Rubber gaskets for mobile equipment provide sealing and insulation for doors and windows. They prevent the entry of outside air and water, but also absorb road and engine noise. For mobile equipment manufacturers, the right rubber gaskets need to provide both environmental sealing and acoustic insulation. Otherwise, unwanted sounds can enter the cab where the operator sits. Seals that admit wind, water, dirt, or outdoor temperatures are problematic, but so is mobile equipment insulation that fails to reduce noise levels.
Gasket quality is important, but design engineers and sourcing managers also need to consider material costs. This includes not just the gasket rubber, but also the method of attachment, such as clips, fasteners, or liquid adhesives. Engineers and buyers also need to consider the tools, skills, and capabilities of the personnel who will install rubber gaskets for mobile equipment. Outsourcing your gasket fabrication may seem expensive, but consider your true costs. Continue reading Rubber Gaskets for Mobile Equipment: Doors and Windows
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
How safe are the sidewalks in your city? If you’re concerned about cracked cement at your feet, you may want to look skyward instead. No, don’t look at the clouds. Instead, examine the windows on the high-rise office buildings. In mid-town Manhattan recently, three pedestrians were injured when a glass window fell from the side of a 34-story structure. During interior renovations, a construction worker accidentally struck the window with a piece of equipment, causing the glass to dislodge.
Material scientists know a lot about glass, but you don’t have to be an expert to know that it can crack and break. Just ask the tourists who stepped onto The Ledge, a glass observation deck high above Chicago. When a thin layer of “sacrificial glass” cracked, the surface resembled a car’s windshield after an accident. Experts debate whether the tourists were really at risk, but that’s small consolation to the Jaguar owner whose car “melted” because of reflected sunlight from a London office building.
Rubber, Glass, and Metal
Glass may be the most commonly used urban building material, but it’s hardly the only one. Rubber seals help hold glass in place. They also keep out wind and weather. When the sun’s rays strike, it’s not just the window glass that expands. As I explained in Seal Selection and Thermal Expansion, changes in temperature cause changes in an elastomer’s length, area, and volume. Several years ago, I saw this firsthand when high heat caused a rubber seal to expand so much that it lifted a large steel cover.
Rubber and glass aren’t the only materials affected by service temperature, and cold weather can also cause part failure. Here in Canada, it’s not uncommon for hockey players to stuff beer in a snowbank while enjoying an outdoor game on a frozen lake or pond. The snow cools the beer, but the aluminum cans aren’t as hearty as a Stanley Cup winner. The beer is made mostly of water, and water expands when frozen. So if the beer gets too cold, the cans explode – and there’s no post-game celebration.
Thermal Expansion and Extreme Conditions
For the pedestrians in Manhattan who were injured by falling glass, the stakes were much higher than a hockey game. The tourists in Chicago and the Jaguar owner in London all stayed safe, but they saw what can happen when environmental conditions cause materials to fail. For the rubber and plastics industry, the incident in Manhattan is especially instructive. Whether with plastic parts or rubber seals, suppliers and buyers alike must consider whether a polymer is compatible with adjacent materials.
In office buildings, homes, and vehicles, window glass is typically part of a “system” that includes metal parts and rubber seals. Evaluating the thermal expansion of each componen tin sealing solutions is important, but factors such as maintenance must also be considered. Today, curtain walls often use EPDM and silicones because these materials provide excellent heat and weather resistance. If a different type of caulking is using during maintenance, however, air leaks and water damage can occur.
Plastic parts can also cause rubber components to fail. Years ago, a supplier packaged a foam rubber armrest against a piece of plastic. During the time the armrest was in storage, the plastic caused the rubber to look like it had been exposed to a hot iron. Today, suppliers must also consider a whole host of conditions. In the case of skyscraper windows, how will rubber parts withstand extreme weather conditions and earthquakes?
How Can We Help You?
For 25 years, Elasto Proxy has been solving sealing and insulation challenges in industries such as building and construction, automotive, and mobile specialty vehicles. By listening to your needs and analyzing all of your requirements, we can recommend solutions that balance the need for safety against cost concerns.
For example, by fully understanding your application’s material compatibility requirements and temperature conditions, we can recommend rubbers with the right material properties. Moreover, we’ll take the time to understand how these rubber products resist aging. The Brooklyn Bridge was built to last, but the Golden Gate requires a special coat of paint ever year. How does your application compare to these structures in terms of service life and maintenance?