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Elasto Proxy's Sealing Solutions Blog

Elasto Proxy's Sealing Solutions Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about the design and custom fabrication of rubber and plastic components. For nearly 25 years, our family-owned company has provided high-quality, low-volume seals to a variety of industries. Doug Sharpe, Elasto Proxy's co-founder, is a former president of the International Sealing Distribution Association (ISD), a not-for-profit trade association that enhances member success through information, education, and interaction. By blogging for CR4 in this same supportive and collaborative spirit, Doug and other members of the Elasto Proxy team will share our experiences with you.

UGV Gaskets for Electronics, Doors and Hatches, and LED Lights and Cameras

Posted July 24, 2017 2:38 PM by Doug Sharpe

Unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) need rubber gaskets that can help protect sensitive electronics from high heat. UGVs also need weather-resistant door and hatch seals, and custom gaskets for cameras and LED lights that can handle extreme temperatures while keeping out water and dust. Manufacturers of UGV electronics, vehicle bodies, and imaging systems must meet different requirements, but custom fabrication can solve sealing and insulation challenges across the UGV supply chain.

Elasto Proxy, a global supplier of specialty rubber products, custom-fabricates the rubber gaskets that unmanned systems need. In this article, the second in a series about unmanned vehicles, Elasto Proxy examines three types of UGV gaskets: thermally-conductive insulation, environmental seals, and rubber gaskets for cameras and LED lights. Part 1 of this series covered UAV gaskets. Future articles will examine seals and insulation for USVs, UUVs, commercial drones, and unmanned system accessories.

Thermally-Conductive Insulation for UGV Electronics

Thermally-conductive insulation such as gaskets, pads, and gap fillers support optimum thermal management in unmanned ground vehicles. When air gets trapped between a heat-generating device and a heat spreader or heat sink, thermally-conductive materials transfer the heat away from hot spots towards the interior of the UGV. By helping to dissipate the excess heat that electronic components produce, this insulation can reduce the risk of system failure in both military and civilian applications.

Elasto Proxy uses water jet cutting to custom-fabricate thermally-conductive gaskets, pads, and gap fillers from sheets of closed-cell silicone rubber. We also cut sheets of silicone-coated fiberglass that combine high-temperature resistance and conformability with dimensional stability. In addition to water jet cutting, our capabilities include gasket taping. For value-added UGV gaskets, specialized polyimide films that use a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) promote ease-of-installation.

Environmental Seals for UGV Doors and Hatches

Environmental seals for unmanned ground vehicles include rubber gaskets for doors and hatches that allow assemblers, operators, and maintenance personnel to access UGV components such as electronics and sensors. Depending on the application environment, however, these custom seals may need to resist more than just water, wind, and weather. That’s why Elasto Proxy can source fireproof rubber and other elastomers that resist oils, acids, solvents, and chemical agents.

By cutting lengths of extruded rubber with speed and precision, water jet cutting eliminates the material waste that can occur when assemblers fabricate UGV gaskets in-house with hand tools. Water jet cutting for door and hatch seals is also a cost-effective alternative to die cutting, a gasket fabrication method that requires expensive tooling. Using various splicing or bonding methods, Elasto Proxy can bond UGV seals so that the corners are strong and long-lasting.

Rubber Gaskets for Cameras and LED Lights

UGV camera designers need rubber gaskets that provide reliable environmental sealing, but that won’t release gases that condense on camera lenses. LED lighting designers who develop products for unmanned ground vehicles share similar concerns since outgassing can reduce illumination. For manufacturers of UGV cameras and LED lights, low-outgassing silicones are a good choice. These materials can meet the requirements of ASTM E595, a standard that was developed originally for spacecraft.

Elasto Proxy can custom-fabricate lens gaskets and LED enclosure gaskets from a 65-durometer silicone that complies with ASTM E595-07 for total mass loss (TML), collected volatile condensable materials (CVCM), and water vapor recovered (WVR). Like other silicones, this specialty elastomer provides strong environmental resistance against water and a range of service temperatures. By strengthening UVG camera and UGV lighting decisions, Elasto Proxy adds value to unmanned ground vehicles.

