Category Archive: rubber sealing

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.

Sealing Solutions for Winter Weather

If you’re like most people, once Thanksgiving hits, we know that the winter months are finally here, and the need for “winterizing” the house heads to the top of the to-do.  Hopefully you’ve already taken some preliminary steps to save on energy and heating bills, and make your home cozy for the colder months.  One of the biggest things among the myriad of lists recounting winterizing tips is to ensure your windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent leaks.  Old windows and ill-fitting doors are notorious for driving up energy bills in the winter because of their failure to efficiently insulate their openings.

Higher end windows and doors use a variety of different techniques and materials to improve this insulation – double-paned windows, advanced materials, and other technologies are advancing window technology and energy efficiency.  One of the most important factors is the quality of the seal around the frame – you can have the best coated double or triple-paned window, but if it doesn’t have a good seal, it’s ineffective.

Vanguard has been working with the better window and door manufacturers for years in fighting this “Battle of the Draft.”  At Vanguard, we know seals.  Our materials, engineering capability, and manufacturing flexibility position us favorably to provide our OEM customers with exactly the type of sealing solution that fits their needs.  We have developed numerous cost effective silicone sealing approaches that ensure low compression set/low compression force sealing, and enhanced thermally insulating silicone compounds.

Whether to keep the warm inside your home, or the rain out of an outdoor electrical enclosure, Vanguard has the right combination of experience and expertise to solve your sealing problems.  Contact us today to talk to our experts about the right fit for your needs – and stay warm!

Vanguard Blog – Rubber Sealing for Naval Electronics

Vanguard – Rubber Sealing for Naval ElectronicsAmong many things to be proud of about our state, Connecticut serves as home to some of the largest maritime defense bases and manufacturers in the United States. While there are many bases from which U.S. subs operate, the Naval Submarine Base at New London has been given the simple and telling moniker, “Home of the Submarine Force.”  We are proud to also be home to the Coast Guard Academy, and a number of hi-tech submarine and marine equipment manufacturers supporting the defense of our nation on the open seas.  Being a Connecticut company ourselves, and being that we manufacture a full range of sealing and shielding products for maritime applications, we thought it might be a good time  to talk about the perils of shipboard galvanic action, and how Vanguard shielding products help prevent galvanic action from occurring.
Galvanic action, in essence, is a process where combinations of materials essentially become batteries due to contact between electrochemically dissimilar metals. When this happens, a conductive path is made by which electrons and ions move from one metal to the next.  During the process, the material from which the electrons and ions are moving becomes “sacrificial”—physically losing material until degrading to the point of failure.  In practice, “galvanic action” can occur between the highly conductive EMI shielding gasket and the metal enclosure, and usually causes the electronic enclosure (typically made of aluminum or steel) to corrode and degrade to the point where the structural integrity, especially from a sealing standpoint, is literally eroded.  The process is initiated and accelerated through the presence of an electrolyte.  In the case of maritime applications, the electrolyte is abundant—salt water or salt fog in the air.  Since maritime US forces are equipped with some of the most advanced, sensitive electronics known to man, and given that seawater is abundant, it becomes obvious why there’s a need to guard against galvanic action in naval electronics systems.
Vanguard’s Ultra-Vanshield and Microbridge dual function EMI shielding gaskets reduce the galvanic potential by reducing the exposure of the dissimilar metals to the electrolyte.  This, combined with the appropriate selection of conductive material from our extensive conductive materials options, can virtually eliminate the potential for galvanic action between the shielding gasket and the enclosure on which it is installed.  Whether extruded or molded, our gaskets and rubber sealants have been proven seaworthy time and again aboard seafaring vessels. Whether you make your way on a Nimitz-class carrier, a Los Angeles-class attack sub, or a munitions supply ship, you can depend on Vanguard to safeguard your electronic operations systems from the wind, weather, and brine you encounter every moment. For more information on our customized and standard electronics protection solutions for naval applications, call us today or email us at Vanguard Products.