We’re all guilty of it. Who among us hasn’t been known to Google “cheap (fill in the blank)” when we are trying to make a purchase? Sometimes you come away with the steal of the century, and other times, well, you bought what you paid for.
Over time, we have all learned what you can shop for based on price and what you must shop for based on quality and performance. If you haven’t already figured it out, gasket material is one of those things that you must be willing to spend a little money on to get the best performance. There is nothing wrong with trying to get the best price you can (none of us are made of money). However, keeping quality and performance at the forefront of your decision is a must.
If you are reading this because you are shopping for “cheap gasket material”, please keep reading for a few considerations you should be aware of on your quest to procure the best valued gasket material for your application.
How Cheap Can I Buy It?
1. Know the requirements.
Being aware of the conditions that the gasket will need to survive is going to place you in a range of materials that you will find success with. What temperatures will it see? What are the sealability requirements? How much recovery is needed? Is it being used in the aftermarket? The list goes on and on. Bottom line, if your application is going to see temperature peaks of 1800°F, you aren’t going to be able to get away with a standard rubber or fiber gasket material. Due to this fact, you can’t expect to pay prices that mirror what you pay for those technologies. You need to compare apples to apples.
2. Look at the total cost of the solution.
Don’t you love hidden fees and additional investments that are required after purchase? Make sure you do your homework on the gasket material technology in which you are investing. Some technologies, while appearing to be a better piece price, require very expensive tooling. Depending on your quantities, this could be a very costly option. Other technologies may have a higher piece price, but don’t require the tooling or other processing. In the long run, this could be a less expensive option for you. Make sure to look at the total cost of the entire solution, not just what is on your quote.
3. Is there a quality system in place?
One thing to pay attention to is if the manufacturer is certified to a quality management system. You can allow yourself to feel a certain level of confidence in someone that has gone to the work to certify their processes to a quality standard. Quality certification tends to equal quality products (however, these products still need to be tested against your requirements). With that said, don’t let a lack of quality system lead you to believe that the material is bad, you may just want to do your due diligence on the supplier and the material.
4. Be aware of imitation material.
Sometimes cheap material is cheap for a reason. It may be imitation material, or the raw materials used to make it are sourced from a questionable supplier. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but not in this case. Imitation is a quick way to get your money and sell you something that doesn’t work like you expect it to. Make sure that you are buying your gasket material from a reputable source and that you speak to them at some point during the process. You’ll be able to get a sense of how well they know their materials.
Buy What Is Going To Work
Selecting a gasket material is an area where you can’t afford to fail. Sourcing materials with the best performance for your particular application is going to lead to success down the road. If you have concerns about performance and price, talk with your trusted gasket material supplier. A good supplier won’t try to up-sell you, and will do their best to get you the perfect material for your application.