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Another year is almost at a close, and upon reviewing 2019, there were several world events that were cause to celebrate and inspire us as we move into 2020. Female empowerment was on display with a record number of women elected to the 116th Congress (part of the most diverse class of lawmakers in history) while NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch conducted the first all-female spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Environmental friendly goals were on the rise with innovators like Tesla founder Elon Musk unveiling the Cybertruck, a bulletproof electric vehicle that uses similar steel material to make SpaceX's Starship space craft. Communications were also a hot topic with companies trying to connect communities with intelligent 5G communication and micro satellite systems.
At Saint-Gobain Seals, we also experienced our share of exciting moments such as adding more experts to our engineering and manufacturing teams with the acquisition of HyComp, LLC and American Seal & Engineering (ASE), leading to a stronger portfolio of sealing and polymer solutions.
With Saint-Gobain Seals’ acquisition of ASE and their metal seals, our business was able to support customers who were challenged by extreme temperature ranges and harsh environments such as those seen in aerospace and nuclear industries. The addition of HyComp and their advanced carbon fiber composites gave our business a way to provide lightweight materials that are corrosion resistance, and have higher specific strength and stiffness, which are ideal in aerospace and industrial applications.
With the expansion of our sealing and polymer worlds, we are now able to share these solutions to support even more customers. From use in diesel engines, to the deepest oceans (on the world’s first subsea gas compression station), to being used in devices powering life-saving surgeries (in full-powered, reusable endoscopic staplers), to critical aspects of automotive and air transportation, and even in micro satellites and devices to combat wild fires, our parts are being used in some pretty amazing places. We are very excited to continue advancing seal use in some of the most challenging applications.
To celebrate the end of the year with everyone and to motivate our team for next year, we would like to share several amazing facts about our solutions from our new teams as well as some from the teams that you know so well!
Fact #1: Saint-Gobain HyComp composite parts take flight in commercial and military airplane engines every day.
Did you know an airplane engine can weigh close to 6,000 pounds to help a Boeing 747 reach 955 km/h?
It is no wonder aerospace manufacturers seek lighter-weight solutions to operate more fuel efficient aircraft, increase speed and reduce operational costs, spurring the demand for composite parts overall. Additionally, with commercial and military airplane engines comprised of numerous components—each often having different shape, size and dimension requirements from engine manufacturers—every part needs to be custom.
Saint-Gobain HyComp’s advanced composite parts offer high strength and stiffness even in high temperatures, making them ideal for use in aircraft engines. Its H310™ material, for instance, an aerospace-grade blend of high-temperature resin thermoset polymer sheet molding compound, has the highest strength of their materials at temperatures up to 600ºF (316ºF).
Without these wear and structural parts and their role in power sources, flight as we experience today would not be possible.
Fact #2: From takeoff to landing, Saint-Gobain HyComp’s wear components are used in control systems to move aircraft during every stage of flight.
With about 5,000 aircraft in the sky at peak operational times, air travel is on the rise, and making the skies safer are critical systems like control systems.
Saint-Gobain HyComp’s FibreComp® material is a blend of a high temperature polymer, milled carbon fiber and graphite that address higher speeds, medium loads and lower impact in high temperatures. This unique combination provides the lowest coefficient of friction, superior mechanical strength and wear resistance in high temperatures. For this reason, it is often used throughout surfaces in aircraft during all stages of flight: takeoff, climb, cruising at altitude, turning, descent and landing in commercial and military aircraft.
This is just one other way we are supporting mobility and travel.
Fact #3: Saint-Gobain HyComp’s WearComp® liners and bushings are working hard in machinery that manufacture just about everything you use.
About 7 million bottles can be produced per day in a high speed bottling plant. Guess what? We have critical parts that help!
At Saint-Gobain HyComp, we provide composites that are used in machinery to produce glass and plastic bottles as well as aluminum beverage cans. Aside from food and beverage applications, our parts address applications running in equipment to process rubber, glass, metal, paper, carpeting and more. We also support other industrial applications related to extrusion, forging and rolling mills.
With the potentially high cost of downtime in manufacturing, parts used in this industry need to be reliable, durable and run continuously. Saint-Gobain HyComp’s WearComp® is a high temperature polymer and one inch chopped carbon fiber blend. It offers a low coefficient of friction, outstanding mechanical strength and wear resistance at high temperatures, making it ideal for low speed, high load, high impact applications, such as in manufacturing.
Saint-Gobain HyComp’s WearComp® material and other high strength/high temperature/self-lubricating materials improve the efficiency of the machinery in which they run. They help to reduce maintenance downtime and minimize use of hazardous lubricants while improving safety in and around machines.
Fact #4: Saint-Gobain ASE has supplied over one million metal lip seals to the diesel truck engine industry.
Did you get a package shipped to you this holiday season? It was likely transported with a heavy duty diesel truck. With over 700,000 trucking companies, and 3.5 million drivers that deliver in the U.S., three of four trucks on the road are diesel, helping to keep the economy moving.
One popular application for ASE’s metal lip seals is to reduce emissions in the exhaust system in heavy duty diesel truck engines.
ASE’s patented lip seal uses a proprietary forming process. In diesel truck engine applications, its unique shape allows for joint misalignments due to thermal changes between mating hardware, assembly or machining tolerances that can otherwise lead to misalignments. These parts enable a tight seal cross all temperature ranges. They can easily be dimensioned to meet different diameters, and they include a wear resistant coating to address engine life cycle requirements. They are also less costly than sheet metal bellows or custom designed parts.
