Just like the sports teams that occupy the same city, but split our allegiances (Cubs vs. White Sox, Jets vs. Giants, Lakers vs. Clippers), we find ourselves in the middle of our very own rivalry on the same turf….Composite vs. Multi-Layer Steel (MLS). However, in this case, the winners don’t get bragging rights for the next year. The winner is YOU when the gasket material and design YOU have chosen or suggested for the application seals like it needs to. Everyone wants to be a winner, don’t they?
Over the past few years, we have seen a lot of people become enamored with MLS and jump on the bandwagon. The gaskets are a newer technology, they are sleek, cost-effective, and they typically perform. Here at Metal Tech Industries, we have made the decision to continue with composite material because 1) it is a tried and true technology (we’ve proven it for the last 21 years and counting), 2) it meets the requirements of any high-heat/high-pressure application and 3) we believe that we are one of the best in the world at manufacturing metal-reinforced gasket material. If composite didn’t work and wasn’t still relevant, we wouldn’t still be here today.
Whether you are someone that has been a fan of MLS for a while, or someone who has been a loyal fan of composite but just needs a reminder about why you’ve stuck with it for so long, here are the reasons you should (or still should) consider composite material the next time you need gasket material.
The key reason for selecting composite gasket materials is their ability to seal under less-than-ideal flange conditions. And, let’s face it, no flange is perfect. Conformance makes up for variations in flange stiffness, surface finish, deformation, deflection, etc.
First and foremost, be sure to look at the total cost of the design, not just part cost. Typically, the overall cost of a composite solution is less than MLS designs. Machining costs must also be considered. Unlike MLS, flanges need not be mirror-smooth, as composites actually work better when there is some roughness to conform to. Machining costs can be reduced when using composite gasket materials. (Keep reading for more cost considerations…)
3. Small quantity solutions
Cost of fabrication of the parts must be considered. In small quantities, parts can be easily cut by various methods (such as flash-cutting, waterjet, or laser-cutting). Steel-rule-die tooling is also inexpensive for a short quantity run and can be made to cut the metal core products.
4. Large quantity solutions
Matched steel tooling can be designed to run high volume parts. Composite products can be made in slit coils, making production simple with a high speed, automated line, thus keeping costs down.
Composition products such as graphite/tang core laminates have an excellent history of long-term sealing performance. The metal core provides durability and stability for handling, assembly, and long-term performance in the sealed joint. Factors such as bolt load retention also improved with this type of product.
Do You Have To Pick One Team?
There is not one single material that you can use that will meet all of your sealing needs. See our blog post The Most Commonly Used Gasket Materials & Why You Need Them All. There is a place for MLS, and there is definitely still a place for composite in designing your application. You just need to be aware of the benefits each material has to offer, and use that knowledge. You can absolutely consider both composite and MLS for an application. (We promise – your friends won’t make fun of you for being a fair weather fan!)
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The Top 6 Applications Where Composite Gaskets Excel
As an experienced materials manufacturer, when we hear a customer or potential customer start talking about gasketing needs, there are certain applications where we know immediately that metal reinforced composite laminates are a great option. To help you in your planning process, we decided to put together a list of the top applications where these types of gaskets excel (in no particular order).
3 Reasons Why You May Want to Utilize an Insulating Gasket
Sometimes a gasket needs to be more than just a gasket. There are times you may find that you are in need of an insulating gasket. There are also times that you could use an insulating gasket and don’t even realize it. If you’re not quite sure what you need, continue reading to learn about a few instances when an insulating gasket may be a benefit to your application.
What Is A Metal-Reinforced Gasket and Why Do I Need One?
If you were in the market for a gasket, do you even know where to start? As you can see, we’ve broken down why you want to consider a composite material. Now, the big question for some of our readers may be: “What exactly is a composite gasket”?
Why A Metal-Reinforced Gasket May Not Be For You
We’re going to shoot you straight…you may never be in need of a metal-reinforced gasket. There. We said it. You could call us up tomorrow and ask for gasket material for XYZ application, and after telling us about your needs, we’d tell you that you would be better off spending your money elsewhere. You might be asking yourself “what kind of sales pitch is that”? Well, it’s an honest one...
The Most Commonly Used Gasket Materials & Why You Need Them All
It seems like there are hundreds of different types of material and they all claim to seal, have great recovery properties, stand up to high heat and scrubbing and are a low cost. The most commonly used gasket materials can be listed as: fiber, rubber, metal, and composite laminates. The first question you need to answer is – What are you trying to seal?