Profitable Part Production: There’s Always More Than One Way to Produce High Temperature Gaskets

Even for high temperature gaskets, Gasket Engineering is always looking for the most profitable part production for its clients and always considers multiple processes in order to recommend the best methodology that will help the client find the most economical process possible. Albert Diederiks, Inside Sales Account Manager explains, “It’s our responsibility to give our clients options so that they can choose the best way to go forward.”

A Heavy Duty Vehicle manufacturer recently came to the experts at Gasket Engineering recently with an interesting challenge. They needed high temperature gaskets for the right and left sides for the exhaust of a Class C truck. This was a new product for them, so they reached out to us to help engineer the product in the best way possible. They were looking for the most profitable part production for their new part. Because the gasket would be used in an extremely high heat situation, they needed something that would provide appropriate buffering capabilities while still maintaining its ability to hold up to the high heat of the engine.

MetalTech  makes fibrous gasket facing materials that are bonded to a starburst- or rectangular-style perforated steel core or have special coating like Teflon™ or other materials.  These provide excellent sealability, good load retention, crush resistance, lateral stability, more bonding points or more conformable materials that are excellent for use as exhaust gaskets, manifold gaskets, head gaskets, heat shields or other high temperature gaskets that are subject to frequent thermal cycling.  These are  highly engineered materials that can be difficult to cut.

Gasket Engineering provided them with one option to diecut the material to create the high temperature gaskets.  The engineers determined that method would produce a very clean-cut, but they also conceded that the yield would be lower and that there would be a lot of waste created using a traditional die cutting process. As they are always looking for profitable part production, that led our experts to recommend a flash cut that allowed for much closer nesting (and therefore less waste) for this expensive material.

Samples were sent to ensure that the edge was clean enough for the process required, the samples passed testing and the client was very happy with this money saving solution for their high temperature gaskets.

Do you need more profitable part production for your next project?  Give us a call at 813-363-8333.

Congratulations: You’ve Designed The Perfect Un-Manufacturable Part. Now what?

Have you designed an un-manufacturable part? A good production engineer should be able to design any part, but a great engineer needs to make sure they don’t forget to consider all the production process consequences of their otherwise perfectly-designed part.

“A lot of times an engineer designs a part for a specific application but they don’t always take into account the assembly method or the production method. Yes, the part might work in the final application but that part might cost precious time and money if the part is cumbersome or hard to handle in assembly. He or she needs to make sure they don’t forget to consider the production process consequences of an otherwise perfectly designed part.

Fortunately, Gasket Engineering can provide guidance and solutions. One of the most common problems we solve has to do with manufacturability. Gasket Engineering staff help customers with the design of manufacturability, rather than just the functionality of the part itself. There are several aspects of any job that need to be evaluated.

After we assess the material itself, we ask the customer about the assembly process. Is it automated or by hand? Do they have housings that the part is going on (for placement)?”

The questions are vital because all materials are different and some may need some sort of backing or some type of rigidity to facilitate manufacturing.

We’re always looking for ways to be more efficient in the materials that we use and in the way those materials are put together. Some engineers are proficient only with the materials themselves and this can lead to less than optimal product design. This is the way you end up with an un-manufacturable part. You have to take into consideration the whole production process when you’re developing a part.

Smooth Assembly Versus Higher Yield: Which Is More Profitable In The End?

All of these questions are meant to help our engineers determine the best way to produce a part that will maximize the client’s overall profitability, not just the cost of the individual part.

One element we think about is: “what is more important, speed of assembly or yield?” For example, it may be wiser in some circumstances to sacrifice the number of parts (lowering yield efficiency) in exchange for greater efficiency in assembly (increased speed of production).  If there is minimal difference in the waste, it might be wiser to alter how the part is produced.

At first blush, a particular job might appear to be most efficiently produced as ten pieces lined up across from each other, but when considering the manufacturing process, we might discover that the parts are getting pulled through and assembled by a robotic arm right into the fixture. In that case, it might make more sense to produce them in a straight line with a quarter-inch gap in between. We might add a perforated liner or peel tab which makes the part itself more expensive but could save the customer assembly time and lower their overall scrap rate. This could increase their overall profitability, which is the ultimate goal.

In that case, the trade-off of potentially higher waste still saves the customer money on the production flow.

With more than 60 years of experience serving customers in the aerospace, alternative energy, automotive, heavy equipment, electronics, industrial, marine and medical fields, our experience leads us to ask the right questions to help you avoid designing an un-manufacturable part and help you make the right decisions to maximize your profitability.