Speaking of coatings, ASE not only provides typical finishes such as nickel, silver, copper and gold on its metal seals, but has also developed its own proprietary, wear-resistant coating. Its NCCM is a low stress seal coating that leverages a unique plating process that allows it to migrate to the mating hardware. The coating serves as a “skin” between mating hardware and seal to reduce wear, particularly with large diameter seals, and help extend the life of expensive mating hardware.
Fact #5: Saint-Gobain ASE’s metal seals contributed to 32 Quadrillion BTUs of natural gas power produced in 2018, improving efficiency of natural gas turbines worldwide.
Seals in power generation need to be able to address a host of challenges—from wear and degradation, to preventing leakage that could lead to safety risks, heightened operating costs and efficiency issues.
ASE is known for providing reliable products for critical applications to address the toughest conditions in energy production, helping to power up cities and towns (in addition to being used in transportation and aerospace, race cars and computer-chip processing equipment).
From the depths of the world’s oceans and extreme environments in nuclear energy to natural gas turbines, AmeriSeal™ metal lip seals, E-Seals, C-Seals, spring-energized C-Seals and other custom-designed seals offer impeccable quality control. They ensure reliability in pressure vessel cover sealing and connection joint sealing; turbine multi stage seals, blade lock seals, and environmental & biological control seals; valves, pumps, couplings and more.
Fact #6: Saint-Gobain ASE’s metal seals can address the coldest to the hottest temps—from “brrrrr” cryogenic to 1950ºF “lava” HOT!
The result of over 50 years of metal forming knowledge, ASE’s metal sealing solutions can address many extremes, one of them being temperature—from cryogenic to 1950ºF (1065ºC)—making them ideal for applications in space, energy and automotive to name a few.
They are made with a multi-stage metal forming process using super alloys chosen to meet the demands of each customer application. This results in a high level of seal reliability and the ability to address other key challenges with pressure ranges from vacuum to 100,000 psi; internal, external, bi-directional and axial pressure orientations; leakage rates greater than or equal to 10-10 cc/sec He; and radiation, vacuum, high pressure, corrosive and toxic environments where the media being contained is in liquids or gas.
Fact #7: You are likely using Saint-Gobain Seals’ OmniSeal® seals, Rulon® and Meldin® parts every day in your home.
From your coffee maker, to your dishwasher, washer and dryer, and blender, Saint-Gobain Seals has likely had a role in getting you moving during the day, having worked with many consumer-focused appliance manufacturers to address their sealing and polymer needs.
With the global household appliances market on the rise—estimated at over $500,000 million in 2017 and projected to surpass $760,000 million by 2025—Saint-Gobain Seals’ OmniSeal®, Rulon® and Meldin® materials offer improved performance in everyday devices we rely on. From low friction, long wear bearings in dryers, to injection molded solutions in washing machines, thermoplastic parts in dishwashers and garbage disposals, and seals in coffee makers, these electrical machines help you in many household functions such as cooking, cleaning and food preservation and are an everyday part of your life!
Fact #8: From ¼ inch seals in surgical tools to over 6 feet seals in space fuel tanks and oil and gas ball valves applications, we cover the whole spectrum of seal sizes and needs!
One of Saint-Gobain Seals’ biggest strengths is its ability to design and manufacture seals to manufacturer specifications—from seals that are larger than most people for use in space fuel tanks and oil and gas ball valves, to the smallest seals for micro instruments.
Consider this: The space shuttle’s external tank was taller than the Statue of Liberty at 154 feet.
Sealing of fuel tanks on rockets that carry liquid oxygen or hydrogen are critical, as these substances are easily ignitable. Any amount of leakage can create a hazardous situation. With the Space Launch System expected to generate 9.2 million pounds of thrust for EM-1 at liftoff, seals are essential to contain these fluids.
OmniSeal® RACO® spring-energized seals are a proven solution used by NASA and in other space programs and oil and gas applications in Asia, Europe, India and abroad to address precise leakage requirements.
In addition to excelling at developing seals for these “big” applications, Saint-Gobain Seals also supplies some of the smallest seals, required for use in in miniature motors and ultrasonic microsurgical scalpels in life sciences. We are one of the few who can address these mini needs, as once the diameter of the seal dips below ¼ of an inch, the list of suppliers drops dramatically.
As just one example, in hand-operated surgical staplers, OmniSeal® spring-energized seals help to protect interior circuitry from steam and cleaning extensions, preventing fluid entry into electronics and shafts during autoclaving. They help to ensure long service life, high speed capabilities, high temperature management and protection from fluids in orthopedic, ophthalmology, cardiovascular, neurosurgery, pediatric surgeries, and more.
We hope you enjoyed our amazing facts! These are just a few of the ways we are advancing seals to address customers’ growing needs in 2019, going into 2020 and beyond. Commitment to prioritizing our customers’ needs for greater speed, delivery, and design is a resolution we plan to continue in 2020! And you can keep an eye on these developments on this blog – Subscribe here to make sure to get our latest news. You can also contact one of our experts so we can start to help you in the new year.
Thank you very much for your support; we look forward to a new decade and an amazing 2020. Happy New Year!