Are you still waiting for the perfect gasket manufacturer to fall from the sky?
That would be quite alarming.
Unfortunately, finding the best gasket manufacturer relies on your current stage of project development and your working knowledge of your design.
As a flexible material converter, Strouse has manufactured countless gaskets in our time. Yet, depending on the project, even a highly-rated gasket company might not suit your needs.
By defining the classification of a gasket and discussing what it takes to be a good gasket manufacturer, hopefully, you’ll have a framework for choosing the perfect business to partner with.
What Makes a Good Gasket Manufacturer?
Several factors make a good gasket manufacturer.
For starters, a good gasket manufacturer will ask questions, build your product in the desired time frame, and have the ability for eventual product growth.
However, factors such as understanding your product’s intended function and application ensure your manufacturer builds the component with the utmost usability. A good gasket manufacturer—
1. HITS YOUR TOLERANCES
First and foremost, you need to rule out any manufacturer or flexible material converter that can’t match the numbers on the page.
Of course, it’s not a bad sign if your manufacturer asks for clarification on your gasket tolerances. Engineers often double-check tight tolerances to make sure their clients get the best part value. Unnecessarily tight tolerances can significantly increase the cost of your project.
You need a gasket manufacturer who can prove they can match the tolerances you set in front of them. Ordering samples is an excellent method to determine whether your manufacturer can make the part in question. However, some manufacturers will not use their production process for samples. So, while it is a good indicator, it might not tell you the whole story.
2. BUILDS FOR YOUR PRODUCT’S PURPOSE
Knowing the gasket’s purpose can make a massive difference in the quality of your product.
A good manufacturer will ask questions about the purpose of your gasket or the environment it’s used in so they don’t miss out on critical adjustments.
Where are your gaskets going? Are they meant to seal out air or water? Do they need chemical resistance? What temperatures will they be exposed to?
Suppose you place an order with a flexible material converter but later realize the gaskets must be immune to petroleum. A great gasket manufacturer will help you find a substitute material with petroleum resistance while remaining close enough to the original that it doesn’t considerably affect the production process.
Understanding the design’s purpose allows manufacturers to make adaptable suggestions on gasket material and other alterations that fit the application.
3. PRIORITIZES PART APPLICATION
What’s the point in ordering components if they’re impossible to use? The part application plays a highly underrated role in product usability.
In automated assembly processes, factors like adhesive liner strength or part shape can make it difficult for machines and operators to remove components in the correct order.
Is your gasket manufacturer asking application-based questions about the form you want your part in (sheet or roll)? Do they discuss the type of liner used or your planned assembly process?
Experienced gasket manufacturers know that application is one of the most crucial steps in the product production process, not an afterthought, and they’ll support you throughout the process. Suggestions of additional part features like tabs can reduce labor costs and increase output and efficiency.
Custom gasket manufacturers will ensure your design fits where it’s intended by planning around the part application from the beginning. Figuring out how you’ll implement your part will allow them to take better design and production precautions.
Signs to Avoid a Gasket Manufacturer
Just as there are good manufacturers you’ll want to find, there are also those you’ll want to avoid.
Unlike the curious manufacturers who inquire about your design and the rationale behind specific measurements or material choices, some gasket manufacturers use a “one-size fits all” approach.
These manufacturers build gaskets without considering their choices' implications on the customers, which could significantly impact your production line if the gaskets don’t fit into your production process.
The first sign of a “one-size fits all” gasket manufacturer is the scope of their material selection. Are they willing to work with a large range of materials? If so, are they open to pursuing newer or more challenging ones?
The best manufacturers have experience with many materials, know enough to make recommendations, and will suggest less-expensive alternatives when the opportunity arises.
Another indicator of experience is simply asking the right questions about your design. Your gasket manufacturers might ask you to confirm your tolerances or other specifications to guarantee the best value. If they aren’t asking you ANY questions, you should be very concerned. These manufacturers simply quote drawings and don’t help their customers find the best value.
It’s essential to review factors like product application before entering production, and a lack of such indicates that your manufacturer might see product usage as a low priority.
How To Choose the Best Gasket Manufacturer
At the end of the day, you want to use someone who demonstrates a full understanding of your application.
Easier said than done, right?
As previously mentioned, the technical side of things will weigh the most heavily on your mind: does this manufacturer have the capability to build my part?
Once you’ve confirmed their ability to make the part, and you see that your gasket manufacturer is actively interested in learning about its purpose and optimizing your design for production, you’ll have some key indicators that they're a trustworthy source.
Good luck on your quest to find the best gasket manufacturer. As a flexible material converter, we’d be happy to help you evaluate your part design for production, or you can read more about gasketing and sealing applications in our Learning Center.