By thinking through the entire production process and working closely with Gasket Engineering, a customer can expect a more robust product for their specific manufacturing needs, as opposed to just a designed part. The part will work in your application, with your manufacturing, but will also provide increased productivity, increased throughput, less waste and ultimately, higher profitability.

Rotary Cutting

Crafting Intricate Parts: How Rotary Cutting is Like Seven Layer Dip

Intricate Parts

Although the finished product will not be edible, rotary cutting can stack a variety of “ingredients” and make them as palatable to a manufacturer as the best multi-layer dip is to a party guest.

Typically used for high-speed, high volume projects that require anywhere from two to seven substrates to be joined to form a part, rotary cutting has been part of Gasket Engineering’s offerings since the 1990’s when the company made nearly 60 percent of the US-based intricate parts needed by Motorola.

What’s so great about rotary cutting?

Gasket Engineering’s advanced rotary cutting capabilities have the ability to process multiple substrates in one harmonious pass. This type of process makes a nice, clean homogenous part out of multiple materials.

But it’s much more complicated and intricate than just laminating seven layers together. You can also remove and introduce liners, use different adhesives on different sides of the materials and stack different materials on top of each other.

Clients bring us incredibly complicated and intricate parts that need to be made–ones with voids and adhesives and liners and precision requirements from every industry imaginable. That’s probably why we ask so many questions–because we want to get it right! We know that there are so many elements that need to be considered in properly making an effective part.  Our expertise in designing the proper processes is just as important as our knowledge of materials and production methodologies.

 Intricate Processes

Sequencing is important.

Our knowledge of the right process design is only secondarily critical to the finished product itself. For example, it would not be uncommon for a customer to request to have a conductive material sandwiched between two insulatory materials and then have another adhesive that is put on a liner. That material could have multiple cuts so that some of the conductive material is exposed while some of it is covered.

For these types of intricate parts, those layers have to be processed at different times and in different ways in order to be properly laminated or delaminated and have the appropriate cut patterns and adhesives laid down. That process needs to pull off scrap at the right time and make multiple cuts in multiple materials.

That’s how we make the intricate parts that are customers bring to us. Our engineer has to be my knowledgeable about the materials themselves and how best to convert them, as well as how to properly process them through one of our machines. It has to be sequenced properly so that it doesn’t negatively impact other layers or aspects of the part production. That’s why we say that the sequence is as important as the material placement.

Our experts also need to be familiar with which machines should be used for different jobs. We run our rotary cutting projects through one of two different types of machines. Our Delta presses are software driven so each station can run at independence speeds, while the Allied presses all run at the same speed. Depending on the types of parts being made and the particular requirements of those intricate parts, our engineers will recommend the right machine for the job.

No matter which machine you use, we have optic registration on all machines for maximum precision.

Have you got ayn intricate parts or tricky problems that you’d like help with? Feel free to give one of our engineers a call at 813-363-8333.  If you’d like to read more about our rotary cutting capabilities, download our free ebook about The 10 Most Important Considerations for Rotary Cutting here

Touch screen gaskets

How to Properly Cut VHB Adhesive for Touchscreen Gaskets

Touch screen gaskets are best made with VHB adhesive and are harder to make than you think because if not done properly, the release liner doesn’t release.

Many product engineers love Very High Bond Tape (or VHB tape)because of its viscoelasticity (it “floats” well), but it is by definition sticky… very sticky. That’s what it supposed to be. But as a long-standing, high volume VHB tape converter, we know that if you don’t do it right, there are going to be problems, especially with the release liner.

Clients come to us when other converters have failed them.

Some of the most typical problems we hear about are release problems. Many converters don’t have enough expertise with cutting VHB adhesive to know that when you cut it, you can’t web it because the part will weld back together. The solution is to use an agent to assist in handling the VHB tape, but often the release agents can negatively impact the performance of the part during assembly and production.

That’s what happened with one of our clients in the electronic industry. They needed touch screen gaskets for a recreational vehicle. They had gone to another converter to get the part, but during production, the touch screen gaskets were not holding up.

That’s when they called us. The client had experience with the other company but needed parts that worked right away. Because Gasket Engineering is a 3M Preferred Partner, we were able to get the VHB adhesive materials in from 3M quickly, clear the right rotary tools necessary to do the job properly, and deliver the touch screen gaskets in six business days.

