Value-Added Manufacturing: Parts Marking, Kitting, and Custom Packaging

Value-Added Manufacturing

Value-added manufacturing transforms engineered products into goods that save you time and money. It’s different than fabrication, the process of manufacturing a product like a gasket from a semi-finished material like an extrusion. By outsourcing fabrication and leveraging a vendor’s value-added services, you can reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Consider the following example. Instead of paying your employee to cut and bond gaskets, you outsource the gasket fabrication. If you’re using a relatively expensive employee to cut-and-bond, you’ll save money on labor costs. You’ll also reduce material waste from mis-cuts and improve material yields. Yet outsourced fabrication can do even more.

Value-added manufacturing like parts marking, kitting, and custom packaging make your products faster, easier, and less expensive to order, receive, stock, pick, and install. That’s true for gaskets as well as for thermal and acoustic insulation. Even rubber floor mats provide an opportunity for added value.

Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading Value-Added Manufacturing: Parts Marking, Kitting, and Custom Packaging

Why Custom Fabrication Is Better Than Cyber Monday

Video Splash - Cyber MondayFor consumers, Cyber Monday is one of the biggest on-line shopping days of the year. For industrial buyers, the real deals are about value – and that means custom fabrication. Learn how Elasto Proxy adds value to your projects with custom sealing and insulation.

Ten years ago, a Senior Vice President for the National Retail Federation coined a phrase that describes what’s become an international marketing sensation. Cyber Monday, the marketing term for the first Monday after U.S. Thanksgiving, is now one of the biggest on-line shopping days of the year. The day that Ellen Davis named is aimed mainly at consumers, but industrial buyers like a bargain, too. Price is important, of course, but so are features. Yet neither matter if a product doesn’t meet your needs.

Custom fabrication isn’t the same as ordering an off-the-shelf product. It’s not like buying off-the-rack clothes on Black Friday, or ordering a blender on-line on Cyber Monday. Yes, Elasto Proxy has a down-loadable catalog of extruded rubber products. You can buy lengths of standard extrusions from us, and we invite you to learn more about all of our product groups – including molded parts. Where Elasto Proxy really adds value, however, is by solving your specific sealing and insulation challenges. Continue reading Why Custom Fabrication Is Better Than Cyber Monday

Rubber Part Tolerances and Custom Fabrication

Rubber Profiles Elasto ProxyDoug Sharpe
President of Elasto Proxy

What’s the best way to organize a factory floor? Work centers are designated areas of a production facility where specific activities are performed. Each area is equipped with the tooling, machinery, and staffing that’s necessary to complete tasks efficiently, accurately, and cost-effectively.

For rubber manufacturers, examples of work centers include extruding and hydraulic pressing. Custom fabrication isn’t the same as rubber manufacturing, but Elasto Proxy also operates work centers that meet part tolerances – allowable variations in part dimensions.

Work Centers and Custom Fabrication

Here at Elasto Proxy’s headquarters in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada, our skilled production personnel use state-of-the-art equipment in ten work centers.

  • Cold bonding
  • Film Splicing
  • Molding
  • Vulcanization
  • Cut Lengths
  • Waterjet cutting
  • Taping
  • Insulation
  • Laminating
  • Painting (i.e., waterproof coating)

This YouTube video briefly describes our custom fabrication capabilities.

Custom Fabrication and Rubber Part Tolerances

As a recent blog entry called Part Tolerances for Rubber Seals and Insulation explained, manufactured and custom-fabricated rubber parts must meet required tolerances in order to ensure proper sealing. The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) publishes a handbook with tolerance tables, and this reference provides a “common language” that the entire supply chain – including technical buyers – can understand.

In this blog entry, we’ll examine RMA part tolerances for spliced lengths and cut lengths, and connect these two RMA tables to several Elasto Proxy work centers. Hopefully, this exercise will provide you with an even better understanding of how part tolerances apply to your sealing and insulation solutions.

Spliced Length Tolerances

Elasto Proxy offers four splicing solutions: cold bonding, film splicing, molding, and vulcanization. Each technique corresponds to a work center. The RMA Tolerance Table that appears below lists tolerances for spliced lengths of extruded rubber profiles by part dimensions and class, a measure of precision.

Depending upon your application requirements, our solutions providers may refer to this information and then share it with you during discussions about splicing.

Note: Tolerances may vary depending on the compound selected or the shape used.

