Engage with an Engineer

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Seal Design Recommendation

Using online tools, you can learn enough to be dangerous.  Our design recommendations will take you from “that should work” to “this works, and here’s the data…”

Engineer testing seal for performance

The seal industry is maturing, consolidating. Tribal knowledge and talent that takes a full career to develop is retiring out faster than it’s being replaced.  We’re doing something about that. Darcoid has been investing aggressively in our technical capabilities, and most importantly, in our technical people.  We have trained engineers on staff working on new applications every day. The big brands in the industry will keep you at arm's length with chat bots and AI.  Not Darcoid. You’ll have direct access to our technical team to help you with your application. Let us help you get your best work out into the world. 
You get to focus on your product’s core functionality - we’ll take care of the seal. 
We have strong relationships with specialty seal manufacturers and materials expertise all over the world.  This brings you a linecard of seal types and materials that is significantly broader than any one manufacturing company in the seal industry.   
We will consider your project requirements and run them through a logic-based solutions matrix.  This means we aren’t limited by the linecard of any one manufacturer.  We work with the best in the business and have deep relationships with material science and applications engineers at world class companies such as Parker Hannifin.  But that doesn’t limit us to recommending whatever solution is best for them.  We ultimately recommend and evaluate the solution that is best for you, for your unique application.
Your relationship with Darcoid’s technical team starts with a quick onboarding conversation.  You can shorten that engagement time by pre-completing our Engineering Request Form.  After we’ve learned what’s most important about your application and what constraints we have to work with, our team will work up a selection of options. 
In some instances, we can support our recommendations with FEA modeling analysis.  With the correct inputs, non-linear FEA generally gives a high degree of theoretical confidence in the comparative performance of Seal A vs Seal B. 
Where we feel FEA does not indicate a strong advantage of particular design we can deploy our Seal Test Bench to develop empirical performance data for comparison. 
After running your application through a combination of standard design tools, our broad experience of what works and what doesn’t, and possibly FEA modeling we will make our recommendation. From there we can create evaluation prototypes from anywhere from hours to weeks. If you don’t have the bandwidth to confirm suitability, we can deploy our Seal Test Bench capability to develop empirical performance data. 
Your program manager will be checking in on development milestones but generally you’ll be interfacing with our apps engineers directly.  No spin, no hard sell - just you and Darcoid’s seal application experts. Engage with a Darcoid engineer here.
While we encourage early-stage engagement, we are happy to engage with you at any stage in development.  If early-stage collaboration is not possible we can fast track our support if you’re under pressure to find a fix for a surprise failure.

Advanced Specification Support

Custom specs made easy. So, the seals installed on your program 5 years from now will perform just as well as those you qualify today. 
Many designers make the mistake of calling out a catalog size, material family type, and durometer and leave it at that. If they find an ASTM “string” callout they’ll throw that on the print also, often without really understanding what exactly the ASTM string is describing. Recall waiting to happen.
ASTM callouts definitely have their place, especially in automotive applications.  Darcoid is a member of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) and we are well versed in the effective deployment of D2000 callouts.  We also understand the limitations of the system outside of automotive applications.
Something of a secret in the industry, Seal Performance Creep is an insidious problem that can derail your product’s performance without warning, and often in a way that takes you on a long and expensive journey to identify and fix.  With shorter and shorter employment tenures a reliance on “tribal knowledge” carries heavy risk. As OEM’s outsource sub-assemblies or full assembly, whole supply chains can be replaced. New suppliers faced with generic specifications will supply generic components. Sometimes they work just fine.  Sometimes they don't.  A seal is inexpensive unless it fails.  
We developed a set of tools you can use to prevent this from happening. Simple specs to drive sophisticated control processes. Each focuses on one of these key aspects:
  • Verification of seal material - FTIR testing of each lot against baseline spectra (material’s unique “fingerprint”) 
  • Dimensional Inspection process with tolerancing and AQL sampling appropriate to the criticality of your program 
  • Workmanship inspection appropriate to the seal performance in your given hardware and use case. 
  • Periodic Material Validation checks to assure that your critical material physical properties continue to meet original baseline performance. Tested in YOUR fluids or temperatures. So, the data is relevant to YOUR application. 
Standard industry callouts for seal tolerancing, workmanship, and physical properties are typically built on specification platforms developed by committees serving early aerospace or automotive applications.  The chemical compatibility of seal materials and fluids/media is often generic at best. 
Our advanced specifications support is premised on the realization that our customers who are pushing limits on speed, temperatures, and bespoke fluids deserve performance specs tailored to their unique use applications.

