The Perils of Over Specifying Tolerances on Rubber Products

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.

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

Preparing and Inspecting Heating Systems for Winter

As the temperatures begin to steadily drop, home and business owners’ thoughts turn to the readiness of the systems in their buildings to deal with the rigors of winter.  It is important for everything from your furnace  and hot water heater  to your snow blower to work at a moment’s notice to avoid the bitter cold of a January day (or night).

Preparing Pellet Stoves for Winter

Preparing Pellet Stoves for Winter

So, what is Vanguard’s role in making sure that your house is warm and your driveway is clear of those snow drifts? Quality OEM manufacturers have been using our high performance seals and tubing for years in some of their best units.  Our silicone bushings have been used in capacitors that provide starters in the HVAC systems and gas engines with the necessary “kick” to get them going on those cold days.  Our profile extrusions have been used in everything from hot water heaters to pellet stoves to keep moisture and fumes out of the living space and keep the home warm.  Our performance silicone materials are so resistant to temperature extremes that they are used in everything from structural seals on the South Pole to sealing the hottest of flue gasses on wood stoves.

It’s important to realize, though, that even the best equipment requires regular maintenance.  So, how can you make sure that these heating systems are ready for winter?

Get an Inspection: This is the easiest way to make sure everything is working as it should. And by scheduling an appointment now, before the first major snowfall, you’ll save yourself the trouble of finding out that something isn’t working when you need it most. Not only that, but if everyone tries to turn on the heat on the first really cold day, you’ll have a lot of competition for service providers who are busy trying to keep up with the influx of calls.

Insulate Water Heater Pipes: Frozen pipes are a common problem in winter, and can soon turn into burst pipes. Protect them by using appropriate insulating materials.

Replace Furnace Filters: With windows firmly shut and little ventilation indoors during winter, it’s important to regularly replace furnace air filters to keep air quality clean and healthy. This is also a good time to reevaluate the type of filter you’re using and consider upgrading to a variety that can improve energy efficiency.

Regularly Maintain Your Furnace And Hot Water Heater: This is something you might want to ask an inspector to check for you.

By doing your due diligence now, you’ll be helping to ensure a warm, comfortable winter to come.

For more information, feel free to visit our website or call 203-744-7265.

Posted on: November 4th, 2015 | Posted in: seals

Growing Popularity of Silicone & EPDM Compounds in Architectural Sealing

Those of us following trends in the construction sector have been seeing a lot of positive news lately. Workers who are upgrading infrastructure can look forward to about two more months of road work, even as the busy summer season winds down. Commuters may not be pleased with the short-term disruptions caused by this effort, but it is a necessary and beneficial action to ensure long-term safety and reliability.

In addition to these public sector construction projects, residential building is also expected to continue to increase. In particular, multifamily housing units are in high demand, with construction projects growing more than 100% over the past 5 years. According to Charlie Stewart of DC Building Group, a rise in residential construction usually signals a rise in overall construction activity. And today, that seems to be the case as more office buildings, housing options, hotels, and retail spaces are being built.

Roofing Example

Sealed Shingle Roof

And all of this activity is heightening demand for EPDM compounds and silicone in architectural sealing applications. EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) is a durable and flexible material often used in roofing due to its resistance to wear – even in extreme temperatures and climates. So as the seasons change, it’s an ideal option for roofing that needs to withstand temperature fluctuations.

At Vanguard Products, Inc., we’re seeing more lightweight clear span roofing systems that are using our silicone and EPDM sealing products because of their inherent resistance to UV aging and superior cold weather flexibility, along with the ability to color match.  They  are currently being used in installations such as sporting coliseums, water treatment facilities, sewage plants, and more. By using these weather resistant architectural seals, contractors can create buildings that are better insulated from outside temperatures, which can result in lower energy costs down the road.

To learn more about EPDM elastomers for architectural sealing, and the benefits of other materials like silicone, visit Vanguard Products online for a full product review.

