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

Managing the Cost & Lead Time of Your Gasket Material

We’re sure you all have made resolutions to find cost savings and be on top of materials procurement this year. In order to help keep you on track, we thought we’d kick off 2017 with a look back at 3 of our more popular cost and lead time blogs. Now you can read them all in one place and always have them at your fingertips!

How Much Should Gasket Material Cost?

“What is Your Lead Time?” 4 Ways to Get a Better Answer From Your Supplier.

4 Ways to Try to Reduce the Price of Your Gasket Material

Go forth and find those cost savings and procure your gasket material like a rock star!

Happy 2017!Surbond product comparison

Looking For A New Gasket Fabricator? Here Are 6 Questions To Ask.

Most of you probably have a handful of preferred fabricators that you use to cut your gaskets. What happens if you need to look for another fabricator for any reason? Do you know what questions should be asked to ensure you are finding the best fit for you?

If your fabricator and gasket material supplier aren’t one in the same, the gasket material supplier that you work with should be able to suggest fabricators that may meet your needs (we work with a lot of them). As a material supplier, we can point you in the right direction depending on what is important to you…geography, capabilities, etc.

However, if you want to do some of your own homework, we thought we’d put together a short list of some of the questions that should be asked when you’re looking for a new fabricator. We’ve seen and heard it all – and are here to give you the rundown.

What You Should Know

As you’re vetting new suppliers, in addition to all of the typical “new supplier” questions you will ask, you will want to at least consider asking some of these questions (if you didn’t plan to already).

1. What are your preferred cutting methods?

Asking this is a good way to gauge what type(s) of fabricating methods they use. Maybe you know the material you use only works best when it is cut with a laser…and maybe in their response they mention they avoid using their laser as much as possible….but maybe if you flat out asked if they do laser cutting they would have said ‘yes’. However, if it isn’t a strong suit of theirs you may not be happy with the results.

2. What types of materials have you worked with in the past?

This is going to give you a feel for the variety of materials that they are familiar with. The reason this is important is two-fold: 1) your material is either going to be one they physically work with a lot or it isn’t (which may give you pause) and 2) how much materials experience they have is either going to help you or hinder you in the future when you are working with new applications or have issues with your current material.

3. How large is your material suppliers network?

If the potential fabricator doesn’t make their own material and doesn’t have a large knowledge base in regards to #2, that might be ok. If they have a good network of material suppliers to lean on, you can be rest assured that the resources are out there. If you are needing to explore new materials for any reason, find out who these suppliers are and get in contact with them.

4. If I need technical support for a material, who can help me?

This is a question that should be very important to you, and is an extension of #3. If the fabricator is not the materials manufacturer, you need to know who is the person that you need to be calling. If it isn’t clear who is going to be able to answer your technical questions or help you troubleshoot, maybe you should keep looking.

5. Is my material a stocked item for you?

This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker if it isn’t, but you want to get a feel for how easily you’ll be able to get your hands on more material. If it isn’t stocked, you’ll definitely want to know how long the lead time is for the fabricator to get more (whether they manufacture it or buy it from a materials supplier). This may affect your buying habits.

6. Do you work with other OEMs that are in the same industry as me?

This also isn’t the end of the world if the answer is no, but getting a feel for how familiar they are with your industry may be a good thing. Whether it is volatility and change, or requirements and expectations, knowing up front if a fabricator is prepared for all of the curve balls you might throw at them may aid you in making your decision.

Making Your Decision

There are a lot of other things to consider when deciding on a new fabricator, but you’ll definitely want to consider asking some of these questions as well. We work directly with a lot of OEM engineering teams and since we don’t cut gaskets, we know the importance of selecting a fabricator that can do the job right AND still having the ability to talk to someone about specific materials.

What other questions would you ask?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?

“What is Your Lead Time?” 4 Ways to Get a Better Answer From Your Supplier.

“What is your gasket material lead time?”

This is the question that everyone asks. In a world centered around instant gratification, any wait is too long. In reality, especially in a manufacturing environment, lead times are a way of life.

Most manufacturing companies do try to have some of the more popular items in stock at all times. Customer satisfaction is the number one priority, but not far behind is the need to keep the business solvent (and in our case, that can’t be done by stocking every single gasket material that we have ever sold).

Reducing lead times is always a major goal. Anything that can be done to increase the speed of the ordering cycle benefits all who are involved. Maintaining strong relationships with suppliers and predicting the needs of customers and future customers as best as possible is key in this process. However, communication throughout the entire supply chain is what is ultimately going to make or break the ordering process.

Get the Answer You Want

1. Communication

Without a doubt, constant communication with your supplier is a must – especially if the item you order is not a stocked item. The more you talk with us about your upcoming needs, the more we are able to plan for a successful delivery when you need it. If you can find a supplier with a very high OTD% (on time delivery), that is going to help you build trust in the ability of your supplier to meet delivery commitments. We understand that sometimes there is a fire to put out, and we will bend over backwards for you to help when this is the case. However, if every order is a fire….see #2.

2. Planning

There is a rather blunt saying out there “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part.” We don’t know of anyone that actually subscribes to this theory, but there is a little bit of truth in it. If you are constantly flying by the seat of your pants in your planning and ordering, it makes it very difficult as a supplier to continually meet your needs AND still meet the needs of our customers that are already waiting for their orders. A little bit of planning goes a long way. If you are always in this situation because your customer does the same to you, talk with your supplier. We have helped many of our customers figure out some sort of purchasing pattern to try to alleviate this issue.

3. Be Realistic

Lead times don’t generally change. If the product you order is always a 10 week lead time, there is a 99.9% chance that it is going to be a 10 week lead time the next time you order. Lead times are not arbitrarily set, and there is a very good reason why it is the way it is (in our case, receipt of some raw materials takes a while). If a 10 week lead is the norm for your material, please don’t always call your supplier with a delivery date of 8 weeks out. You need to be cognizant of the calendar and place your order with realistic expectations. If you continue to find yourself in this position, talk to your supplier. Most suppliers will take a look at purchasing patterns with you and figure out the best way to match your need dates with the lead times.

4. Be Flexible

In the spirit of customer satisfaction, sometimes if you are in a pinch and need something ASAP your supplier is able to immediately meet your needs. Sometimes, they may be able to get you partway there with a partial shipment of what is in stock, or can build a partial order with the raw materials that happen to be on hand. In even rarer circumstances, there may even be a substitute product that you can take in a pinch. Regardless, if proper planning couldn’t happen, anything your supplier can do for you will usually put you in a better situation than if they did nothing. Taking an “all or none” approach in these situations doesn’t get you on the way to meeting the needs of your customer, which is everyone’s #1 goal.

The Next Order

Most problems in our lives can be solved with communication. A customer/supplier relationship is no different. The more you can communicate with your supplier on your needs, plan the best you can, and work with your supplier to figure out the best way to handle the situations where you can’t plan, you will hopefully never be out of material when you need it most.

In those instances where planning isn’t an option, remember to be flexible – a good supplier will do whatever they can to ensure your order is delivered as timely as possible. If they are willing to get a bit creative to try to help you achieve your goals, jump on the bus – you might like where it goes!

What else would you add to this list?

Request a Call