Are you tossing and turning while you dream about gaskets?
Hopefully not. Although gasket design can be complex and challenging, there’s no reason for it to keep you up at night.
Over the years, Strouse has helped many customers optimize their gaskets for production and application.
If you’re planning on pursuing gasket production, it’s crucial to consider certain design factors as you create your initial part drawing. As you work on your gasket, remember these questions and tips to help you develop a fully-rounded design.
3 Tips For Designing a Gasket
Before you declare a finalized design, you should ensure you’ve covered all your bases. If you can confidently answer each of these questions, then you’re well on your way to a rock-solid design.
TIP #1: REMEMBER YOUR GASKET’S PURPOSE
Above all else, the purpose of your future gasket will determine your material and design.
Is your gasket intended to act as an enclosure against water? Or is it meant to serve as acid-resistant battery housing?
Whether selecting material or determining how to apply your gasket, understanding the gasket’s purpose is essential to creating the final design.
Additionally, it’s crucial to inform any partners, such as flexible material converters, about the ultimate function of the gasket so they can take proper precautions and meet industry standards when manufacturing each gasket part.
TIP #2: CHOOSE A MATERIAL THAT MAKES SENSE
Selecting a material can be a complex factor in designing a gasket, but with proper planning and testing, you’ll find a material that fits your needs.
When choosing a gasket material, ask yourself the following:1. What is the hardness or durometer needed?
- Should I choose open or closed cell foam?
- Which sterilization method am I using?
- Will this become an issue if we upgrade to automation?
5. What color do I need this gasket to be?
Keep in mind that factors such as the thickness and hardness of the material will affect not only how your gasket functions but also the ease of manufacturing.
Thick foam gaskets are often more challenging to cut because the material curves. The thicker the foam, the more concave your material is “crushed” as the blade lowers onto it.
For instance, rotary die cutting thick foam can result in angled cuts due to the motion of the machine press, while flat bed die cutting thick foam can give you edges that curl and bend. Laser cutting might give you a flat edge, but the top could be charred and unsightly, not to mention covered in residue.
More rigid gasket materials, such as hard rubber, often require stronger tools, which are sometimes significantly more expensive.
In addition to choosing a material, there’s also the question of whether you want to use a gasket adhesive for added support.
Adhesives can help reinforce a gasket’s inherent sealing abilities. Choosing a material isn’t just about what works— it also depends on the tolerance requirements and manufacturing feasibility.
TIP #3: KNOW YOUR EXACT MEASUREMENTS AND TOLERANCES
Although it may seem obvious, many engineers rely on default title block tolerances for their part drawing rather than considering the need for specificity.
Measurements and tolerances affect your chosen material because certain materials are more difficult to cut precisely.
Tighter tolerances lead to more expensive products. That’s why it benefits you to list accurate requirements for functional tolerances on your design rather than using tight machine default ones.
Remember that you’ll want to include any measurements you would expect if you were trying to duplicate this part.
Designing for Manufacturability
It’s one thing to design a working gasket, but you’ll also want to optimize your design to make it as manufacturable as possible. Ideally, this will help you save money on production costs.
Tight tolerance gaskets often have challenging and costly production processes. Certain materials, like thick foam, are also more complicated and typically more expensive to work with.
Consider reaching out to a converter before you finalize the design measurements to confirm they’re manufacturable with your desired material.
Preparing for the Post-Design Phase
Production doesn’t just halt as soon as you’re holding a gasket in your hand. Once you have finished gaskets, how do you plan on applying them correctly?
Many engineers forget to account for gasket application during the design phase. Yet, optimizing your application will actually improve gasket functionality by decreasing the number of errors and reducing the length of the application.
With this in mind, you can optimize gasket designs for application by adding helpful usability features such as tabs, extended liners, and more.
There are many factors to consider when designing a gasket, but the most prevalent concern is an obvious one: gasket cost.
Manufacturing gaskets can become pricey, which is why you’ll want to understand the factors standing behind gasket costs and choose a reputable and experienced converter.
Rather than getting blindsided by an expensive process later on, it could benefit you to discuss your design options so you know what to expect when ordering custom parts.
Are you still looking for more info on custom gasketing solutions? Check out our Learning Center for additional tips and resources to prepare you for production.