RMA Class 1 Precision 2 Commercial 3 Non-Critical
Drawing Designation S1 S2 S3
Millimeters
Above Up to
0 250 ±3.2 ±6.3 ±7.1
250 400 4.0 7.1 8.0
400 630 5.0 8.0 9.0
630 1000 6.3 9.0 10.0
1000 1600 8.0 10.0 11.2
1600 2500 10.0 11.2 12.3
2500 over 12.5 12.5 16.0
Inches
Above Up to
0 10 ±.13 ±.25 ±.28
10 16 .16 .28 .32
16 25 .20 .32 .36
25 40 .25 .36 .40
40 63 .32 .40 .45
63 100 .40 .45 .50
100 over .50 .50 .53

Cut Length Tolerances for Unspliced Extrusions

Elasto Proxy stocks over 700 standard profiles that our Boisbriand facility can custom-fabricate into specialty sealing solutions.  As you may recall, Elasto Proxy has a Cut Lengths work center. Our custom fabrication facility also has a water jet cutting machine that provides tight tolerances and makes fine, fast cuts without tooling costs.

Depending on your application requirements, our solutions providers may refer to this RMA Tolerance Table about cut length tolerances for unspliced extrusions, and discuss the data with you.

Note: Tolerances may vary depending on the compound selected or the shape used.

RMA Class 1 Precision 2 Commercial 3 Non-Critical
Drawing Designation L1 L2 L3
Length (in Millimeters)
Above Up to
0 40 ±0.7 ±1.0 ±1.6
40 63 0.08 1.3 2.0
63 100 1.0 1.6 2.5
100 160 1.3 2.0 3.2
160 250 1.6 2.5 4.0
250 400 2.0 3.2 5.0
400 630 2.5 4.0 6.3
630 1000 3.2 5.0 10.0
1000 1600 4.0 6.3 12.5
1600 2500 5.0 10.0 16.0
2500 4000 6.3 12.5 20.0
4000 0.16% 0.32% 0.50%
Length (in Inches)
Above Up to
0 1.6 ±0.03 ±0.04 ±0.06
1.6 2.5 0.03 0.05 0.08
2.5 4.0 0.04 0.06 0.10
4.0 6.3 0.05 0.08 0.13
6.3 10.0 0.06 0.10 0.16
10.0 16.0 0.8 0.13 0.20
16.0 25.0 0.10 0.16 0.25
25.0 40.0 0.13 0.20 0.40
40.0 63.0 0.16 0.25 0.50
63.0 100.0 0.20 0.40 0.63
100.0 160.0 0.25 0.50 0.80
160.0 0.16% 0.32% 0.50%

How Can We Help You?

Do you have questions about part tolerances and custom fabrication? How can we help you? For over 25 years, Elasto Proxy has been helping partners in a wide range of industries solve sealing and insulation challenges. Please contact us for more information, or join the conversation on our social media channels.

Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has a YouTube channel, too. There, you’ll find our Capabilities video, as well as other informative content. Finally, please subscribe to our free e-newsletters. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and they provide links to blog entries like this one.

How to Source Custom-Fabricated Rubber Parts

Hand Crafted

Doug Sharpe
President of Elasto Proxy

Did you know that there’s a difference between manufacturing and fabrication? Although these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they’re not exactly the same. Manufacturing is a process that creates something new from raw materials, or that produces a high-volume of parts. In the rubber industry, for example, manufacturers make sheets and profiles – as well as tires for trucks, buses, and cars. Fabricators customize manufactured stock to meet a buyer’s precise specifications.

For over 25 years, Elasto Proxy has specialized in the custom fabrication of small-to-medium quantities of high-quality parts made of rubber, plastic, and composite materials. Our slogan, “The Art of Sealing”, illustrates how we create components through a unique combination of time-honored craftsmanship and modern production technologies. Today, Elasto Proxy stocks over 700 molded and extruded rubber profiles, and can source many different materials in a variety of form factors.

From Catalog Pages to Custom Fabricated Rubber Parts

Elasto Proxy’s catalog of standard products is extensive, but we understand that engineers and product designers want to see more than just a catalog page when making procurement decisions. That’s why we don’t just sell products. Instead, we offer custom-fabricated solutions. As your partner and problem solver, Elasto Proxy applies its technical knowledge and application experience on your behalf. In short, we find innovative ways to solve your sealing and insulation challenges.

For example, by partnering with trusted suppliers and sourcing high-quality materials, Elasto Proxy can create custom components such as bulb trim seals, edge trim, floor mats, weather stripping, window channels, and tubing. We can also produce custom-molded parts, thermal and acoustic insulation, and EMI/RFI shielding. Rubber bumpers, inflatable seals, and rubber sheeting are also part of our extensive catalog, and parts that we can custom-fabricate to meet your specific requirements.

Cutting, Splicing, and Taping

Material selection is important, but custom fabrication isn’t just about choosing the right compound for rubber parts. At Elasto Proxy, skilled production personnel apply their expertise with state-of-the-art cutting, splicing, and taping technologies. For example, our water jet cutting machine can make fine, fast cuts as small as 1/2” x 1/2”. With gaskets, we can create holes with diameters as small as 0.01”. For highly precise, cost-effective cuts without tooling charges or long leads, water jet technology sets the standard.

