Form-In-Place Gaskets Superior accuracy and reliability for even the most intricate gasket designs
What is a Form-In-Place Gasket?
Form-in-place gaskets (FIP gaskets) are thick liquids dispensed on top of substrates to create a strong, durable seal between two surfaces like metal, glass, or plastics. FIP gasket seals offer complete contact with good compressibility, low compression set, and ensure years of effective EMI shielding and environmental sealing performance.
How do FIP Gaskets Work?
A three-axis gasket application process dispenses precisely positioned, conformable gaskets in a variety of cross-sections with an infinite number of layouts. This automated process offers the additional benefit of allowing for batch-to-batch part variations without any tooling changes.
Automation of FIP Gaskets Improves Efficiency and Consistency
This is favorable for manufacturers as it can help meet customer demand. Many years ago dispensing was done manually, thus limiting production and increasing room for error on the assembly line while driving up costs. Today, many robotically dispensed FIP gasket applications provide the lowest total installed cost, reducing it up to 60% over other gasketing solutions. Thus helping save on materials, reducing the space needed, and avoiding expensive gasket production tooling costs.FIP
Conductive Gaskets and EMI Shielding Gaskets
For EMI shielding gaskets applications, a variety of electrically conductive particles can be added to the gasketing compound allowing for shielding effectiveness ranges from 60 dB to more than 100 dB+ at 200 MHz to 12 GHz.
The many benefits of Form In Place Gasketing
FIP Gasketing includes:
- Up to 60% space saved
- Up to 100 dB shielding effectiveness 200 MHz to 12 GHz with very small gasket beads
- Highly compressible gaskets, ideal for applications with limited available deflection force
- Can be dispensed in complex layouts with short lead times and minimal tooling cost
- Quick turn-around of prototypes and samples with fast and low-cost gasket design changes
Our Automated CNC Multi-Axis Robotic Application Process Offers:
- Turnkey gasket adhesion to metal, glass, or plastics
- Very small beads with 100 Db shielding
- Complex layouts with short lead times and minimal tooling
Application of Form-In-Place Gaskets: How it Works
Placement of the form-in-place gasket is done by multiple-axis robotic dispensing driven by a CAD drawing of the part. This process ensures reliable sealing against environmental variables and better mating of conductive surfaces.
This application method also allows us to meet varying height requirements and compensate for uneven surfaces in molded parts and castings to provide consistent, highly reliable (with the option for highly conductive) seals.
There are several combinations of elastomers and particles that provide a range of desired properties including compression force, deflection range, electrical conductivity, shielding effectiveness, galvanic corrosion resistance, adhesion and cure options.
Through this process small seals can be accurately placed in complex patterns to meet the increasing demands of electronic enclosure designs. The robotic application of fip gaskets not only improves the manufacturing stage, but improves the longevity of such products requiring EMI shielding, highly reliable environmental sealing, or those that involve mating conductive surfaces.
Applications for FIP Gaskets
Form-in-place gasketing is a versatile manufacturing technique with applications across a wide range of industries, including:
- Military and defense work demanding a high level of accuracy and low-weight design
- Commercial and military aerospace applications
- Medical devices, including automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and CPAP machines
- Test and measurement applications, including 5G test equipment where EMI shielding is crucial
These durable, highly conductive seals and gaskets offer years of effective mechanical performance and EMI shielding*.
*With our precise instrumentations, spaces as narrow as .030 inches (0.76 mm) can be accommodated for gasket application, allowing more real estate for components.
We use the same procedures to apply form in place materials as Chomerics. Finished products are certified by an authorized distributor. This type of certification is important for some customers with higher standards for quality, especially in the medical and aerospace industries.
Chomerics CHOFORM 5513
Two-component, thermal cure silicone system, which requires a minimum cure of 30 minutes at 140°C (284°F). The Ag/Cu particle filler makes 5513 a > 70 dB shielding material while also having the best adhesion to chromate coated aluminum and most other substrates.
Product type: Thermal
Tensile strength: 2.4
Operating features: Excellent electrical properties and adhesion
Chomerics CHOFORM 5528
One-component, room temperature, moisture cure silicone system, which requires a full cure of 24 hours at 50% relative humidity. The Ag/Cu filler makes 5528 a >70 dB shielding material, while providing a soft, low closure force gasket.
Product type: Moisture
Tensile strength: 0.86
Operating features: Soft, low-closure force
Chomerics CHOFORM 5560
One-component, thermal cure silicone system, which requires a minimum cure of 30 minutes at 150°C (302°F). The Ni/Al filler makes 5560 a very good >90 dB shielding material while also providing the best galvanic corrosion-resistant gasket when mated with aluminum for even the harshest salt/spray fog environments.
Product type: Thermal
Tensile strength: 1.1
Operating features: Excellent corrosion resistance on Aluminum
Gasketing Material Selection
There are several combinations of elastomer compounds and particle fillers that provide a range of desired gasket properties.
Material choices are available for optimization of the material for best shielding, compressibility or available compression, galvanic corrosion, environmental sealing or chemical resistance. In some cases, two materials may be used to create a dual bead gasket that addresses multiple areas of concern.