UGV Gaskets from Elasto Proxy

Do you need UGV gaskets for thermal management and environmental sealing, or that have low-outgassing properties? Elasto Proxy can custom-fabricate the sealing and insulation solutions that you need. For more information, contact us.

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UAV Gaskets for Sealing, Flex-Fatigue Resistance and EMI Shielding

Posted July 17, 2017 8:00 AM by Doug Sharpe

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) need rubber gaskets that can protect UAV components from environmental conditions, flexural fatigue, and electromagnetic interference (EMI). Manufacturers of antennas, avionics, and airframes face different sealing and insulation challenges, but custom fabrication offers the UAV supply chain a value-added solution. Elasto Proxy, a leading supplier of specialty rubber products, custom-fabricates the rubber gaskets that unmanned systems need.

In this article, the first in a series about unmanned vehicles, Elasto Proxy examines three types of UAV gaskets: UAV antenna gaskets, silicone gaskets with high flex-fatigue resistance, and EMI shielding gaskets. Future articles in this series will examine EPDM gaskets and foam insulation for UAV cases, and sealing and insulation solutions for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), and commercial drones.

UAV Antenna Gaskets

Unmanned aerial vehicles use antennas to support airborne-to-satellite datalinks and air-to-ground communications. UAV antenna gaskets seal the gap between the base of an antenna and the airframe. In addition to keeping out water, these rubber parts provide cushioning and vibration dampening. UAV antenna gaskets that are made of polyurethane rubber are a good choice because this elastomer is flexible, has a high load-bearing capacity, and is water-resistant.

Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates UAV antenna gaskets with water jet cutting, a manufacturing method that’s ideal for low-to-medium volume quantities because there’s no tooling. Water jet cutting also supports the creation of fastener holes and connector cutouts that align with the antenna and the airframe. UAV antenna gaskets that have a protective release film on both sides of the gasket also support ease-of-installation on the assembly line or in the field.

UAV Gaskets with High Flex-Fatigue Resistance

Like manned aircraft, UAVs are subject to cyclic loading that can cause micro-cracks. Over time, these tiny cracks can expand and result in component or even system failure. Holes, notches, lugs, pins, fillets, and joints are especially prone to cracking because stress is concentrated in these areas. Engineers need to account for these challenges by choosing gasket materials with proper flex-fatigue resistance. Silicones that meet the full requirements of A-A-59588, Classes 3A or 3B are a good choice.

Elasto Proxy can source 3B certified silicones in 50, 60, and 70 durometer that meet the full requirements of the A-A-59588 3B specification from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). This includes DeMattia Flex Test requirements for resistance to cracking. With our strong supplier network, we can also source a 50-durometer 3A silicone that resists flex-fatigue, tearing, and low temperatures. Water jet cutting is ideal for 3A and 3B materials, including prototype gaskets for testing new UAV designs.

UAV EMI Gaskets

EMI gaskets for unmanned aerial vehicles provide environmental sealing, electrical conductivity, and protection against electromagnetic interference. The causes of EMI are numerous, but the results can range from temporary disruptions in navigation or communication to the loss of UAV assets. Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates EMI gaskets from particle-filled silicones that meet the requirements of demanding specifications such as MIL-DTL-83528 from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

With electric UAVs, EMI shielding gaskets are used around the power supply since onboard generators can produce significant amounts of “noise”. EMI gaskets are also used to protect avionics and electronics in unmanned aerial vehicles that burn gasoline, avgas, or other liquid fuels. For increased resistance to fuels and chemicals such as cleaning agents, Elasto Proxy can custom-fabricate EMI gaskets that use fluorosilicone as the base material.

