Gasket Material Design

Have you worked with a gasket and wondered how to improve it? The market does not always align with your exact needs. You might have a gasket material innovation in mind but don’t know how to make that a reality.

You are not alone. There are gasket material manufacturers who used to be in your situation, but they now design and engineer their own materials. They would be great resources to help you out. Depending on your expertise with material constructions, your dream material might already exist. If not, material manufacturers, especially those working with composites, have various options.

If you are interested in proceeding, be ready to answer the following questions:

1. What type(s) of applications are we looking at, and what does it need to seal?

2. What are the operating conditions and temperatures?

3. What do you like/not like about what is currently being used/proposed?

4. What are the flange conditions? Is there sufficient flange load available?

5. What is the design life of the joint? How long does the gasket need to last?

6. What is the target price range? Are we basing on price or performance?

The more specific your answers, the better a material manufacturer will understand your needs and find the best way to meet them. Challenge gasket material manufacturers  by contacting them because everyone benefits from innovation.Request a Call

8 Ways to Find a Reliable Gasket Material Manufacturer

If the thought of finding a new supplier is enough to make your palms sweat and your heart palpitate, this week’s post is right up your alley. While it certainly isn’t a task that people love to do, it shouldn’t be something that you are afraid to do.

There are many reasons why you could be looking for a reliable gasket material manufacturer. We put together a short list of ways to start your search to help ensure you find someone that could soon fall into the “reliable” category for you.

Getting to Know You…

While this list is certainly not exhaustive, if you have a pretty good feeling about someone after looking at all of these areas, they are probably someone worth exploring further.

1. Can they tell you what they do?

It sounds like a dumb question, but how many times have you talked to someone (in any part of your life) that did a little bit of everything and was up for any challenge? While it could be attributed to great customer service, when you’re talking about gasket materials, you want someone that knows what they do, and has confidence that they do it well.

2. Can you discuss your market and your pain points with them?

If your conversation turns out to be a complete tutorial about your market and why your pain points exist, you may want to proceed with caution. There is definitely a difference between someone that asks a few questions to better understand something, and someone that is clearly hearing everything you are saying for the first time.

3. Ask them about their quality system – what do they say?

Any supplier worth their salt should have a certified quality management system in place. If you’re talking to someone that doesn’t, or downplays the importance of having one, beware. Companies that aren’t disciplined enough to have their own procedures (and adhere to them) will never be able to consistently meet the needs of their customers.

4. How do they perform – on-time delivery and quality?

Speaking of quality, it never hurts to throw out a question regarding on-time delivery percentages and the number of quality issues observed. If a company has a certified quality management system, they are most likely tracking these KPIs and should be able to give you an idea of what you could expect as a customer.

5. Do they provide samples, and is there a cost?

This seems like a question with an obvious answer, but you never know. If you can’t get sample material to see, feel, cut and maybe even test, that should raise some red flags. While test data is beneficial to review, it doesn’t compare to the actual product. Also be sure to confirm if there is a cost associated with the sample. Most samples generally are complimentary.

6. Are they accessible?

When you call, does a person answer, or do you get lost in an endless loop of automation? Are your phone calls and emails returned in a timely manner, or is your contact always out of the office? Can they actually help you when you call, or do you hang up without your questions truly answered?

7. What do others say?

The gasket and gasket material business isn’t a very large market segment. If you’ve never heard about the company that you are investigating, ask around. There is a very good chance someone you know knows something about the company you are considering.

8. Do they have a good online presence?

Can you Google the company and find something? These days, you expect companies to have a website that is easy to navigate and provides you with information. With the prevalence of inbound marketing tactics, most visitors have also come to expect downloadable content. We’re not saying that only good companies have a good online presence, but maintaining an online presence is a lot of work. You know that companies that have one, generally have put time and effort into it, and a lot of times, it is a direct reflection on their commitment to both their products and company.

Now What?

Obviously, simply because you feel good about these 8 things doesn’t mean that you automatically have a new supplier. There are definitely other factors that are a part of your vendor qualification process, but if a potential supplier doesn’t meet some (or most) of the minimum criteria, there probably isn’t much point in going further with them.

What other things are important to you as you evaluate potential suppliers?Request a Call

Deciding Where to Buy Your Gasket Material? Here Are 6 Things to Think About.

So, you’re in the market for a new gasket material supplier? We get it, it is not an easy decision. You’ve probably been googling all sorts of phrases and probably stumbled upon this blog. There are a lot of things to consider, and it’s more than “does their material work?”. Ultimately, if the material seals no better than a piece of Swiss cheese, it doesn’t matter what else the supplier can do for you.

There are a lot of factors that come into play when you make a decision. Depending on your situation, some may be more important to you than others at any given time. We compiled a list of things (in no particular order) that deserve some consideration when you are in the market for a new supplier.

Does the Supplier…

1. Have material that works?

(In this case, we’re talking before you get to the point of testing a specific material in your specific application.) When you talk with representatives of the company, do they sell material that is tried and tested? How long has the company been in business? What is their core competency? Do they do what they do well? Do you feel sufficiently confident that this company is worth moving forward with? Do you get the feeling when you talk with them that they are sufficiently confident that they can meet your needs?