Posted on: October 5th, 2015 | Posted in: EPDM

The Benefits of Silicone Over Other Elastomer Materials

Elastomers are more commonly known as rubber products, and are used in a very wide range of industries. Their well-known flexibility makes these materials ideal for creating seals and other formable products that can be used in industrial settings, as well as medical settings. But with the many elastomer options out there, what makes one better than another?

Rubber Silicone Extrusions

Examples of Rubber Silicone Extrusions

Depending on the desired application, certain elastomeric materials will have properties more in line with what you need. Silicone rubber in particular is an excellent choice for numerous jobs because it continues to perform well even under extreme conditions. For example, in your personal life you may have noticed that a common rubber band will lose elasticity and become brittle in cold temperatures. This can lead the band to snap when it’s supposed to stretch. Silicone can withstand much lower temperatures than many other materials without compromising it’s flexibility. It also does well in high heat conditions. So for applications that involve high or low temperatures, or both, silicone is a good choice.

Similarly, silicone is flame retardant and can therefore be used in settings where flammability may be an issue. In the consumer electronics sector for example, you’ll want to use materials that will self extinguish quickly. This makes silicone ideal for sealing or joining components in computers and small appliances.   It’s also great for cooking products like commercial ovens and food carts, and for the automotive industry where exposure to high temperatures is common.

And because of silicone’s permeability and durability, the material is also uniquely suited for the medical device industry. It is frequently used for medical implants, drug delivery systems, and wearable devices. It can stay securely in or on the body without breaking down, while at the same time allowing the appropriate substances to flow freely through the material.

The applications for silicone tubing and sealing are endless. For more information about the industries that benefit most from this product, visit our page about Rubber/Silicone Extrusions. We are a trusted manufacturer of silicone elastomers with an ISO 9001:2008 Certified facility. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have about these products. Feel free to call us at 203-744-7265 for additional information.

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 | Posted in: Silicone Extrusions

UL Listings Ensure Reliability of Enclosures for Electrical Equipment

At Vanguard Products, we maintain a firm commitment to our customers in ensuring the quality and safety of our products. As such, we are constantly looking for ways to enhance our offerings through relevant certifications.

Currently, we have numerous products that have received appropriate UL listings, including Ultra-Vanshield products listed under UL 50/UL 508/UL 50E for outdoor electronic enclosures (file number JMST2.MH48850).

What is a UL Listing?

UL is an independent not-for-profit organization that seeks to ensure the safety of products. UL product listings are recognized throughout North America, and are accredited by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). To receive a UL listing, manufacturers must submit product samples for testing. After evaluation, acceptable products receive the appropriate certifications, and the manufacturer is provided with a full report.

What is the UL 50 Standard?

The UL 50 standard is specifically designed for electrical equipment enclosures used in non-hazardous locations. The product should provide sufficient separation between personnel and equipment. The UL 508 standard covers industrial control panels for general industry operating at 600 volts or less. They also cover control panels and enclosures designed for applications in which flame safety and combustible fuel is a concern.

By adhering the applicable UL standards and obtaining certifications for our products, Vanguard is actively working to maintain a high level of quality and safety. This is especially important in an industry such as ours, where all of our products are inherently designed to protect people and materials from harm, whether from electromagnetic interference (EMI), radio frequency interference (RFI), or other common concerns.

Have a question about any of our products or certifications? Contact Vanguard Products by calling (203) 744-7265 or by submitting a request for information online. You can also follow us on Twitter for regular updates and industry news.

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 | Posted in: UL Listings

Are Nanoparticles Safe to Use in Manufacturing and In End Products?

Concerns are mounting among the general public and the scientific community about the safety of nano-materials. The overall consensus is that more research must be done to determine the safety and possible risks associated with these materials.

Though most studies have been inconclusive, the fact remains that some nanoparticles can easily pass through cellular walls and even through the blood-brain barrier. Some nanoparticles have even been shown to have an antibiotic effect. Knowing that many bacteria are helpful and necessary for our bodies to function properly, would it not be wise to keep such a potentially damaging agent from being introduced into our environment?

