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Fall Back to Go Forward: Sharing Key Seals Events & Solutions

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It’s officially autumn/fall and for many that means crisper weather, colorful foliage and a period of transition from summer to winter. This changing of the seasons is not only the perfect time to look ahead to 2019, which is right around the corner, but also to look back on several key events in 2018 that have us moving in the right direction for our space, life sciences and industrial markets. 

Please read on to find out how we have passed the year so far, what we have learned and how we will use these experiences to support our customers next year. 

Space Exploration Blasts Off In India 

We recently experienced the hospitality of India at the Bengaluru Space Expo (BSX) in the beginning of September where we showcased sealing and polymer products.  The 6th annual expo was organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in cooperation with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and the commercial arm of the Department of Space (Antrix).  Our team enjoyed exhibiting as “first-timers” as well as walking the two halls visited by major space players and suppliers. 

What was our main purpose here? To extend our space footprint in countries such as India who are rising players in the space race.  

Last year marked several stellar achievements for India, which was led by ISRO who is one of the remaining rare public sector agencies. Formed in 1969, managed by the Department of Space and reporting to the Prime Minister of India, ISRO institutionalized space exploration to help further the country’s position as a space power. ISRO built India's first satellite, Aryabhata (launched by the Soviet Union in 1975); launched lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and its Mars orbiter in 2013.  The Mars success made India first to succeed on its first attempt and ISRO the fourth space agency and first in Asia to reach Mars on September 24, 2014.  In 2017, it launched 104 satellites in a single rocket, with PSLV-C37, tripling Russia’s record. It also launched its heaviest rocket: a three-stage, medium-lift expendable Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, Mark III, that year. 

ISRO continues its ambitious space program as it expects to send three astronauts to the moon for 5 to 7 days on its Gaganyaan spacecraft by 2022, with plans to mine fuel there someday. India's second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, is expected to launch in January 2019. 

In addition to being committed to space exploration, India is also active in design and manufacture of satellites. It launched three GSAT satellites in 2017 to reinforce its orbiting fleet of communication satellites. It is also focusing on earth sciences and navigation satellites with the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). 

At BSX, our space team not only focused on sharing spring-energized solutions such as our OmniSeal® RACO® seal but also understanding emerging space policies from India and other worldwide visitors. With more countries entering the space race, we need to monitor our customers’ vision and strategy to see where they will be heading with their technology. It is clear that India has demonstrated reliability in launch vehicle and satellite missions, and upcoming programs may have use for proven, reliable sealing solutions that are developed to address extreme environments, including temperature and pressure issues.  

Spring-energized seals can address temperatures of -250 to +150 °C; pressures up to 100 MPa, and speeds of up to 0.1 m/s. With precise fit and lifetime confidence, they are specifically used for static sealing in launch vehicle propellant tanks, feedlines, valves, and turbo pumps. They are also used for sealing fluids such as liquid oxygen (LOX) or liquid hydrogen (LH2) stored in cryogenic conditions with very challenging low leakage requirements.  OmniSeal® RACO® seals are often selected as sealing solutions in space missions due to its proven, historical success that goes beyond 60 years, starting with Mercury onto Apollo and the Space Shuttle, and the more recent Space Launch System (SLS) program. 

Life Sciences Clinical Equipment Analyzed in Japan 

Our life sciences team recently returned from exhibiting at the largest in vitro diagnostic (IVD) and medical device expo in Japan, the Japanese Association of Clinical Laboratory Systems (JACLaS). The JACLaS is actively involved in promoting information about clinical laboratory devices, reagents and systems for global cooperation across life sciences. 

What was our main purpose here?  To reach out to the growing business of clinical and analytical equipment OEMs in Japan who are challenged with leakage, wear and accuracy issues. 

