Archive for December, 2015


The Perils of Over Specifying Tolerances on Rubber Products

Posted on: December 8th, 2015 | Posted in: rubber sealing

Determining and specifying the manufacturing tolerances for various manufactured parts is a vitally important step in product design. The purpose is to ensure that each part will fit and work efficiently when put together as a unit. If one piece is too large, or if two pieces are too close together, it can completely throw off the functionality of the finished product. In the electronics industry in particular, certain metallic pieces must maintain a certain distance from components to prevent overheating and other malfunctions. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that designers and engineers will often want to impose strict tolerance requirements in their product designs.

However,  depending on what materials are being used, it’s actually possible that designers are over specifying tolerances and boxing themselves needlessly into a corner. This is especially true when specifying rubber products and other elastomers, as they  are very different than the metal or plastic products that mechanical engineers use on a day to day basis. The dimensional tolerances in these materials, even when working with precision elastomeric products, is much larger than other types of materials due in large part  to their flexible nature. Unlike rigid materials that are rigid stiff,  rubber products can mold to fit most situations and deflect very easily.  As a result, not only is it more difficult to manufacture these types of rubber products, it is doubtful that most people would be able to measure them with the accuracy, precision, and repeatability within the tight tolerance range.

As a high precision manufacturer of elastomeric products, we’ve seen too many companies over tolerance rubber products because they aren’t as familiar with the material’s properties. We work with customers to avoid this situation and provide the best products for each application, along with optimization suggestions for lower cost manufacturing of your rubber product. For more information, feel free to call Vanguard Products at 203-744-7265 to discuss your needs.