So why use nanoparticles in the first place? Nanoparticles are highly conductive and can replace expensive materials, such as precious metals, in a wide range of products. The very same aspects of nanoparticle technology that make it potentially harmful, such as the aforementioned ability to permeate the blood-brain barrier or to destroy specific cells, make nanoparticles a potential tool for the delivery of drugs. Nano-tech could be put to use in the future for such things as pollution monitoring, better energy storage techniques and in the reduction of otherwise harmful chemicals to name just a few of its potential applications. But again, there is the possibility of significant negative human health consequences.

In light of these health concerns, the European Union has taken the lead in regulating the use of nanoparticles and exploring their potential detrimental effects. Many large electronics manufacturers are questioning their use of these materials internally and have set extensive internal reviews to evaluate the use of these types of products internally, with the thought that, eventually, they may need to limit their usage.

However in other parts of the world, like Asia, companies still include nanoparticles in their products, and some larger companies here in the U.S. are continuing to distribute these nanoparticle containing products. There are, however, other American companies that are working to provide competitive products that are made with completely safe materials and achieve similar or same properties as the nanoparticle containing products.

As a trusted supplier of top quality electromagnetic shielding, at this time, Vanguard Products has made the decision to manufacture shielding products without the use of these nanoparticles. There is still just too much uncertainty with respect to the safety of these products both from a manufacturing sense within our factory, and the safety to our valued customers and, for that matter, their customers.  We are a full service manufacturing and engineering company, providing industry with incredibly precise elastomeric fabricated goods who is constantly evaluating new materials and processes while keeping in mind that safety truly is the most important attribute of a product. For more information about our design, development, and manufacturing services, visit us at

Exploring the Benefits of Nickel Free EMI/RFI Shielding Gaskets

EMI Shielding Gaskets

Nickel Free EMI Shielding Gaskets

In the competitive world of EMI/RFI shielding gaskets, many companies are touting various nickel-containing gasket materials claiming that they have improved galvanic compatibility with aluminum at a lower cost. However, these material combinations including nickel and graphite alloys, and nickel and aluminum alloys suffer from poor conductive performance. And beyond that challenge, a major concern is the uncertainty surrounding the safety of heavy exposure to nickel products.

The European Union is constantly issuing recommendations on the amount of nickel that can safely be exposed to skin. According to the Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association (NiPERA) fact sheet on Nickel and Human Health, “Nickel is one of the most common anthropogenic causes of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD).”

The fact sheet goes on to state that individuals who have prolonged exposure to nickel become more sensitive to it.

“A nickel sensitized individual, when re-exposed to nickel ions on the skin in sufficient amounts, may have an allergic response within a matter of hours. This is termed the elicitation phase, which often occurs at a lower concentration of nickel ions than required for inducing sensitization in the first place. The elicitation of nickel ACD usually occurs at the site of exposure but can occur in skin remote from the site of contact with nickel where previous nickel sensitization reactions have occurred.”

Because of these risks, it may be beneficial for companies to select industrial products that are nickel free to prevent unnecessary exposure and discomfort among employees. At Vanguard Products, the majority of our materials are nickel free, and our Ultra-Vanishield Dual Elastomer EMI/RFI Shielding Gaskets offer a competitive cost alternative to nickel-containing products. Our microbridge approach with silver and aluminum alloys can even surpass the galvanic performance of other products. And because our EMI shielding gaskets are made in the USA, all materials adhere to current safety and quality standards.

To learn more about EMI/RFI shielding gaskets and their many industrial applications, please feel free to visit our website. You can also browse our online catalog for additional product details and information.

Join Vanguard Products at 2015 IEEE Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility & Signal Integrity

IEEE Symposium Logo

Keeping Interference at Bay

Next week, from March 15 – 20, 2015, Vanguard Products will be attending the 2015 IEEE Symposium at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The event, which is themed “Keeping Interference at Bay,” aims to provide the most current information about Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) testing and signal integrity.

The event brings together EMC professionals at all stages of their careers for a week of presentations and learning. Attendees will have a wide array of workshops and tutorials to choose from, the ability to see demonstrations, and take part in numerous social activities in their down time. The Keynote Presentation will be delivered by Dr. Thomas H. Lee of Stanford University, titled, “The Carrington Event, H-bombs, Telstar and the Great Geomagnetic Storm of 1989.”

