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Monthly Archives: August 2014

  • Film Splicing for Rubber Seals and Gaskets

    PE FIlm Splice Elasto Proxy's New Film Splice Machine

    Doug Sharpe President of Elasto Proxy

    Did you know that there are many different ways to splice rubber seals and gaskets? Examples include film splicing, cold bonding, C-press injection molding, and vulcanizing. Each method has its advantages, but selecting the splicing technique that’s right for your sealing application depends upon factors such as run quantity, environmental conditions, material type, and tooling costs.

    For example, film splicing is a reliable, high-quality process for bonding and sealing profile gaskets without inserts. Unlike other joining methods, it creates strong bonds and does not require adhesives. With their fast cycle times, film splices are often used for higher-cycle applications. They create strong corners that won’t crack, and are suitable for taped profiles. Examples include door seals and automotive gaskets.

     

    Film Splicing Then

    Ten years ago, Elasto Proxy acquired a state-of-the-art film splicer. Yet there were still issues that our technical team had to overcome. With taped profiles, for example, we had to find a way to cool the part of the clamping mold where the tape is located. The reciprocating water cooler that we chose worked well, but film-splice setups were still complex. The cooling jacket also added to tooling costs, making cold bonding a more attractive splicing option for some applications.

    Used mainly for low-volume splicing, cold bonding applies a quick-setting adhesive to the edges of rubber profiles that are cut with our water jet machine. Cold bonding is precise, but it’s also time-intensive. Naturally, any manual process is also subject to inconsistencies. Other splicing techniques, such as C-press molding, are more expensive. Vulcanizing is cost-effective, but generally recommended for splicing very low quantities of sponge or solid profiles that lack an internal cavity.

    Film Splicing Now

    Recently, Elasto Proxy introduced a newly-acquired film splicer that solves old challenges and offers exciting new possibilities. Instead of heating the clamping molds, our splicing press uses infrared (ID) light to heat the entire surface. This whole-surface heating uses less energy, produces strong bonds, and supports precise alignments while avoiding PSA or film liner degradation.   Unlike cold bonding, IR splicing also eliminates time-consuming, manual efforts that can result in discrepancies.

    Elasto Proxy’s infrared splicer also increases our press clamping range. Because the molds are three times wider, our custom fabrication specialists can make 3 to 4 splices at a time instead of 1 or 2, significantly increasing productivity rates. With a traditional press, heating and holding down such large, complex shapes was a more challenging task. Today, using our newly-acquired IR film splicer, Elasto Proxy can bond polyethyelene film to EPDM rubber in the flash of a light bulb.

    Ask our solutions providers about film splicing applications for water control and impact resistance. Examples include rubber gate seals and impact bumpers. With Elasto Proxy’s infrared film splicer, you have an alternative to molded parts – which can be expensive. IR film splicing also offers a degree of durability that some large splices lack. Just ask the engineer who’s braced a big spice in place, only to have the part break during transportation.

    How Can We Help You?

    For 25 years, Elasto Proxy has been solving sealing challenges in a wide variety of industries. By listening to your needs and analyzing all of your requirements, we can recommend the right splicing and taping techniques for your applications. How can we help you?

    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.

  • How Will You Connect to the Industrial Internet of Things?

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    Doug Sharpe

    President of Elasto Proxy

    What is the Industrial Internet? How is it related to the Internet of Things? Is it worth your time to find out? Can you afford to ignore digital developments that are transforming manufacturing? Even if your company is just a fraction the size of General Electric (GE), now is the time to see what you can learn from one of the world’s largest and best-known companies.

    As Jon Gertner explains in Behind GE’s Vision for the Industrial Internet of Things, data analysis is marrying industrial engineering – and you’re invited to the wedding. You can choose to attend or to send your regrets, but the marriage is happening with or without your consent or participation. As a manufacturer, you probably know the bride and groom anyway. Are you ready to see them together?

    The Industrial Internet of Things

    The Industrial Internet is term GE uses to describe the integration of machinery with networked sensors and software. Industrial computer controls aren’t new, but the Industrial Internet is about more than just machine monitoring. “Machines that talk, machines that react, machines that constantly update their status,” Gertner writes. “It sounds a bit like a social network . . . of machines.”

    If this reminds you of smart appliances, you’re not alone. The Internet of Things is bigger than the Industrial Internet, but there are similarities between a refrigerator that tells you it’s time to change the water filter and a water jet cutting machine that tells you it’s time to change the water jet cutting heads. That’s why innovators like GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt are embracing an Industrial Internet of Things.

    Revolution and Evolution

    Smart appliances and machinery may seem revolutionary, but the Industrial Internet of Things is also incremental. As Gertner explains in his article for Fast Company, GE uses a computer simulator to help train drivers of its Evolution series locomotives. “A type of hyperintelligent cruise control,” the GE Optimizer calculates the recommended velocity based on variables such as location, weight, and terrain.

    These calculations can save rail operators millions of dollars per in year in diesel fuel costs. The Industrial Internet can also help asset owners avoid downtime caused by operating conditions. Skeptics say such gains are incremental, but GE’S Chief Economist disagrees. “When you’re talking about such a huge base of machines,” Marco Annunziata says, “getting a 1% of 2% improvement is very sizeable.”

