Unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) need rubber UGV gaskets that can help protect sensitive electronics from high heat. UGVs also need weather-resistant door and hatch seals, and custom gaskets for cameras and LED lights that can handle extreme temperatures while keeping out water and dust. Manufacturers of UGV electronics, vehicle bodies, and imaging systems must meet different requirements, but custom fabrication can solve sealing and insulation challenges across the UGV supply chain.
Elasto Proxy, a global supplier of specialty rubber products, custom-fabricates the rubber gaskets that unmanned systems need. In this article, the second in a series about unmanned vehicles, Elasto Proxy examines three types of UGV gaskets: thermally-conductive insulation, environmental seals, and rubber gaskets for cameras and LED lights. Part 1 of this series covered UAV gaskets. Future articles will examine seals and insulation for USVs, UUVs, commercial drones, and unmanned system accessories.
Thermally-Conductive Insulation for UGV Electronics
Thermally-conductive insulation such as gaskets, pads, and gap fillers support optimum thermal management in unmanned ground vehicles. When air gets trapped between a heat-generating device and a heat spreader or heat sink, thermally-conductive materials transfer the heat away from hot spots towards the interior of the UGV. By helping to dissipate the excess heat that electronic components produce, this insulation can reduce the risk of system failure in both military and civilian applications.
Elasto Proxy uses water jet cutting to custom-fabricate thermally-conductive gaskets, pads, and gap fillers from sheets of closed-cell silicone rubber. We also cut sheets of silicone-coated fiberglass that combine high-temperature resistance and conformability with dimensional stability. In addition to water jet cutting, our capabilities include gasket taping. For value-added UGV gaskets, specialized polyimide films that use a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) promote ease-of-installation.
Environmental Seals for UGV Doors and Hatches
Environmental seals for unmanned ground vehicles include rubber gaskets for doors and hatches that allow assemblers, operators, and maintenance personnel to access UGV components such as electronics and sensors. Depending on the application environment, however, these custom seals may need to resist more than just water, wind, and weather. That’s why Elasto Proxy can source fireproof rubber and other elastomers that resist oils, acids, solvents, and chemical agents.
By cutting lengths of extruded rubber with speed and precision, water jet cutting eliminates the material waste that can occur when assemblers fabricate UGV gaskets in-house with hand tools. Water jet cutting for door and hatch seals is also a cost-effective alternative to die cutting, a gasket fabrication method that requires expensive tooling. Using various splicing or bonding methods, Elasto Proxy can bond UGV seals so that the corners are strong and long-lasting.
Rubber Gaskets for Cameras and LED Lights
UGV camera designers need rubber gaskets that provide reliable environmental sealing, but that won’t release gases that condense on camera lenses. LED lighting designers who develop products for unmanned ground vehicles share similar concerns since outgassing can reduce illumination. For manufacturers of UGV cameras and LED lights, low-outgassing silicones are a good choice. These materials can meet the requirements of ASTM E595, a standard that was developed originally for spacecraft.
Elasto Proxy can custom-fabricate lens gaskets and LED enclosure gaskets from a 65-durometer silicone that complies with ASTM E595-07 for total mass loss (TML), collected volatile condensable materials (CVCM), and water vapor recovered (WVR). Like other silicones, this specialty elastomer provides strong environmental resistance against water and a range of service temperatures. By strengthening UVG camera and UGV lighting decisions, Elasto Proxy adds value to unmanned ground vehicles.
UGV Gaskets from Elasto Proxy
Do you need UGV gaskets for thermal management and environmental sealing, or that have low-outgassing properties? Elasto Proxy can custom-fabricate the sealing and insulation solutions that you need. For more information, contact us.