1. Design for Manufacturing
At Alpha Die Cutting we have over 30 years experience in die cut manufacturing. We work diligently with our customers with the goals of producing a quality gasket and keeping costs to a minimum. We have developed the expertise to understand the main themes that contribute to the cost of manufacturing a custom gasket. We now want to share these experiences with you. Here are the seven main areas where customers could focus their gasket spec on to ensure the lowest possible cost. We have also included a Tip for each element so that you can make the best choice to keep your costs as low as possible.
We often see engineering drawings which have extremely tight radius or very small gaps between the diameters. The die cutting process involves bending and forming of hardened steel rule so there is a limit to how tight the bend can be. Here are photos showing the tightest radius bend possible.
Obviously a gasket has to fulfil its specific application needs but consider if the intricate shape is really a “must have”. We can form an alternative to the radius by using 2 straight rules joining at a point.
Tip – Review the gasket spec to see which dimensions are critical and which can be relaxed.
2. Design Dimensions
We see many drawings created in millimeters. While this is an acceptable protocol it sometimes reflects a design being extremely small with impossible dimensions. The dimensions seem larger in millimeters than if the drawing was produced in decimal inches.
Tip - If the drawing is drawn in MM (millimeters) convert into inches and you will see how some dimensions are extremely tight.
We have seen many drawings stating that the tolerances must be very tight. When we have discussed the gasket spec with the customer we have found that the engineer has used default tolerances and are much tighter than really required. Alternatively if the tolerances are true we will respond to the customer if they can be achieved or not.
Tip – Review the tolerances in the gasket spec to see which tolerances are critical and which can be relaxed.
4. Material Choice and thickness
The cost of the raw material is usually a significant portion of the total gasket cost. At around 50-75% it is important to get the material spec correct. We do not get to know the specifics of most of our customers applications but those that we do have details we find a significant number have the “top shelf” material specified when a less expensive material is all that is required.
Tip - Review the material spec for the specific application to see what is really required.
All materials are manufactured by the OEM’s in standard thicknesses. It is possible to purchase materials in thickness that do deviate from the standard but it is then considered a custom purchase. Any material which is custom made has an extremely high MOQ buy and a long delivery.
All raw materials have similar but sometimes slightly different standard thicknesses. For example Neoprene Rubber is available in 1/64, 1/32, 1/16, 3/32, 1/8, 3/16, ¼, 3/8, ½ inch thicknesses.
Tip – Where at all possible design the gasket using one of the standard material thicknesses.
The customers delivery requirement has a significant impact on the gasket price. If the delivery requirement is very short then we are forced to source the raw material from a national distributor. This supplier usually has inventory that can be delivered next day or sometimes with 1-2 days. But this service comes at a cost which is on average around 4 times higher than obtaining the material from one of our other suppliers.
If the delivery requirement is not so urgent then we source the material from 3 of our regular suppliers to find the best price and delivery quote. This material is less expensive but comes with longer delivery times of around 2 weeks.
Tip – Submit RFQ with a realistic delivery requirement.
6. Adhesive (PSA)
We see many customer drawings which specify an adhesive backing (PSA – Pressure Sensitive Adhesive). This spec involves significant cost – the PSA is usually double the cost of the non PSA raw material.
Tip – Review if the gasket really needs the adhesive backing.
7. Overall – Design for Manufacturing
Each element in the design spec of a custom gasket has an influence on the cost of the gasket manufacturing cost. Where at all possible design the gasket spec for ease of manufacturing.
A gasket is a banal but essential element in a manufacturers product or assembly. Sometimes the design of the gasket is overlooked as being an inexpensive item.
At Alpha Die Cutting the manufacture of custom gaskets is central to our core capabilities – we have the experience and the expertise to help our customers control gasket costs.
Tip – if you need any help on any specific project please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
or call Martin at (858) 279-3343 and we would be discuss how we can save you money.
About the Author
With over 25 years of experience in the manufacturing industry, Martin Chell brings a wealth of knowledge to his client projects. He has worked with large companies including Qualcomm and completed projects in a variety of aerospace, biotech and other applications.
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“The gaskets worked out just fine. Thanks for your help.” ~ Chong, Redpoint Engineering