    Small to Mid-Sized Manufacturing

    What if you’re a small-to-medium enterprise (SME)? The number of machines in your factory is limited, at least in comparison to GE or a large locomotive buyer like Norfolk Southern.  As the co-founder and co-owner of an SME that’s now celebrating its 25th year in business, I believe that the Industrial Internet of Things will strengthen Elasto Proxy.

    Would a “smart” water jet cutter be a welcome addition to our custom fabrication facility? Of course. Could a railway partner’s ability to predict when engine insulation is needed inform our production and inventory schedules? Absolutely. The Industrial Internet of Things is all of that and more. As Jon Gertner notes in his article about GE, training simulators can strengthen productivity.

    Claude Choquet, a colleague of mine from Montreal, offers an example with his own business, 123 Certification, Inc. A graduate of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Claude is a welding engineer whose company supplies a simulator (ARC+) that merges computer-generated data with physical tools. By simulating the welding process, no gas is burned, no metal is consumed, and no waste is created.

    Join The Conversation

    How will your manufacturing company apply lessons learned from GE and others? Will you invest in “smart” machinery and equipment? Will you look for design, manufacturing, and even customer service simulators? How will you connect your business to the Industrial Internet of Things?

    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.

  • Sealing Solutions and Material Compatibility

    Image Source crystalimagewindows.wordpress.com Image Source crystalimagewindows.wordpress.com

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Doug Sharpe

    President of Elasto Proxy

    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?

    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.

  • How Safe Are Your Tires?

    Image Source: http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/Safety1nNum3ers/june2013/theFactsJune2013.html Image Source: http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/Safety1nNum3ers/june2013/theFactsJune2013.html

    Doug Sharpe President of Elasto Proxy

    Did you drive to work today? Maybe you carpooled, or traveled by van or bus instead? If your method of transportation was a motorized vehicle with tires, you may want to track a rubber-related investigation by the National Highway Safety Transportation Board (NHSTB). Earlier this year, the independent federal agency launched an inquiry into two tire-related incidents that resulted in injuries and loss of life.

    First, the NHSTB announced it was investigating the fatal highway crash of 15-passenger van in Florida. The incident occurred when the driver lost control of a 2002 Ford E350 XLT after the tread separated from the left rear tire, a two-year old BF Goodrich model that was part of a product recall initiated by the U.S. tire maker.

    Next, the independent agency announced a probe into an incident involving a 10-year-old Michelin tire that was not the subject of a product recall. The Lousiana accident claimed four lives and injured 36 when the driver of a 2004 Kia Sorrento lost control and collided with a school bus. In that crash, the Kia’s left rear tire suffered sidewall separation and rapid air loss.

    Do Tires Have an Age Limit?

    According to ABC News, the NHSTB’s inquiry into these “tire-initiated events” is the first of its kind. The investigative agency will analyze numerous factors, but tire age-degradation is a special focus because of the accident involving the 10-year old tire. According to Don Karol, the NTSB’s lead investigator for this initiative, “aging does potentially play a role in the degradation of the internal structure of the tire”.

    Sean Kayne, a safety consultant who testifies on behalf of plaintiffs in tire-related lawsuits, agrees. He also criticizes the tire industry’s opposition to date codes for tires. “They did not want to give the impression that tires might have a service life,” Kayne says. For “a universal practice that inherently keeps you safe,” he adds, replacing tires that are more than six years old is “a good place to go”.

    Dan Zielinski of the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), an industry trade group for tire makers, disagrees. Arguing that the six-year limit is “arbitrary”, Zielinski says “it’s more important how a tire is used, whether it’s maintained, and how it’s stored”. The RMA’s Executive Director opposes legislation that would establish age limits on tires, and is lobbying against mandatory inspections of tire age.

    Cracking the Code

    For motorists who wonder if there’s a way to determine the age of their vehicle’s tires, the code that Sean Kayne mentions holds the key. Located on the wall of your tire, this four-digit identifier contains two sets of numbers. The first two digits indicate the week, and the second two digits indicate the year. So a tire with a date code of 2108 was manufactured in the 21st week of 2008 – making it 6 years old.

    Would you feel safe in a vehicle with six-year old tires? Should tires have an expiration date, even if they’ve never been used, to avoid tread separation and accidents like the ones in Florida in Louisiana? Alternatively, do you believe that a six-year age limit is arbitrary, and that motorists need to consider how a vehicle’s tires are used, stored, and maintained?

    Before answering these questions, consider that there are several types of rubber in your tires. As I explained in What if Your Tires Could Talk? Rubber Compounds and Resistance, EPDM is used for the sidewalls because it resists ozone, which can attack stress points. SBR provides good traction in the tire’s tread, and BR rubber provides great abrasion resistance along with good cut and tear properties.

    How Can We Help You?

    Elasto Proxy doesn’t manufacture tires, but the company that Donna Sharpe and I founded 25 years ago does custom-fabricate industrial rubber products such as specialty seals and custom insulation. Do you have questions about how rubber ages, or how a rubber part’s usage and storage can affect its service life? Do you need help choosing the right type of rubber for your specific application?

    Please contact us for more information, or join the conversation about safe tires 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.

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