2. Have samples available? 

It seems hard to imagine that you couldn’t get a sample from a supplier, but it happens! Sometimes getting your hands on a piece of material makes all the difference in your decision making process. Whether you use it to see how it cuts, or to run some tests on, this can be enough to give you the confidence to put in an order.

3. Have great customer service? 

We could write 3 pages on the importance of great customer service, but it all boils down to a few things. Is someone there to answer when you call? Do they get back to you in a timely manner? Is your order delivered when they said it would deliver? When there is an issue, how accommodating are they to help solve it? If you are starting to work with someone new, you aren’t going to necessarily know the answers to these questions, but you can sometimes get a feel for it when you talk with them – how direct are their answers to these questions?

4. Have a quality system in place? 

Having a quality system in place doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never ever have an issue with your material, but it does guarantee that there is a constant effort being put forth to continually make things better. Issues are expected to be few and far between, and if something happens, you can count on corrective action being taken. A company that has a focus on quality is always working to better their processes to manufacture better products. A company that has a certified quality management system takes quality very seriously, and in return, you should take them seriously.

5. Serve more than one industry with a diverse product line? 

Some could argue that their approach is to do one thing really, really well. With that, you can sometimes get a little short-sighted and start to have tunnel vision. Companies that serve a wide variety of markets and have a diverse product line in many different types of applications tend to see the big picture and stay on the cutting edge. They know more about what is out there and can be a great resource for you when you are making decisions about which type of gasket material to use. Ask them what they sell to their customers for a specific application and why.

6. Offer technical assistance before and after the purchase? 

When you deal with a company that knows their products inside and out, you also tend to find a lot of technical assistance. When dealing with gaskets, you definitely want this type of resource. Find someone that can help you engineer the right material during the design phase, but can also be there to help you troubleshoot any issues during the verification and validation phases, as well as out in the field. Who doesn’t want a gasket material expert on their team?!?

Happy Hunting!

Hopefully this helps you get going in the right direction, and that you can find someone to meet your needs. If you have any questions about finding the right supplier, please get in touch!

What else would you add to this list?

5 Questions You Should Ask Your Supplier of Gasket Material

Your supplier of gasket material can be your best friend in the business or unfortunately, sometimes, your biggest headache. Deciding on a gasket material supplier is a big decision that will affect YOUR business – whether you are an OEM or a fabricator. Learning about the questions you should be asking may make that decision a little easier. As an experienced supplier of gasket material that has been asked a few questions over our 21 years, we thought it might be beneficial to list out some of the more important questions you may want to ask (and why you want to ask them).

The Big Questions

So, you’re in the market for a new supplier – whether it is for a new application, or you’re shopping around for someone to replace a current material – the questions that you should consider asking will help you ascertain if you would like to do business with this supplier. Suppliers love to have a solution to your problems….speaking for all of us, let us try to pass the test.

1. What types of material are available?

All gasket materials aren’t created the same. Before beginning any sort of in depth conversation, you want to be sure either 1) you know exactly what type of material you need and the supplier has it, or 2) if you don’t know what you need, you want to be sure the supplier has a diverse enough offering to meet your needs.

2. Is technical help available for my application?

Just like when you buy a computer or TV, you want to be sure there is going to be someone on the other end of the line that is knowledgeable and can help you troubleshoot or even help solve your problems. You automatically feel at ease with anyone that can actually “talk the talk” as opposed to reading you paragraph after paragraph from the owners manual! A supplier that is going to be a resource for you from development through production is a huge benefit (believe us!).

3. Are material samples available for prototypes?

You need samples made available to you more often than not. How else are you going to validate the material? Make sure the supplier can deliver.

4. What is your quality system?

Whether or not you have requirements for your suppliers to be certified to a quality management system, you still want to find out if a potential supplier is certified to something (ISO, ISO/TS, etc). A supplier that has a certified quality management system should signify to you that they have things under control, and you should have a high level of confidence and consistency in the quality of the product you will be receiving.

5. What is your experience with this type of application?

You wouldn’t buy a car from an appliance salesperson (or vice versa). You want to work with a gasket material supplier that has placed parts in an application that is similar to your application. Any experience that the supplier has is going to benefit you. You want to be getting the best advice for your application as possible.

What To Look For In Your Supplier

Bottom line, you want your gasket material supplier to be your PARTNER. You have the application and the specifications, and gasket material suppliers have the knowledge about what materials will meet those needs. Obviously, everyone wants a supplier to be responsive, informative, focused on customer service and working to lower your costs. Now, take that a level deeper – you want your PARTNER to work with you to find a solution, be extremely knowledgeable and able to think outside of the box, and able to troubleshoot and suggest an alternate material if you aren’t seeing the results you’d hoped to see.

There are so many decisions to make in regards to getting an application to perform effectively. Let’s make your gasket material supplier decision an easier one!

Until next time!

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