In the 1970’s the US military launched a new class of aircraft carriers called the Nimitz. It was the biggest class yet, offering gigantic load displacements and great sustainability over long periods of time. Similiar to then, large machines require large parts, and NEDC is very familiar with large gasket manufacturing through various methods.
Why are Gaskets big, and how big can they get?
The majority of the business that NEDC does is the manufacturing of small, to medium size gaskets. Nevertheless, it is not outside NEDC’s scope to manufacture gigantic gaskets. There are several types of materials that NEDC utilizes when manufacturing gaskets, ranging from regular gasketing rubber materials to EMI/RFI shielding components. Often it is not feasible to offer a regular die cut gasket that has a huge size; the same goes for waterjet, or laser cut parts without running into constraints of material size. Unfortunately this is not always true when the material simply is not available that big, or that wide.
Methods of Manufacturing Giant/Large Gaskets
After 30 years of experience in the gasket manufacturing industry, NEDC has developed methods for working around these types of everyday issues. Some of the problem solving techniques NEDC have adapted are:
- Cold Bonding
NEDC can provide many types of seams, including a 45 degree seam, a dove-tail seam, and more. These bonds are made through coordinated efforts between adhesives, RTVs, and our skilled fabricators. These techniques provide the ability to supply gaskets in an extra-large size, despite the constraints of the size of materials. NEDC maintains vulcanizing capabilities in house, so manufacturing large size gaskets has become relatively easier. There are a few caveats to keep in mind with larger than normal gaskets:
- Tolerancing can become a challenge. A tolerance of +/- .005” may not be realistic in a gasket that is 70” long. It is good to keep in mind that the larger the gasket, the larger the tolerance should be.
- Bonding/Vulcanizing/Knitting will require the drawing to allow for a seam.
- With very expensive materials bonding/vulcanizing can become economic, if more parts can be nested out of a sheet of expensive material.
Recently, NEDC manufactured an EMI/RFI shielding electrically conductive fluorosilicone ladder gasket that was over 25” inches long. For this type of part, it is rather rare to manufacture a part this big. As another example, the other day, NEDC shipped a 14′ gasket to a customer.
If you have a gasket that you believe could be manufactured but is too big for conventional means, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.