seals and polymers

 

Sealing & Polymer Tales 2019: Saint-Gobain Seals Shares Adventures Of Their Critical Parts

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The holiday season is here filled with magic and cheer.
Let us take time to reflect on the events of the year.
We set aside a cozy seat for you by the fire
As we ponder on global goals that inspire
Our innovations that were spread here and there
To protect & support daily lives everywhere.

As we head towards the end of 2019, we would like to share our sealing and polymer tales to continue the festive mood and look towards 2020. Our first tale will launch you to cool, distant planets and the vast unknown. Our second tale will probe into making us healthy for next year and the future. And our third tale will shine a light on how our solutions warm the world. Join us for these true stories and other stories that may surprise you, as we reflect on our work with key customers to improve universal mobility and build a better world for all.

 

Our Space Team Searches For The Brightest Star 

Our space team dreams of reaching for the stars and rockets while snug in their beds, as the depths of the universe (and how deep exploration might advance life on earth with our safe seals) dances in their heads. 

The dreams of innovating in space are decades long. With over 60 years of providing seals for projects in space, our OmniSeal® RACO® spring-energized seals were first relied upon on by NASA’s Project Mercury. They have also since been use in the Apollo, Viking and Space Shuttle programs, and on the Atlas V rocket that launched the Mars Rover Curiosity, in the slip joint system in the Delta IV heavy rocket and in fuel delivery in Falcon 9, to name a few.

We continue to address the needs of NASA, with its Space Launch System (SLS), scheduled for launch in 2020, as well as supporting the private sector and space exploration projects with governments and agencies around the world, which we highlighted in our space advances in Europe blog post and expansion of our seals universe in India blog post.

This year our space team (with perhaps a little help from tiny helper elves) embarked on supporting sealing needs in the growing market of micro satellites that can be as small as the size of a baseball. The demand for these satellites is expected to grow to $15.6 million by 2026 from $3.6 million in 2018 as many up and coming small to medium rocket manufacturers are providing the service to place these micro satellites (from 100kg down to 1kg) into low earth orbit.

How big is the impact? Imagine opening up the world to communicate better! The micro satellites will help facilitate global communications in areas that do not have access to landlines (such as in rural villages in India and Africa), giving people the ability to spread tidings of joy to family and friends at the holidays and every day. These satellites also track major weather warnings and enable GPS to help people around the world to safely make the trip to visit loved ones throughout the season, and of course, even to guide Santa as he makes those important deliveries.

Our Life Sciences Team Aids Medical Customers To Be Wiser

For over 30 years, Saint-Gobain Seals has been a trusted design and manufacturing partner to the medical, dental, analytical, and pharmaceuticals markets. Our life sciences team welcomed visitors at several key conferences in 2019 with our OmniSeal®, Rulon® and Meldin® solutions for medical devices and analytical equipment. This year, the team set out to cure some of the “pain points” such as friction, caustic chemicals, high pressure and cleanliness with compliance with the most stringent requirements.

Concentrating on improving mobility for surgeons as well as end users, our team shared their expertise with medical customers on portable oxygen concentrators, insulin pumps and surgical tools. Because the trend is moving to smaller devices, our miniature seals are proving to be valuable in these different applications as they give physicians the freedom to maneuver and concentrate on taking care of what is most important — their patients — and for end users to have the same flexibility at home.

Our Energy Team Lights Up The Season 

Our energy team is “digging deep” into their bag of goodies to share advanced polymer and metal seals (the latter from Saint-Gobain ASE including combustion seals, E-seals, spring-energized seals, C-Seals and O-rings), offering reliable seals in power generation, drilling equipment to tap new oil and gas reserves and nuclear applications, to name a few. Last year, due to their expertise in API 6D as well as other leading standards such as NORSOK M710 and API 6A, our oil & gas team worked with a major U.S. oil and gas customer and “gifted” them with a technical engineering manual with selection guidelines for polymer lip seals in API 6D isolation valves.

The team continued to share this expertise in 2019 along with addressing harsh chemicals, high-pressures and extreme temperatures. Being environmentally sound was also very critical and important to us as we saw a spike in low fugitive emission requests particularly on surface and topside applications. We improved our low fugitive emission seal and supported requests for tests to ensure materials are a precise fit for larger, long-term projects. An example of this validation occurred when we were asked by a major U.S. oil and gas corporation to qualify our Fluoroloy® and polymer sealing materials for use in an ultra-high pressure oil recovery field in the Gulf of Mexico. The non-metallic materials were required to show that they address harsh hydrofluoric acid fluids and meet 20,000 psi.

In power generation land, our metal seals were used in natural gas turbines to generate energy to keep many households warm in the winter months and power all those holiday lights. How much energy was produced? 32 Quadrillion BTUs of power were generated all over the world!

Our Transportation Team Delivers Holiday Cheer

Our transportation team has been busy all year. Addressing the most extreme of seal requirements in heavy duty diesel engines is just one reason.

