Gaskets are simple yet essential elements of industrial systems, providing a seal between components of pipes and mechanical assemblies. As important as it is to tightly link surfaces like pipe faces, it’s impossible to manufacture perfectly smooth junctions and corrosion can introduce new aberrations over time. Gaskets help to maintain a seal between components, ensuring consistent and efficient performance under a variety of operating conditions.
In this guide, we discuss the critical design considerations for gaskets, including:
- What is a Gasket?
- Different Types of Gaskets and Gasket Materials
- Selecting the Right Gasket for Your Application
- Gasket Applications & Industries Served
- Custom Gasket Design & Manufacturing Solutions
- Why Custom Gasket Manufacturing?
A gasket is a flat component designed to seal two larger mechanical components against one another. Gaskets vary widely in form, ranging from simple O-rings to complex custom designs with multiple openings of different shapes. Regardless of these variables, most gaskets are designed to seal pipes and prevent leaks. Other functions might include dampening sound and vibration or maintaining appropriate compression levels within a system.
Different gasket materials function according to different principles, but the general idea is that a gasket is made from a more deformable material than the components it seals. This material might be an elastomer or simply a metal with lower yield strength. As a result, when the gasket is placed, it molds into any surface irregularities to provide a tight seal.
Gaskets come in many different styles to suit different industrial environments. Different shapes, thicknesses, and combinations of openings allow gaskets to fit between any two faces. The gaskets might be formed from rubber, cork, felt, fiber, or another material entirely, depending on the characteristics of the mechanical system.
Die-cutting is one of the most versatile techniques used in gasket manufacturing, allowing suppliers to cut precise openings in the gasket for a close custom fit.
- Steel rule die-cutting is one of the most common techniques for achieving exactly the desired gasket shape. In steel rule die-cutting, the supplier works in collaboration with the client to determine the specifications of the final gasket. The supplier then creates a steel template to match the product, feeding it into a flatbed die-cutting machine. The machine punches the rubber, plastic, or other material into the shape of the steel guide, resulting in uniform, consistent gaskets at high or low volumes.
- Rotary cutting uses a cylindrical die on a rotating press. As the machine rotates, the die cuts through the material to form the gaskets.
- Kiss cutting is specifically used when the design calls for an adhesive backing, which is sometimes necessary to provide the proper seal. In kiss cutting, the die merely perforates a top layer, allowing the adhesive gaskets to be peeled off of their backing.
Die-cutting is the best choice for gaskets with complicated configurations and cut-outs, but it can also be successfully used to recreate simpler designs. Most die cutting processes are compatible with virtually all common gasket materials, making it possible to achieve a whole range of physical properties, including features like shielding or high-temperature resistance. An experienced gasket manufacturer will determine which specific technique is most likely to be successful given your design’s material, shape, and use case.
Die-cutting is often used to create the following gasket types, among others:
Rubber gaskets are some of the most common, yet most diverse gasket categories. Some of these components are die-cut, especially when working with thinner sheets. However, a number of common 3D gasket configurations require the use of rubber molding or extruding processes. For instance, the thick, layered gaskets used to seal bell jars are typically created using rubber molding rather than die-cutting. In general, if the gasket contains design elements that aren’t flat and uniform, rubber molding or extruding may be necessary.
It’s important to note that rubber is not a single material, but instead a broad category of elastomers with different physical characteristics. Industrial clients should consider any necessary corrosion and temperature resistance properties and select a rubber accordingly.
Some common rubber gasket materials include:
Choosing the best gasket for your project requires a close collaboration between your design team and your supplier. The material is among the most important considerations, as it will determine the gasket’s durability under your specific operating conditions. Some industries must also contend with specific regulations, such as those dictating appropriate food-grade rubbers. The shape of the gasket is slightly more straightforward and is determined by the shape of the surrounding mechanical components. Of course, variables such as material thickness are also important and should be considered in collaboration with the supplier’s engineering team.
Any industry that works with piping, whether for gas or liquid, is familiar with the need for appropriate gaskets. Gaskets are situated in systems ranging from heavy-duty manufacturing equipment to household plumbing and valves.
Industries that commonly require custom gaskets include:
Custom Gasket Manufacturing specializes in the design and production of high-quality, industry-specific gaskets. We partner with clients to determine the most appropriate materials and methods for any given project, with capabilities including:
- Die-cutting. Custom Gasket has the experience and equipment necessary to process die-cutting orders in volumes ranging from prototypes to high-volume production runs. Working with all non-metallic gasket materials, we strive to meet your every blueprint and tolerance specification.
- Flash cutting. Flash cutting machines use a die-less, oscillating knife to carve components from a sheet. We use flash cutting to quickly and accurately replicate intricate gasket designs, replicating cuts of various depths and shapes to achieve both cuts and creases. Our fully automated systems ensure production runs with good finishes and few defects.
- Laser cutting. Requiring no tooling, laser cutting allows clients to quickly receive components with tolerances up to +/- 0.002″. As such, laser cutting is appropriate for both low- and high-volume production runs. Our laser cutting systems achieve intricate designs with no compression distortion and no tooling delays.
- Waterjet cutting. Waterjet cutting makes it easy to achieve complex and intricate parts with no tooling and no compression distortion. Waterjet cutting machines use a high-powered stream of water as the cutting implement, making the process ideal for cutting applications that can’t tolerate heat from lasers or blades. Waterjet cutting cuts through more layers than die-cutting while producing fewer defects.
Custom Gasket Manufacturing has built our reputation on high-performance gaskets, competitive pricing, on-time delivery, and unparalleled customer service. We work with our clients through the entire design and manufacturing process to ensure that the results surpass expectations. To learn more about our proven sealing capabilities, contact us or request a quote today.