IVD equipment is increasingly being used to assess specimens for infectious and chronic diseases as well as preventative care and drug therapy, testing biological specimens such as blood, urine, saliva and cells. They are also often used in point-of-care or bedside testing to bring diagnostics to the patient. Given these devices’ ability to increase efficiency, eliminate follow up visits and save time and money, the equipment is quite critical and valuable to OEMs and ultimately, patients.  As such, the global vitro diagnostics market is expected to grow to over $97 billion USD by 2022, says Grand View Research. The Asia Pacific region is expected to increase the fastest, due to graying of the population, increasing healthcare costs, growing clinical research and government investments. Similarly, Research and Markets forecasts the Asia Pacific IVD industry will reach $19.64 billion in 2021, up from $14.44 billion in 2016. 

At JACLaS, our team shared our expertise with OmniSeal® spring-energized seals that are often used in the plunger pumps of IVD systems as well as Rulon® and Meldin® polymer components. IVD systems are required to run faster and longer than ever before. Seals used in this equipment must be able to withstand friction, heat and various chemicals. As OEMs continue to seek to reduce footprint and address portability with IVD systems, seals also need to be smaller and lighter.  

OmniSeal® 400, SRII and 103 seals are often used in life sciences applications as they provide precise flow rate, low friction and wear and sealing with lifetime confidence. They can withstand temperatures from -450°F (-268°C) to 600°F (316°C) and enable vacuum pressure ratings of up to 50,000 psi or 3,448 bar, versus 20,000 psi with elastomer o-ring seals and 3,000 psi with standard face seals. Spring-energized seals are also used in numerous other medical applications such as portable oxygen concentrators, surgical tools and Ultra and High-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC/HPLC) to separate, identify and quantify components. 

Industrial Compressors Power Up in China 

This coming November 6 to 9, our industrial team will exhibit at the international exhibition for compressed air and vacuum technology, ComVac Asia, in Shanghai, China at Hall E7, Booth K1. Over 98,000 visitors are expected at this leading event, connecting industrial companies across Germany, Sweden, Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan on smart manufacturing processes. 

What is our main purpose here?  To support customers with improved sealing and polymer solutions that address maintenance, safety and sustainable issues.  

Asia continues to be a leader in global manufacturing, producing nearly a quarter of goods in 2015. As demand for goods and lower prices increases, factories here, as well as worldwide, are continually looking to more effectively compete. You can read more on the growth of Asia, particularly China, in our September manufacturing blog post.  In this post, we detailed how seals play a critical part to the functioning of industrial air compressors such as rotary screw compressors, which are the biggest, most powerful compressors on the market and often used in large factories. These factories require a huge amount of compressed air to constantly run to enable precise jobs, while being as energy efficient as possible. They must be durable to address constant use, withstand leaks, failure and maintain safety despite stresses and dynamic wear posed in these environments. 

Aside from being a major supplier of powerful, high-performance polymer seals in rotary screw compressors, we also provide seals for chemical processing pumps, vacuum pumps and diaphragm valves as well as piston ring and scroll tip seals in refrigeration compressors that operate under the harshest of conditions. Our OmniSeal® spring-energized seals and rotary lip seals and Rulon® low wear and friction materials will be on display at ComVac Asia. 

OmniSeal® spring-energized seals offer ultra-low friction, chemical compatibility and resistance to extreme hot or cryogenic temperatures in industrial applications. Self-lubricating Rulon® polymer material offers high wear life and low friction; withstands harsh conditions such as dry running, aggressive chemicals and abrasion; and operates in extreme temperature and pressure ranges. It can be custom designed into bearings, piston rings, cup seals, wear components and other critical parts for use in compressors, pumps, mixers, appliances, dispensing and other equipment.  For example, cup seals are used in fuel dispenser pump applications and bearings are used in chemical pump applications. 

As the exclusive developer of Rulon® material with the creation of the first blended PTFE material, Rulon® A, in the 1950s, we are able to offer numerous formulations today, including custom grades. We manufacture the product in-house, ensuring the highest-quality standards, from testing resin at the plant to the final product for every formulation. 

Interested in learning more about these key events or other ways our teams have worked to support customers this year? Contact us for more details on how our parts make THE difference in critical applications.