Test Bench Capabilities

Engineer searching Google for best seal

If your seal supplier’s answer is “Try this, it should work” then we need to talk!  Rather than throw ideas and suggestions at you we can develop, prototype, and test in house at Darcoid.  So have an evidence-based solution to start with.  This data driven approach means an end to “throwing darts at the board,” saves you considerable solutions screening time and frees up your lab to supporting your core technology. 
Wherever possible we will deploy our Test Bench capabilities to help you benchmark performance of your incumbent seal to give you a data driven performance comparison. We will actuate seals in your hardware, in modified seal glands, in your fluids, and deploy appropriate data acquisition tools to pre-qualify our solution. So, you have higher confidence of success as you budget and allocate your own testing resources.  
We can test seals in static and dynamic service, in face and radial, rod seal, or piston seal configurations.  We can characterize material test slabs to understand compression set or swell in your fluids and your temperatures, then run the same test on your actual seal profiles to gain a better understanding of the performance to expect in your product. 
We have worked collaboratively with customers to isolate performance variables and co-develop test procedures to deliver actionable data.  Test Bench isn’t needed every time but if your project timelines, scope, or performance criticality demand it we’re happy to give you some space. 
Engage with a Darcoid engineer to learn more. 

Fast Prototypes

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Custom seals my[D]FAST 
We can ship prototype compression molded seals in two weeks, LSR molded parts in 4-6 weeks, and cut elastomer, plastics and foams/sponges in hours or days. Stock seals ship same day. 
Back in the day… fast prototyping of compression molded elastomer components traditionally yielded a “soft” tooled solution running parts within 2-5 weeks. In the real world you had to be a customer with a BIG established spend to be able to routinely count on this kind of fast response. If you weren’t an established top tier customer the next option would be to pay your way to the front of the line.  Cha-ching, cha-ching!   
Soft tooling is typically only good for 50-200 parts before falling out of tolerance. 
With our extensive network of specialty molding operations, we can turn your print into parts in less than 2 weeks.  But to be conservative we’ll quote you a 3-week turnaround and expect to beat it. And the tooling will be production ready, hard steel.  So when you’re ready to start ramping we ready to support that. 
We have short prototyping lead times for other manufacturing methods as well.  Machined urethane fluid power seals, injection molded urethanes, LIM Silicones, die stamped, splice joined from cord or extrusion, digitally cut plastics, elastomers, and laminates.
2021 supply chain disruption caveat:  We’re able to hit these lead times for fast turn prototypes, but we aren’t guaranteeing results in today’s environment of less reliable freight, and varying instances of steel supply and raw material constraints. 
Contact Darcoid to consult with a program manager – we have preset pricing based on seal type, size range, and compound so all you need to do is send us your digital design file and a purchase order and we’re off to the races! 

Engage an Engineer

Engineer engaging with client on video call

The earlier in your project that you engage with our team the better! This will help you avoid costly “seal surprises” which can derail your go to market plan.  We can help you validate your approach or point out any concerns while they’re still manageable. 

We can help you with:

  • Material Compatibility. 
  • Seal design assistance. 
  • Gland recommendations. 
  • Validate/review an existing design. 
  • Specification audit: are you under spec’d and exposed to risk, or over spec’d and exposed to overly high costs? 
  • Failure analysis. 

person on the phone with customer writing notes

Feel free to fill out the form below to give us a head start.  If your eyes glaze over at the prospect then reach out and a program manager will set up a call.  We’ll ask you most of the same questions on the form but we’ll also get a much better idea of where you’re at. 
Call us at 510.836.2449 (US Pacific Time) or submit a General Inquiry.