact resistance. Each type of elastomer has its advantages then, but what else do engineers need to know? Continue reading Solid Rubber vs. Sponge Rubber: What’s the Difference?

The Top 7 Sealing and Insulation Posts of 2017

Best-of-2017The Elasto Proxy Blog is starting the New Year with a quick look back at how we helped readers solve their sealing and insulation challenges in 2017. Whether you’re new to the Blog or a veteran reader of our 275 posts, we hope you’ll enjoy this review and will let us know what you’d like to read about in 2018.

Here are the top sealing and insulation posts of 2017. Continue reading The Top 7 Sealing and Insulation Posts of 2017

Bulb Trim Seal Compounds, Colors, and Approvals

Bulb Trim Seal Compounds, Colors, and ApprovalsBulb trim seal compounds, colors, and approvals may surprise you.

Bulb trim seals don’t just come in EPDM rubber. They’re available in colors besides black, too. That’s good news if you need to use recyclable materials, or if you’re searching for colorful sealing solutions to complement distinctive product designs. Bulb trim seals that contain EPDM aren’t all the same either. Some meet specific industry or regulatory standards. Others are made of harder or softer rubber.

Do you need bulb trim seals for doors, hatches, or enclosures? In this week’s blog entry, Elasto Proxy’s last for 2017, we’ll finish the year with a flourish – and with a look at some of the compounds, colors, and approvals for bulb trim seals. Black EPDM gaskets are available if you need them, but procurement and engineering personnel may have more choices in compounds than they may realize. Continue reading Bulb Trim Seal Compounds, Colors, and Approvals

Bulb Trim Seals: Three Things Engineers Need to Know

Bulb Trim SealsBulb trim seals are used with doors, hatches, and enclosures. They have two sections: the bulb and the retainer. The bulb section provides sealing and insulation under compressive force. The trim or retainer section presses onto a flange or substrate.

Elasto Proxy supplies many different types of industrial rubber products, but there are three things about bulb trim seals that engineers need to know. Continue reading Bulb Trim Seals: Three Things Engineers Need to Know

Molded Corners for Rubber Gaskets

Molded Corners for Rubber GasketsMolded corners for rubber gaskets are recommended for applications that require rounded joints, the ability to withstand stretching, or high cycle times. Molding is more expensive than hot splicing or vulcanization, but it’s the only way to create radisued corners. C-press injection molding, a bonding method for rubber gaskets, is ideal for low-to-medium volume quantities but suitable only for solid profiles.

By understanding how C-press injection molding works and the advantages that molded corners provide, engineers can make strong decisions about gasket fabrication. In this article, the second in a series from Elasto Proxy, we’ll continue our coverage of joining methods. Next week’s content, the last in our series, will examine cold bonding. Continue reading Molded Corners for Rubber Gaskets