Custom Rubber Gaskets for UAVs

Do you need rubber gaskets that can protect UAV components from environmental conditions, flexural fatigue, electromagnetic interference (EMI)? For sealing and insulation solutions that strengthen your supply chain, contact Elasto Proxy.

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Electric Scooters: Rubber Gaskets and Plastic Parts for E-Scooter Manufacturers

Posted July 11, 2017 4:55 PM by Doug Sharpe

Electric scooters need rubber gaskets and plastic parts for sealing and insulation. Examples of these e-scooter components include gaskets for headlights, tail lights, brake lights, key locks, and valve stems; engine seals and EMI shielding; rubber flooring; and plastic body parts such as deck plates and pedals. Electric scooter designs vary, but vehicles from hoverboards and electric bicycles to mobility scooters and electric tricycles all need custom seals and insulation.

For product designers and electric scooter manufacturers, however, finding the right partner to supply e-scooter parts can be challenging. Some companies require high minimum order quantities (MOQs) or have long lead times. Others use expensive tooling and don’t offer design assistance or help with material selection. Ordering rubber gaskets and plastic parts from a “low-cost” supplier may seem like a bargain, but your total cost of ownership is higher than just the per-piece price.

Electric Scooter Parts from Elasto Proxy

Elasto Proxy, an experienced provider of sealing and insulation solutions, uses value-added manufacturing to supply electric scooter manufacturers with the rubber and plastic parts that they need. When you work with our technical team, you’ll get expert design assistance and advice about material selection. When it’s time to custom-fabricate your parts, our water jet cutter eliminates tooling charges and long lead times. Just send us your CAD file and we’ll move from a design review in SolidWorks® to digital manufacturing.

Importantly, Elasto Proxy also specializes in low-to-medium volume quantities for MOQs that are smaller than what some so-called “low-cost” suppliers offer. Water jet cutting is cost-effective for quick-turn prototyping, too. That’s why when manufacturers of mobile equipment design or revise products, they contact Elasto Proxy and work with us from prototyping through production. For electric scooters, we can supply manufacturers with a wide range of rubber and plastic parts. Here are a few examples.

Headlight, Tail Light, and Brake Light Seals

Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates rubber gaskets for electric scooter headlights, tail lights, and brake lights. Because these rubber parts are exposed to the elements, our technical team can suggest elastomers that withstand wind, water, and a range of temperatures. To prevent outgassing that can reduce the luminosity of LED lighting, we may suggest platinum-cured silicones instead. Our production team will water jet cut and splice your gaskets with precision, and can apply pressure-sensitive tape (PSA) to speed installation.

Engine Seals and EMI Gaskets

Engine seals for electric scooters need bolt holes for mounting. Elasto Proxy’s water jet equipment can make these cuts and is ideal for sheet materials. By nesting parts such as different-sized seals, we can also maximize material usage for engine seal kits. Elasto Proxy can even package your kits at our facility so that installers have everything they need in a single box. This includes EMI gaskets made from particle-filled silicones, specialized elastomers that provide shielding against electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Key Lock Gaskets and Valve Stem Gaskets

Rubber gaskets for electric scooters include seals for key locks and valve stems. In some e-scooter models, both the trunk and the battery cover contain a locking mechanism. With valve stems, the rubber gasket is mounted inside of a plated cylinder and helps to prevent flats. Valve stem gaskets also seal out dirt, water, and contaminants. Because water jet cutting is precise, Elasto Proxy can custom-fabricate rubber parts that seal small gaps and mate well with metal components.

Rubber Floor Mats and Plastic Body Parts

At Elasto Proxy, water jet cutting is also ideal for rubber flooring and plastic body parts. With some electric scooters, rubber floor mats are used to provide a slip-resistant surface for the driver’s feet. Typically, these rubber floor mats cover a plastic deck plate or foot plate that’s water jet cut and includes bolt holes. For molded plastic parts such as foot pedals and light covers, Elasto Proxy can leverage its supplier network to provide electric scooter manufacturers with a complete one-stop solution.

