How custom gasket solutions have evolved

At TRP Polymer Solutions we understand that off-the-shelf gaskets often fall short in many industrial applications. As such, our technical experts are adept at working closely with customers to develop custom gasket solutions that are made specifically for the job. In this article, TRP Polymer Solutions talks you through the evolution of gaskets that has brought us to the bespoke solutions now available today.

A brief history of gaskets

Few sealing components are as versatile and varied as the gasket. These mechanical seals have been filling the void between mating surfaces since the Industrial Revolution. In the early 1800s, early incarnations of the gasket were made from Oakum – loose fibre obtained by untwisting old rope.

These rope strands were tarred, hammered and either caulked (the application of a make-shift sealant) into the seams of boat hulls or lubricated and packed into the edges of steam pistons in Newcomen steam engines. Leather gaskets soon followed, only to be superseded in the latter half of the 19th Century with the advent of rubber vulcanisation.

By the early 20th Century, asbestos was installed as the gasket material of choice. Cut from sheet packing, this new breed of gasket was capable of resisting water, steam chemicals and high pressure. Typical applications involved transporting gases, hot oils, acid and grease in mechanical systems like pumps, compressors, turbines and cylinder heads.

Despite growing health concerns linking asbestos with several types of cancer, asbestos gaskets were still prevalent well into the 1980s. The use of asbestos is now completely prohibited in the UK and Europe but is still permitted in the United States after a 1991 appeals court ruling overturned an Environmental Protection Agency banning order.

Of course, gasket manufacture has advanced exponentially in the intervening years…

Custom Gasket Solutions

In 1992, TRP Polymer Solutions developed rubber bonded gaskets protected with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). A broad temperature resistance of -30°C to +200°C and an innate chemical inertness make this thermoplastic material ideal for heat exchanger and chemical processing applications.

Latterly, our process engineering experts introduced the thermoset elastomer Fluoroelastomer (FKM) into the equation, which offers an even broader temperature resistance (-45°C to 204°C), excellent chemical resistance and good mechanical properties. By 1999, our polymer technologists had introduced our flagship TRPlast brand of perfluoroelastomer (FFKM) into our portfolio of premium gasket materials.

Why choose TRP Polymer Solutions?

TRP Polymer Solutions is now firmly established as a leading innovator in the field of rubber manufacturing in the UK. We combine the best polymer technology, production methods and process engineering to develop advanced custom gasket solutions designed for the most demanding of applications – from electrolytic chlorine production to FDA-grade food processing.

We leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of excellence, from the optimisation of material formulations at our in-house laboratory to the 3D CAD and mathematical modelling of gasket prototypes and rigorous testing of the finalised moulded rubber products.

When you invest in custom rubber products from TRP Polymer Solutions, you not only gain some of the most cutting-edge custom gasket solutions available but you also acquire total peace of mind. We pride ourselves on maintaining the highest standards of quality control at every stage of the manufacturing process to ensure the highest performance of your bespoke gasket product.

To find out more about our custom gasket solutions and start your journey towards manufacturing excellence, contact TRP Polymer Solutions today on +44 (0)1432 268899 or email sales@trp.co.uk.

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