In the universal world of sealing solutions, reliability and ensuring as close to zero leakage as possible are critical. Often, seals are required to meet tight sealing requirements across a vast spectrum of extreme temperatures, high pressures or aggressive media. Advancements in polymer technology have been pushing the limits of these extreme conditions with other technologies, proving its capabilities in sealing performance for harsh environments as well. One of these technologies are metal seals, which can support more extreme temperature ranges and harsher environments when compared to existing polymer technologies. With Omniseal Solutions’ acquisition of American Seal and Engineering Co. (ASE) in February of this year, the business now has the best of both polymer and metal sealing worlds.
Omniseal Solutions’ portfolio previously included Omniseal® polymer spring-energized and rotary lip seals, Rulon® PTFE materials and Meldin® thermoplastic and thermoset polyimide materials. Their spring-energized seals in particular have proven to offer one of the highest sealing performances regarding leakage, especially for space exploration where some of the most challenging conditions are present. Although these polymer seals work very well in high temperatures, high pressures and corrosive media, metal seals can go beyond in certain applications such as sealing in the nuclear industry or heavy duty diesel engines. The addition of metal seals brings in a larger group of customers and applications for the business, creating more opportunities in aerospace, oil and gas and semiconductor industries as well as the transportation, nuclear and power generation industries.
With manufacturing facilities in Orange, CT, supported by technical sales and service offices in Columbia, SC, Chicago, IL, Gent, Belgium, Steyr, Austria and Milan, Italy, ASE connects customers in five continents, with global support from multilingual sales and engineering teams familiar with international standards, proposal requirements and multi-currency procurement procedures.
How High Can You Go? Metal Seals Take on the Highest Pressures, Temperatures & Most Corrosive Fluids
ASE’s sealing solutions are the result of over 50 years of metal forming knowledge. Typically, the metal seals are made with a multi-stage metal forming process primarily using super alloys chosen to meet the demands of each customer’s application. This results in a high level of seal reliability required by the industries in which they are used. ASE’s metal seals are designed specifically to address:
- Pressure ranges from vacuum to 100,000 psi;
- Internal, external, bi-directional and axial pressure orientations;
- Temperature ranges from cryogenic to 1950ºF (1065ºC);
- Leak rates greater than or equal to 10-10 cc/sec He;
- And high temperature, radiation, vacuum, high pressure, corrosive or toxic environments where the media being contained is either a liquid or a gas.
While ASE offers solutions in many industries, its two biggest include transportation and energy/oil and gas including land-based power generation. A popular application is ASE’s metal lip seals used in heavy duty diesel truck engines. ASE was originally approached by a leading heavy duty truck engine manufacturer to help design a metal seal to address leakage problems in the exhaust manifold split joint. The split manifold design is a common design choice by engine manufacturers due to high thermal loading in the manifold that could crack a single piece design. Due to the stringent EPA requirements, the customer had issues with meeting the NOx emissions standards across the engine temperature ranges (from when the engine is cold to hot after running all day) for its six cylinder engines.
The ASE engineering team responded quickly with a suggestion to use its single piece lip seal design, which simplified the joint from using a costly sheet metal bellows or a custom designed part originally requested by the customer. The lip seal design can easily be scaled to meet different diameter requirements and includes a wear resistant coating to help meet a customer’s engine life cycle requirements. The patented lip seal design is the result of a proprietary forming process and its unique shape allows for joint misalignments in applications where thermal changes between mating hardware, assembly or machining tolerances can lead to misalignments between the mating hardware. Where other options may not be as good at sealing across at all temperature ranges, ASE’s metal lip seal compensate for misalignment across a wide spectrum of temperature ranges.
Today, ASE supplies over one million metal lip seals to the heavy duty truck industry, proving its value in consistently resolving leakage challenges.
Metal lip seals, considered an axial or radial seal, are just one of many solutions designed and manufactured by ASE.
Collection of Metal Seals & Coatings To Address Every Need
Other specific products include but are not limited to:
- O-Seals – Legacy technology still used on existing platforms but not typically used for new designs due to limits in spring back capabilities.
- C-Seals – with high spring back characteristics from the C-shaped construction to address joint separation in application.
- Spring Energized Seals –Greater spring back characteristics than a C-Seal but requires a higher compression load. This seal offers the best leakage rate with proper cavity preparations.
- E-Seals – Best spring back characteristics when compared to C-Seals or spring energized C-Seals. Low load required to compress but results in a higher leakage rate.
- Boss seals – Commonly used in aerospace industries. Similar performance to a C-Seals.
- Custom Designed Seals – from asymmetric E-Seals to machined seals or complicated shaped metal seals and retainer and flange seal assembly.
A defining feature to a metal seal is in its coating. ASE not only provides typical finishes such as nickel, silver, copper and gold but developed its own proprietary, wear-resistant coating called NCCM, which is a low stress coating for seals that leverages a unique plating process. Due to its unique properties, the coating migrates to the mating hardware, serving as a “skin” between mating hardware and seal. This helps reduce wear, particularly with large diameter seals, and can help extend the life of expensive mating hardware.
Along with Omniseal Solutions’ focus on customer centricity, ASE is committed to going beyond for their customers whether it is visiting onsite with their engineering experts, running in-house testing or designing a custom metal seal solution.
Ready to get your metal on? Contact us today to find out how we can put our metal sealing expertise to work for you!