Enclosure gasket fabrication is the process of cutting and bonding lengths of extruded rubber to form a seal between two mating surfaces, such as an enclosure door and door jamb. Gasket taping can speed seal installation. Value-added services like parts marking, kitting, and custom packaging can reduce inventory and assembly times. Some enclosure manufacturers want warehousing services, too.
There are many different types of enclosure gaskets, but what do you need to know for your own sealing application? For starters, it’s essential to choose enclosure gasket materials that can withstand your indoor or outdoor environment while meeting any additional requirements such as flame resistance or acoustic insulation. Specifying an enclosure gasket design with achievable tolerances is important, too.
The following sections describe enclosure gasket fabrication in greater detail. When you’re ready to discuss your project, contact Elasto Proxy. Our solutions providers are happy to answer your questions about water jet cutting, bonding, taping, and value-added manufacturing.
Water Jet Cutting for Enclosure Gaskets
Water jet cutting makes fast, clean, cost-effective cuts without long lead times or tooling changes. This computer-controlled process uses a highly-pressurized stream of water to cut rubber extrusions to the precise dimensions required. Compared to manual cutting, water jet cutting means less material waste and higher material yields. This digital manufacturing process can reduce your labor costs, too.
These are some of the advantages that water jet cutting provides:
- No metal tooling to pay for or wait for
- Smooth, straight lines for easier-to-bond edges
- Angled cuts, including 90-degree corners
- Vent holes, notches, and other part features
- Cleanly cut lengths for larger enclosures gaskets
This YouTube video shows water jet cutting in action.
Enclosure Gasket Bonding
After rubber profiles are waterjet cut, they’re joined into finished gaskets using hot splicing, vulcanization, cold bonding, or molding. Each bonding technique has its advantages.
- Hot splicing uses heat, pressure, and a thin PE film splice to join cut edges. Most film splices are 90°, but this bonding method also supports 45° cuts and endless gaskets. Infrared splicing (IR), a type of hot splicing, can accommodate larger profiles. It’s not right for silicone but is a great choice for sponge rubber since IR splicing won’t burn the elastomer.
- Vulcanization uses heat, pressure, and uncured rubber that’s applied to the profile’s ends. After the ends are pressed together, the joint is placed into a hot mold. Vulcanization is good for low volumes and for enclosure gaskets that need a space for the free-flowing passage of air.
- Cold bonding is a manual process that’s performed with a brush and adhesive or glue. Cold bonded enclosure gaskets won’t last as long as hot spliced ones, but gluing costs less and is a good choice for lower volumes.
- Molding is the only bonding technique that can create rounded corners for enclosure gaskets. It’s also recommended for gaskets with corners that will be stretched or pulled. The cost of the metal mold that’s required may be significant, so molding is generally used with larger volumes.
Enclosure Gasket Taping
Taped gaskets speed installation times and can provide temporary or permanent fastening. Adhesive tapes aren’t messy like liquid adhesives and don’t require hand tools like metal fasteners. There are two types of tape for enclosure gasket fabrication.
- PSA tapes can be single-sided or double-sided. Some use a high-performance adhesive for high tack and peel resistance. Installers like PSA tapes because assembly simply involves removing a release liner, positioning the enclosure gasket, and applying hand pressure.
- HATS tapes use heat and curing so that the tape and gasket are fused together. HATS high-bond tapes are a good choice for enclosure gaskets that might otherwise come apart from repeated pushing, such as on a door assembly. HATS gasket tapes also feature strong stress-handling and weather-stripping capabilities for outdoor use.
For gasket fabrication that’s highly efficient, rubber profiles are taped, water jet cut, and then bonded.
Value-Added Services and Enclosure Gasket Fabrication
Enclosure gasket fabrication that’s combined with value-added services can save enclosure manufacturers additional time and money while improving quality and operational efficiency.
- Parts marking with inkjet printing and UV drying produces letters and numbers that are easier-to-read for fewer picking errors. Clearly marked parts can also reduce labor costs because employees won’t need to compare unknown parts to engineering drawings.
- Kitting and custom packaging also simplify ordering and receiving. When rubber parts arrive separately, stockers make multiple trips from the receiving area to the storage racks. There are more SKUs to track and a greater risk of picking the wrong part. If all of the parts arrive together and in the same package, efficiency improves. There’s less paperwork, too.
- Warehousing is a value-added service that supports shorter lead times and even just-in-time (JIT) inventory. When lengths of rubber are stored at the gasket fabricator’s facility, the enclosure manufacturer can be sure that materials are readily available. With JIT inventory, warehousing can mane keeping finished goods in-stock and shipping them on demand.
Talk to Our Solutions Providers
Would you like to learn more about enclosure gasket fabrication? Do you have questions about water jet cutting, bonding, or taping? Maybe you’d like to know more about value-added services like parts marking, kitting, custom packaging, and warehousing instead. Outsourced gasket fabrication can cost less than in-house production, but maybe you need help with a make it or buy it decision?
Help is available when you choose a manufacturing partner instead of just a parts provider. To strength your supply chain and get the custom sealing solutions that you need, contact Elasto Proxy.