National Robotics Week, STEM Education, and Our Plastic Polymer Sealing Connection

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Happy National Robotics Week!  

Not familiar with this annual industry event?  RoboWeek is celebrated each April, and is intended to increase awareness of the importance and future impact of the robotics industry in the US.  As a proud designer and manufacturer of plastic seals to OEMs in this growing sector, we join our colleagues in saluting robotics and STEM education! 

There’s no doubt that robotics is changing the manufacturing landscape.  The Boston Consulting Group estimates that this global market may reach $87 billion by 2025 ($22.8 billion commercial); which has grown from estimates of $67 billion just three years ago. From early applications in automotive manufacturing to delicate surgical applications, robots are now making their way into the consumer sector in the form of household vacuums, gutter cleaners, and even home health aides.  

At Saint-Gobain Seals, we believe the future success of robotics is directly related to educating the next generation of engineering leaders.  We depend on our team of researchers, engineers, designers and machinists to help us manufacture the finest polymer materials and plastic seals to fulfill our brand promise of giving you precise fit and lifetime confidence in your sealing components.  

How are we collaborating with future industry leaders?

We’re proud to partner with resources from local communities.  For example, our Bristol, RI, site collaborated with students from Boston University to improve the machining process for our Meldin® piston rings.  These rings are used in many core automotive applications such as brake systems for active safety, and climate control systems for driving comfort. At the end of this recent project, the students — all female engineers— developed a design to decrease physical labor and produce 6x more rings per run.  This resulted in a whopping 362% increase in efficiency! Read more about this collaboration here.    

Our team is also working on exciting new initiatives in polymer sealing solutions for the life sciences market.  This is a critical growth area with high demands for precision in motor, actuator and linear guide applications.  Our sealing solutions include over twenty-two FDA compliant or USP Class VI materials, to help ensure critical purity in analytical equipment, medical and pharmaceutical devices and surgical tools.  As an example, surgical robotic systems are being used in more minimally-invasive procedures since they allow for smaller, more precise surgeries.  These systems are composed of sophisticated mechatronics that require reliable sealing and friction control components.  With OmniSeal® and Rulon® low-friction seals in these surgical instruments, surgeons gain better visualization and mitigate tremor to benefit their patients by reducing blood loss and post-operative pain as well as shortening hospital stays. 

Through close collaboration and training among our global sites, we are able to feature the latest technologies to build custom sealing parts that are solving our customers’ application challenges. 

Want to learn more about our training and collaborative efforts in plastic polymer sealing solutions?  Just ask!  Or tell us how you are celebrating National Robotics Week!