Elasto Proxy’s splicing solutions also promote quality and efficiency. Depending on the run quantity, performance requirements, material type, and tooling, we may recommend film splicing, cold bonding, C-press injection molding, or vulcanizing for joints, corners, and ends. Elasto Proxy also offers taping with a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) or heat-activated taping system (HATS) to keep profiles in place for temporary or permanent fastening.

How Can We Help You?

Taped gaskets are ready-to-install right out-of-the-box and speed production operations on automotive assembly lines. Custom insulation consists of sandwich-like structures made with coated fabrics, foams, fillers, barrier materials and adhesives for applications such as thermal and acoustic insulation. EMI/RFI shielding protects sensitive medical and military electronics. For a wide range of industries, Elasto Proxy delivers. How can we help you solve your sealing and insulation challenges?

Please contact us for more information about custom fabrication, or join the conversation on our social media channels. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has a YouTube channel, too. There, you’ll find our Capabilities video, as well as other informative content. Finally, please subscribe to our free e-newsletters. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and they provide links to blog entries like this one.

Custom Fabricated Vehicle Parts for the ETS Dune Buggy

DSC_5402

Philippe Grenier
Production Coordinator at Elasto Proxy

École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), a public engineering school in Montreal, awards the most engineering diplomas in Quebec and is Canada’s third largest engineering school. Founded in 1974, ETS is part of the Université du Québec system and esteemed for its emphasis on cooperative education. Each year, students combine classroom instruction with hands-on experience such as participation in international competitions. In the process, ETS students work with local companies.

Since 2008, Elasto Proxy has custom-fabricated rubber and plastic parts for student-built vehicles. This year’s project, a yellow dune buggy, took fifth place in a competition among engineering schools from Canada and the United States. Powered by a modified 10-hp Briggs & Stratton snow blower engine, the small two-wheel drive specialty vehicle is capable of achieving speeds of 60 to 70 km/hr. Although the students who visited us didn’t drive quite that fast around our parking lot, the Elasto Proxy employees who tried the dune buggy had a great time, as you can see from these photos on our Facebook page.

Custom Fabrication with Water Jet Cutting

Elasto Proxy custom-fabricated two main types of vehicle parts for the Baja ETS dune buggy: HDPE plastic parts for the vehicle’s body, and silicone foam insulation for the engine compartment. Using our water jet cutter, we made fast, clean cuts in a variety of sizes. Unlike die cutting, water jet cutting eliminates tooling costs and creates smooth edges. Water jet cutting is ideal for polymers and elastomers, but also works well with the thermal and acoustic insulation used in engine bays.

To produce durable plastic parts for the dune buggy’s body, Elasto Proxy cut sheets of yellow HDPE plastic. Known for its large strength-to-weight ratio, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a thermoplastic that’s used in products ranging from fuel tanks and pipes to bumpers and ballistic plates. At our custom fabrication facility here in Boisbriand, Quebec, our skilled production team crafted HDPE auto parts such as the fender, roof, scoop, and 7’ x 20” undercarriage component.

Custom Insulation and Specialty Seals

Water jet cutting also allowed Elasto Proxy to create a heat insulation barrier from silicone foam sheets. Snow blower engines are designed for cold weather environments, of course, but the powerplant that the ETS students modified generates plenty of heat. Without a thermal barrier, heat from the tuned-up engine could cause the transmission to overheat – and sideline the dune buggy during a race. Silicone, a heat-resistant material with an excellent service life, was the right choice for the heat shield.

In addition to water jet cutting, Elasto Proxy applied its expertise in cold bonding, a splicing technique that uses a quick-setting adhesive to join precise, angled parts without tooling costs. The rubber seal that we cold bonded for the dune buggy’s transmission was produced from an EPDM U-channel. A synthetic elastomer, EPDM offers outstanding heat resistance. EPDM rubber’s resistance to ozone and weather also make it a popular choice for the door, window, trunk, and hood seals used on cars.

How Can We Help You?

Do you have questions about compound selection or custom fabricated parts for cars, trucks, military transports, or mobile specialty vehicles such as the ETS dune buggy? For 25 years, Elasto Proxy has been solving sealing and insulation challenges in a variety of industries. By listening to all of your application requirements and analyzing all of your needs, our solutions providers can help.

Please contact us for more information, or join the conversation on our social media channels. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has a YouTube channel, too. Finally, please subscribe to our free e-newsletters. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and they provide links to blog entries like this one.

Outsourcing and Custom Fabrication – Industrial Rubber Products

waterjet

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.