Gasket Engineering used its long-standing expertise, unique processes and specialized tool and equipment to ensure that the job was done right. The supply chain manager at this electronic company explained it this way, “We approached Gasket Engineering for help in solving a customer issue regarding the difficulty of removing the factory liner on the VHB adhesive used on one of our products.  Albert and the Gasket Engineering team were able to quickly offer samples of our part showing us several options of custom liners.   The final solution was well received and we have since switched to the new liner on another part as well.   Gasket Engineering’s innovative thinking and can-do approach has allowed us to improve our customer’s experience when installing our product on their equipment.”

To learn more, you can check out our webpages on rotary cutting, VHB tape and what it means to be a 3M Preferred Converter.

If your part calls for VHB tape, let the experts at Gasket Engineering ensure that the job is done properly. Contact us today to put our expertise to work for you!


We’re in the News!

Gasket Engineering keeps pushing to provide the latest technologies and materials to our clients, and now the Kansas City Business Journal is writing about us! Check it out.

Leading Missouri-based gasket manufacturer develops innovative solutions to meet composite repair challenges

Gasket Engineering Company poised to expand into specialized wind turbine, aerospace and marine composite repair markets

KANSAS CITY , MISSOURI, UNITED STATES, September 19, 2016 — Gasket Engineering Company, known for its extensive gasket manufacturing capabilities, quick turnaround times and superior quality is poised for market expansion. The Company continues to invest in state-of-the art technology to meet the growing demands of its diverse client base. With its disruptive technology, Gasket Engineering Company has earned a stellar reputation in such industries as Aerospace, Automotive, Heavy Equipment, Wind Energy, Marine and Industrial.

The US Gasket and Seals market is forecasted to expand 3.8% annually until 2018, according to The Freedonia Group. The Company will continue to leverage its large selection of state-of-the art, ISO-9001 certified technologies to capture a larger share of this growing market.

The Company is also modifying its distribution strategies to accommodate the specialized repair and servicing niche of select industries. Due to the size and intricacies of their composite structures, Aerospace, Alternate Energy and Marine industries face significant logistical challenges when it comes to blade and composite repair.

“A major challenge facing these companies is that materials are shipped in enormous and costly rolls when only a fraction of the roll is needed to do the repair. In addition, onsite logistics make it impossible to access the precision technology needed to cut with accuracy , which results in spoilage and substandard quality” explains Boyd Comfort, Director of Sales and a Principal Partner of Gasket Engineering Company. “To address these complex problems, Gasket Engineering Company has designed custom crafted repair kits, which are cut, batched and shipped according to client specifications. Materials are always on hand and the quality is top-notch making this a complete turnkey solution”, Comfort continues.
With lightning quick response time and precision cutting using its CNC cutting tables and patented nesting software, Gasket Engineering Company is able to strategically nest multiple geometries out of a like material so that there is absolutely no waste.

Gasket Engineering Company plans to capitalize on the market need for leading edge composite repair services and will continue to innovate and provide the market with custom solutions that are cost efficient, flexible and long lasting.

Gasket Engineering Company is a service-oriented, experienced partner that provides “one-stop shopping” and quick turnaround for the broadest range of high-quality parts and materials. Founded in 1942, this third generation family-owned business has grown into a worldwide leader in rotary and flat bed die-cut parts.
The Company’s facilities include two major manufacturing buildings (one 60,000 square feet and the other 80,000 square feet) located in Kansas City and serving clients nationwide.

Laser cutting

Tight Tolerances, Laser Cutting, Polyester Backed Tape and the Aerospace Industry

Extremely tight tolerances.

That’s what one of Gasket Engineering’s aerospace customers needed for some polyester backed tape that was being cut for use on one of its military vehicles, this part was quite intricate for several different reasons.

  • First, the project included 30 different shapes that need to be cut.
  • Second, the parts included voids (or areas that needed to be masked off so that there would not be adhesive material in certain sections).
  • Third, these pieces needed to be arranged together properly and sent to the manufacture in a certain configuration

As with all aerospace part construction, consistency, precision, and exact edges are required. Because of these tight tolerances needed, the customer was cutting these intricate pieces by hand. Each of the 30 pieces was cut using a razor blade and a cardboard template. This process insured precision but naturally took a great deal of time and care.

This aerospace customer was referred to Gasket Engineering because they are a 3M Preferred Converter. Gasket Engineering worked with the customer to transfer this intricate, Tier Two Boeing application project from a painstaking, time-consuming process to a streamlined, exact, repeatable process on Gasket Engineering’s state of the art laser cutting equipment. They were able to load the customers AutoCAD drawings of the part into one of their precision laser cutting machines and produce the polyester backed tape components with extremely clean edges in a fraction of the time that it used to take to do it manually. Tight tolerances every time! We asked 3M’s Jason Christopher about Gasket Engineering, and he had this to say: “Gasket Engineering has a broad range of excellent capabilities that not all of our 3M Preferred Converters has. They are highly creative and willing to do whatever it takes to do the job well. They are a partner who is continuously improving, adding the equipment necessary to exceed customer expectations.”