To learn more about how Elasto Proxy supports the electric scooter industry, please contact us.

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Data Center Cooling Systems: HVAC Seals, Gaskets, and Insulation

Posted July 04, 2017 4:55 PM by Doug Sharpe

Data center cooling systems need to maintain temperatures that support the continuous and reliable performance of information technology equipment (ITE) such as blade servers, networking switches, and routers. If heat isn’t removed from the vicinity of sensitive ITE components, overheating can occur. If servers get too hot, onboard logic will turn-off computers to avoid damage. This protects data center assets, but results in downtime and loss of efficiency.

Data center servers can run at temperatures that aren’t high enough to trigger a shut-off, but doing so can reduce equipment life. Humidity levels and airborne contamination can impede performance, too. For data center owners, developers, and operators, the high cost of cooling is especially problematic. As Pacific Gas & Electric explains in its Data Center Best Practices Guide, data centers can consume 100 to 200 times as much electricity as standard office spaces.

Data Center Designs and Data Center Retrofits

Data center cooling systems provide an opportunity for cost-savings and efficiency gains, but many data centers are located in commercial buildings rather than facilities with raised floors that deliver pressurized air from a computer room air conditioner (CRAC) or computer room air handler (CRAH). Yet even raised floors with CRAC/CRAH units don’t represent state-of-the-art cooling technologies. Hot aisle containment and cold aisle containment are just some of the newer techniques that data center designers are using.

For HVAC engineers and facility managers, designing or retrofitting a data center cooling system can be challenging. The principles of comfort cooling apply to IT employees, but ITE has different cooling requirements. Sound-absorbing acoustic insulation is often required, too. Data center designers and HVAC maintenance, repair, and overhaul organizations (MROs) can help with system selection, but these experts still need to source the right components.

For sealing and insulation solutions that add value to data center cooling systems, Elasto Proxy delivers.

Value-Added Manufacturing for Seals, Gaskets, and HVAC Insulation

Elasto Proxy uses water jet cutting, splicing, taping, and lamination to custom-fabricate seals, gaskets, and insulation for data center cooling systems.

  • Water jet cutting is ideal for prototyping and low-to-medium volume quantities because there are no tooling costs or waiting for tooling.
  • Splicing produces strong corners and supports reliable sealing.
  • Taping replaces glues, adhesives, and mechanical fasteners to promote ease-of-installation.
  • Lamination joins layers of sheet materials to provide thermal and acoustic insulation, noise control, vibration dampening, and properties such as fire resistance.

Elasto Proxy’s custom fabrication capabilities also include industrial sewing for removable insulation that supports HVAC maintenance and repair. Much like the heat blankets or exhaust blankets that are used with diesel engines in mobile equipment, this custom HVAC insulation has Velcro tabs. Materials of construction include closed-cell sponge or expanded-rubber materials and mineral-fiber blanket insulation. ASHRAE Standard 90.1, NFPA 255, and UL 723 are some of the standards that insulation designers need to consider for this type of custom insulation.

Elasto Proxy also adds value to data center designs and retrofits by reviewing your part schematics and helping you with material selection. Our technical team can assist you in developing sealing and insulation solutions that meet the requirements of ASHRAE Technical Committee 9.9 (TC 9.9), a standard from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). These guidelines are based on server inlet temperatures rather than internal server temperatures, and support the design of data center cooling that’s more energy-efficient than the traditional “meat locker” approach.

HVAC Parts for Data Center Cooling Systems

Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates HVAC replacement parts such as access panel gaskets, hose gaskets, air vent seals, air duct seals, vibration mounts, HVAC duct insulation, and acoustic insulation. For over 25 years, we’ve specialized in the design and custom-fabrication of value-added solutions for sealing and insulation challenges. So whether you’re planning a data center design or a data center retrofit, we invite you contact us for more information about custom HVAC seals, gaskets, and insulation.