Saint-Gobain ASE today supplies over one million metal lip seals to the heavy duty truck industry to consistently resolve leakage challenges. The seals are used in the exhaust manifold split joint (a common design choice by engine manufacturers due to high thermal loading in the manifold that could crack a single piece design). With stringent EPA requirements, ASE’s seals address “no emissions” standards across engine temperature ranges for six cylinder engines - indeed a must with all these trucks traveling thousands of miles and across the country. . One of these trucks may have delivered a package to you!

With reliability on the line, the patented lip seal design does not fail and is the result of ASE’s proprietary forming process. Unlike with other alternatives, its unique shape allows for joint misalignments in applications where thermal changes between mating hardware, assembly, or machining tolerances can result across temperature ranges. It is less costly than sheet metal bellows, can easily be scaled to meet different size requirements, and includes wear-resistant coating.

Our Aerospace Team Gives People and Packages A Lift

From reliability to performance, durability and speed, all year long the aerospace team at Saint-Gobain Seals has been busy ensuring the highest-quality, most optimized parts for each need. From parts and seals in helicopters that drop “care” packages to those in need wherever they are, to those in airplanes that bring family together from near and far. 

Saint-Gobain Seals’ OmniSeal® spring-energized seals offer exceptional frictional and wear performance and seal control in rotor heads in turboshaft solutions in helicopters and hovercraft to help generate lift. They also address high power output and high reliability, flexibility and elasticity with lighter-weight, compact designs. 

In 2019, in airplanes, our OmniSeal® spring-energized and rotary lip seals were again used in the turbine shaft, air inlet vane, internal and accessory gearbox and accessory drive shaft and units in auxiliary power solutions that power electricity while on the ground, and in gas engine turbines as they fire up, as well as in actuators and landing gear. They address high temperatures, long wear, and are compatible with a wide variety of particulates, contaminants, and droplets in ground air. With the winter weather going to the extremes in 2019, in jet engines, OmniSeal® seals with Fluoroloy® A90 materials in the jacket took care of de-icing as well as extreme temperatures in lubrication.

Saint-Gobain ASE metal C-seals, E-seals and custom seals are used in the engine, and combustion chamber in commercial, military, business, and general aviation engines and airframes in aerospace.

And in engines and in critical mechanical sub-systems, such as power generation, environmental control, fluid, landing gear, braking, and actuation systems, light-weight, self-lubricating composite parts from Saint-Gobain HyComp address some of the strongest challenges and support the trend towards fuel efficiency. These advanced composite parts offer high strength and stiffness, in addition to withstanding high temperatures. With all of the letters being delivered to Santa, the airplane must be as light as possible!           

Our Automotive Team Drives Safety To Keep Travels Worry-Free 

With all the errands that people need to do and the travel to visit family during this holiday time, it is a must to have a reliable vehicle. In autonomous and traditional automobiles, our Meldin® polymer materials offer a lighter weight alternative with the growing trend toward smaller parts in automotive, reducing wear and providing a high level of precision in braking systems. Our ball joints also offer smooth steering and suspension, and a quieter, more comfortable ride with suspension applied in controlled increments and less wear on tire treads.

With lower costs, and longer battery lives, e-vehicle use is on the rise. Our automotive team took time this year to concentrate on addressing efficiency, rugged conditions, and reliability. With e-vehicles running at higher power and their electric motors able to run at 20,000 RPM (revolutions per minute) compared to 10,000 RPM for standard cars—our automotive team has been busy developing OmniSeal® rotary lip seals that will handle these demanding environments, with extreme temperatures, aggressive media, high surface speeds and high pressure, and dry running.  

Our Industrial Team Keeps Factories Like Santa’s Running

Our industrial team spent time this year to develop seals and polymer solutions in pumps, mixers, and agitators in food makers (can you imagine all those candy canes), that are reliable, long-lasting and compliant with industry standards (with Rulon® 641 having USP Class VI approval for direct contact with food and human fluids) and to ensure dispensing equipment keeps running and pumps and valves and compressors are quietly humming.

Because Saint-Gobain Seal’s Rulon® PTFE parts offer high wear life, low friction and withstand harsh conditions such as dry running, aggressive chemicals, abrasion, extreme temperature and pressure ranges, they are often used in industrial applications.

In steel and aluminum rolling, canning applications (have you heard of that Christmas dinner in a can) and extrusion mills, bearing composite liners and bushings from Saint-Gobain HyComp ensure smooth operations.

 

From advancing communications, to helping us to be more mobile, to the race to space—we have enjoyed working with our partners and customers in exploring how our seals and polymer solutions can make THE difference in critical applications and the role advanced polymer, metal seals, and composites play an in everyday life. We would also like to thank all of our teams for their dedication and hard work in 2019.  We cannot wait to find out what 2020 will bring. Wishing everyone Happy Holidays & a Happy New Year!

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