Designing a Sealing Solution

sealing solution At Gallagher Fluid Seals, engineering is central to every project and solution we deliver.  Our goal is to provide sealing solutions where there had been sealing failures, and our engineering team is among the most experienced and talented in the industry.

As an independent distributor, we have the freedom to be objective and create the optimal sealing configuration for your application.  Our engineers work with the design teams of both our customers and suppliers, to ensure all sides of the application are thoroughly considered and there are no surprises at the end of the project.

This blog post is the first in a four-part series discussing how we work with our customers to create a sealing solution for their most critical applications.  The first step in this process is application discovery and review.

Part I: Application Discovery & Review

Investigation of the Problem

The overwhelming majority of applications that GFS’s engineering department is asked to consult on have some sort of failure or current trade-off that is causing pain for the customer or end user.  Very rarely do we get contacted to provide a new seal if there is not currently a problem.

So what is the nature of the problem?  There are many reasons engineers look to incorporate new sealing elements to their product or process:

  • Limited seal life
  • Seal failure
  • Unacceptable performance
  • Cost of failure
    • Downtime / Maintenance costs
    • Field Service
    • Warranties
  • New design, or better mousetrap

All these different problems have one common thread… they cost your company MONEY.  The key is determining how much, and whether or not it warrants a replacement.

Quantifying Value of the Solution

The first question the Gallagher engineer is going to ask about the application is whether it is OEM or maintenance.  Gallagher Fluid Seals has strong experience within both sectors of the sealing market. But the perception of value can be very different, depending on whether the seal is part of a piece of equipment being assembled or manufactured, or whether it is optimizing the replacement of an existing seal.

sealing solutionFor a maintenance application improving mean time between failures (MTBF), lowering maintenance labor costs, and lowering the cost of poor quality are all ways a new seal — designed specifically for your product or application — can improve your bottom line.

Within OEM applications, the performance of the seal, its ease of installation and relationship to the aftermarket of that piece of equipment are always strong considerations.

There has to be some real thought put into the return on your investment of time, manpower, and money into solving the problem.  Gallagher will do everything it can to provide a solution that works for your product/application, but also improves your bottom line.

Engineering Action Form / Review

sealing solutionAfter determining if this project is an investment worth pursuing, a vital piece of this process is Gallagher’s Engineering Application Request form.  This form gives our engineering department the necessary information to start designing the ideal seal.  This is available as an interactive page on our website (linked above), or as a hardcopy PDF.

Additionally, the Gallagher Engineering Department will need to understand the hardware this is being installed on, which includes:

  • Surface finish / coatings
  • Material
  • Tolerances
  • Hardness
  • Design – Mechanical stops
  • Ease of manufacturing
  • Seal installation evaluation – when and where is the seal going to be installed

This is only the first step in getting you the BEST seal for your product or application.  Continue reading our blog for the subsequent Parts of this blog series, “Designing a Sealing Solution.”

Part I: Application Discovery & Review

Part II: Commercial Evaluation & Development

Part III: Prototyping & Testing

Part IV: Approval & Production