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HVAC Maintenance and Replacement Parts: Custom Seals, Gaskets, and Insulation

Posted June 27, 2017 4:55 PM by Doug Sharpe

HVAC maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) organizations need replacement parts for air handling units, air conditioners, boilers, chillers, heat pumps, furnaces, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and other types of HVAC equipment. HVAC MROs also need to source these replacement parts in low-to-medium volume quantities that meet requirements for cost and quality.

HVAC original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can supply rubber seals, gaskets, and insulation, but at higher prices and in greater minimum order quantities (MOQs) than some HVAC MROs want to pay. HVAC aftermarket parts are available, but commodity items aren’t the right choice when a custom sealing and insulation solution is required.

Elasto Proxy supplies custom HVAC seals, gaskets, and insulation in low-to-medium volumes. HVAC MROs like our pricing, but they also appreciate our value-added manufacturing. In addition to custom fabrication, we offer design assistance and help with material selection. If you don’t have a drawing of the HVAC component that you need to replace, just send us a sample and we’ll create a CAD file. Elasto Proxy can recommend the right rubber and the most cost-effective MOQ, too.

HVAC Maintenance and Custom Fabrication

Elasto Proxy’s custom fabrication capabilities include water jet cutting, splicing, taping, and lamination. Water jet cutting makes fast, accurate cuts without tooling costs or waiting for tooling. Splicing creates strong joints, corners, and ends. Taping supports ease of assembly. Lamination creates sandwich-like structures with an application-specific combination of properties, such as vibration dampening and thermal-acoustic insulation.

Examples of Elasto Proxy’s sealing and insulation solutions for HVAC systems include rubber seals and gaskets for blower motors, heat exchangers, burner boxes, collector boxes, and combustion chambers. We can also custom-fabricate intumescent gaskets that provide passive fire resistance, and supply HVAC MROs with custom insulation that absorbs noise, dampens vibrations, resists microbial growth, and withstands high or low temperatures.

Custom HVAC Seals and Gaskets

Custom HVAC seals and gaskets are usually made of dense elastomers such as EPDM, silicone, TPV, or rigid PVC. Elasto Proxy can help you with material selection by comparing your application requirements to material properties such as tensile strength, compression set, and resistance to heat, abrasion, flame, and weathering. Low-compression rubber that requires less closure force provides superior sealing and is a good choice for access panel gaskets.

HVAC gaskets that are water-jet cut eliminate manual operations that increase your labor costs and can result in material waste. HVAC seals that slide into place speed installation times and can resist stretching and over-compression. If fastening is required, pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) tape and heat-activated tape (HAT) can eliminate metal screws, staples, or clips that increase cost and weight. PSA tapes bond quickly, and HAT tapes provide excellent performance at both high and low temperatures.

Custom HVAC Insulation

HVAC insulation is used with ductwork in commercial and industrial facilities. Standard HVAC products include duct liners, duct boards, and duct wrap. For facilities managers, custom HVAC insulation adds value by increasing building efficiency and meeting multiple requirements. For example, custom insulation can promote more consistent temperatures for reduced energy usage, dampen noise for quieter working conditions, and improve air quality for greater occupant comfort.

To create custom HVAC insulation, Elasto Proxy laminates materials with specific thermal, acoustical, and vibration dampening properties. We can also incorporate materials that meet UL94 standards or resist microbial growth. At our manufacturing center near Montreal, Canada, we use water jet cutting to create custom parts – including prototypes with quick turnaround times. Our skilled production team is adept at working with a variety of materials in form factors such as rigid boards, mats, sheets, tapes, and fabrics.

Choose HVAC Replacement Parts from Elasto Proxy

Do you need HVAC replacement parts in low-to-medium volume quantities for HVAC maintenance, repairs, or overhauls? For custom seals, gaskets, and insulation that add value to HVAC systems, contact Elasto Proxy.

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