If you have a challenging component that has requirements for tight tolerances or would like help in figuring out how to streamline your production process, feel free to give one of Gasket Engineering’s sales engineers a call. You could also check out more about Gasket Engineering’s laser cutting capabilities here.

Director of Sales Boyd Comfort is a guest on this week’s edition of Composites Weekly, a podcast that brings the latest news and information in the world of composites to listeners, discussing new technologies & emerging markets within carbon fiber, 3-D printing and FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic). This particular episode highlights how Gasket Engineering is helping customers eliminate waste, save on material shipping costs, shrink downtime and provide kitted materials exactly suited to customers’ needs.  You can listen to the podcast here.

In this interview, Boyd talks about the company’s history of making gaskets via traditional die cutting and how they expanded to rotary die cutting and dieless cutting, building expertise all along the way. He talks about how we supply custom gaskets to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, alternative energy and marine applications, converting and binding virtually any raw material into the exact shape, dimensions, and thickness required for your manufacturing needs.


rotary tooling

If I Need Rotary Tooling, Why Should I Get a Steel Rule Die?

While material costs are always the biggest determinant of overall cost, rotary tooling is another key expense. The rotary cutting process is much faster and typically requires less labor than traditional die cutting processes. This is why, for large volume of orders, rotary cutting is a logical answer to help our clients save time and money. However, rotary tooling can cost up to 7-10 times that of traditional steel rule die tooling because there are more complex and there are multiples–a series of hardened steel dies that cut first the interior and then finally the exterior cuts. This cost is usually amortized over the large quantity of parts and is therefore not typically a constraining factor in the overall cost of a project.

Except if you get it wrong.

When you invest in rotary tooling, you want to know that what you’re producing will work. One way to ensure this is to invest in some hardened steel rule die tooling (typically associated with traditional flat die cutting processes) to test that the part itself will work within the context of the particular production process that will be used. GEC has found that when developing the part for the first time, engineers (understandably) tend to make a lot of changes in an effort to get it just right. Often the most fiscally prudent course of action is to invest in that additional tooling upfront to ensure that the proposed production process will accept the part being created and that all works smoothly. Spending a little extra money today on tooling can save a ton of money, time, and aggravation down the road.

This is another example of how GEC partners with its customers to make sure they’re getting it right–giving the customer not just what they ask for but verifying with them that it is meeting their needs. As one GEC expert put it, “what’s the point of getting one 10,000 piece order and having all of those pieces be all wrong and having them go somewhere else. We want to build long-term relationships with our customers and be trusted advisor for the long term.

If you would like help with a rotary project, check out our rotary services page or give us a call at 816-363-8333.

Introducing Gasket Engineering’s Quick Cuts!

We want to inspire you.

That’s one of the reasons were launching a monthly e-newsletter to bring you inspiration, news, tips and ideas for ways to innovate in your industry.

We know you turn to us when you need a trusted partner to help with all your processes and parts needs, and we take that partnership very seriously. The hallmark of any top notch converter is that they have been around, they know what they are doing, have demonstrated their expertise, and stay on top of innovations and material advancements.  By sharing this information with you, we hope you’ll get ideas about how you can apply new ideas and new materials to your biggest challenges.

The newsletter will be called “Quick Cuts” because we want to keep it brief– just the inspiration and ideas you need. Thinking about some VHB tape?  We’ll talk about important properties to consider for your application.  Trying to determine the best way to streamline your production line?  We’ll tell you about others we have helped. Want to see a video about a material you’re thinking of using? We’ll feature it! We’re a Kansas City converter who loves to values customer service above all else, and we want you to have the most up-to-date information and breakthrough uses of the widest variety of materials available. The goal is to inform and inspire you with helpful tips, success stories and highlights of the innovative ways we’re helping all of our customers. Innovation can come from anywhere, and often breakthroughs come from using a material or a methodology for one industry and applying it to another.

If there’s anything in particular that you’d like to hear about, please let us know. We’d be happy to tailor it to your needs.

Thanks for being an ongoing part of our business lives. We are honored to serve you, and hope you enjoy Gasket Engineering’s Quick Cuts.