Each day is packed with informative technical sessions, which include peer reviewed industry papers as well as student papers. This is a great opportunity for young people to have their work presented to an audience of experts in their field, in addition to networking with leaders who may one day be their employers and associates.

Vanguard Products will be exhibiting at the IEEE Symposium, and we look forward to displaying our high performance elastomeric goods, which include gaskets, seals, tubing, moldings, and EMI/RFI shielding gaskets. If you are looking for a full service manufacturer of high quality elastomeric products, visit us at the Symposium and see what we can do for you.

Posted on: March 10th, 2015 | Posted in: Trade Shows

New Certification to Add Value to Our Ultra Vanshield Sponge Product Line

Vanguards Product Corporation has stood true to its name. With cutting edge innovations in the field of high-quality elastomeric goods, it has always set industry precedents in terms of usability and safety of its wide range of products.

Dealing in both dense and sponge elastomeric forms, the myriad Vanguard products give new definitions to sealing, fluid transfer, shock absorption, heat transfer, and EMI/RFI shielding applications.


The newest addition to the Vanguard family of products is a special low compression deflection sponge version of our Ultra-Vanshield product with a high level of flame retardancy.  This product was developed in conjunction with our partners in Japan, Vanguard-Japan.  Its niche lies in high-performance commercial electronics for indoor purposes and electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding for consumer equipment where ultra-low compression forces, high level shielding, and flame retardancy are key, such as backplanes and connectors.

Because of the mandates of its usage, this product with the highest level of flame retardancy commonly available in the industry.  The product is produced and listed under UL file number E31158 to the UL94V0 standard. Of the different classifications, UL94V0 offers the fastest level of flame extinguishing as certified by the industry leader in safety.

Vanguard is proud to announce the addition of this UL94V0 certification to its Ultra-Vanshield product line produced in Danbury, CT and at our sister company, Vanguard-Japan. This new certification adds to the current UL50/UL508/UL50E listing already in place for the Ultra-Vanshield product, providing our loyal clients and new customers alike with further affirmation of our drive to excel and grow over time.

Posted on: December 16th, 2014 | Posted in: Ultra Vanshield Sponge Product Line

Ultra-Vanshield Gaskets: The New Standard in Shielding Success

Virtually all high-speed connector applications, as well as the industries which rely on them, have evolved dramatically. The technology is very advanced, and therefore, so are the challenges and requirements.

Ultra-Vanshield Dual Elastomer EMI/RFI Shielding GasketsAs a result of these changing needs, Ultra-Vanshield Dual Elastomer EMI/RFI Shielding Gaskets are quickly becoming the standard for high-speed electronic connectors. Their design and advantages have proven to be far superior to previous types of shielding gaskets, such as traditional stamped metal gasket products.

One of the reasons for Ultra-Vanshield gaskets’ success over other products is the inherent limitation posed by these previously used gasket designs. Oftentimes, they lack the features necessary for long-term shielding, have high compression forces, and don’t offer high performance over the expected life of the connector.

Alternatively, Ultra-Vanshield shielding gaskets are able to withstand high temperatures and promise long life spans, providing high levels of shielding at frequencies up to and greater than 40GHz—with low compression forces. For the needs of today’s high data rate connectors used in networking and communications equipment, they are the most logical, affordable, effective choice.

Other design features and benefits include:

  • Easy to mate and un-mate
  • Reduced silver content = reduced costs
  • Excellent conductive properties
  • Resistance to deformation
  • Optimal compression and aging properties
  • Environmental sealing, along with extreme environment and abrasion resistance
  • Continuously extruded high-strength silicone rubber core
  • Available in a variety of conductive metals
  • Custom finishing services available

Regardless of the specific application, Ultra-Vanshield shielding gaskets can be customized based on specific needs. Countless customers worldwide have come to find the absolute advantages they provide, and we expect them to continue to replace older methods, leading the way in the RFI/EMI market.


Posted on: November 10th, 2014 | Posted in: EMI Shielding Gaskets, Ultra-Vanshield Dual Elastomer Shielding Gaskets