With a wide variety of gasketing materials, IC packages and EMI Shielding, KraFAB supplies custom materials that have the capabilities beyond that of standard EMI shielding and gasketing. Our custom fabricated materials are developed specifically to meet the demands in a variety of industries.
Our skilled team can help with the selection of a FIP compound to best meet your gasket design requirements and limitations, addressing not only the factors listed above but also allowable gasket envelope, available deflection ranges, and substrate properties as well.
Form-In-Place Gaskets vs Die-Cut Gaskets
What are the benefits of FIP gaskets over molded or die-cut gaskets?
A Form-In-Place Gasket Has Better Mating of Irregular Surfaces
Form-in-place gaskets are another choice besides molded gaskets or die-cut gaskets. This unique type of gasket is able to fill in any irregular spaces or gaps on the substrate. Pre-formed gaskets are not consistently able to adequately fill those gaps, which can make form-in-place gaskets an ideal alternative.
Form-In-Place Gaskets Are Less Expensive and Faster than Traditional Extruded and Molded Gaskets
We program the dispensing system, which means there’s no need to create a mold or steel die. The robotic system also makes it much easier to change from one design to another quickly and at a low cost.
Form-in-place gaskets are cured at room temperature or by oven and are ideal for applications that involve opening and closing the door or component. This versatile process can be used on plastics, glass, electronics, and more.
These seamless, poured in place gaskets adhere to one side of the surface. By contrast, with cure-in-place gaskets, the corresponding part is attached and the gasket fills all voids for permanent assembly.
While both options require prepared surfaces, there are several benefits to using FIP gaskets over traditional gasket methods. Because form-in-place gaskets utilize an automated system already, you can automate the surface prep process and easily transition to gasketing.
Many electronic devices are subject to a variety of not only environmental conditions but electromagnetic/radio frequency interference.
In densely populated electronics packaging, particularly where intercompartmental isolation is required to separate processing and signal generating functions, conductive form-in-place gaskets provide excellent electrical contact to mating conductive surfaces including printed circuit board traces.
Design Limitations and Considerations
While FIP gaskets are applicable to a significant variety production needs, it’s helping to consider the following:
- Substrate dimensional considerations
- Substrate surface quality considerations
- Gasket adhesion
- Gasket aspect ratios
- Published specs versus real world results
- FIP Gaskets Production
- Quality Control
Our robust and mature ISO 9001 certified quality system plays a key role in ensuring that each customer’s needs for high performing and repeatable gasket solutions are always met.
Each batch of customer supplied FIP substrates is checked for suitability for gasketing, including its cleanliness, uniformity, and damage. Substrates are inspected during the gasketing process as well.
Quality Control of Form-In-Place Gaskets Bead Paths
We have the capability to perform automated dimensional verification of gasket bead placement and height for statistical process control, using a fully programmable optical coordinate measuring technology and vision systems. Electrical resistance of cured gasket material is tested using a 4-probe multimeter capable of measuring to 0.001 ohm in conjunction with custom apparatus designed for testing FIP EMI gaskets. Typical Cp and Cpk values for most FIP gasket application processes are approximately 1.5.
Rapid Prototyping of FIP Gaskets
Since this installation is dependent primarily on software and programming, it permits rapid and inexpensive prototyping, production scale-up and design changes. It works well for batch runs or continuous production, from ten to ten million parts.
Through our latest generation form-in-place gasket application, metal, plastic, and glass surfaces and enclosures are sealed against moisture, air, dust, liquids, gaseous substances, dirt and EMI/RFI interference. By implementing in-line curing of the FIP gaskets, production times are cut and turn-arounds are increased.
We can further reduce production and sourcing costs by adding secondary EMI products, thermal interface materials, PSA’s, damping foams, labelling, marking, protective films and packaging to create a turnkey production solution.
Industries Using Form-In-Place Gaskets
FIP gasketing has become a widely accepted sealing and shielding solution over the past 2 decades across all manufacturing industries. Its unique value proposition of low cost and high performance has made it one of the first choices for engineers looking for shielding and sealing solutions.
It has been used in telecom, military, aerospace, industrial, transportation, life sciences and commercial EMI shielding and sealing applications to replace molded, extruded, die-cut gaskets and RTV sealants for decades.
The most common problems that occur when a product is in-transit can be mitigated through proper packaging. There are four key areas to focus on in order to decrease damage when wrapping, packaging, and shipping FIP gaskets.
- Proximity. The longer the distance, the greater the chance for damage.
- Manufacturer-controlled shipping. Placing control in the manufacturer’s hands can decrease overhead costs.
- Stretch wrapping as improper wrapping can make a load much more unsafe and unstable.
- On-site box fabrication. For items that are rarely ordered, custom boxes are not necessary.
The ongoing search for the best ways to help our customers means communicating with our customers about a part, including how it’s unpacked and assembled. Considering these factors allows us to optimally serve customers in the packaging and delivery process.
Offering Quality Form-in-Place Gaskets for Over 20 Years
K.R. Anderson was one of the first companies to offer automated FIP gaskets technology back in 1997. Today, our company has installed form-in-place gaskets solutions for customers across the globe in almost every industry imaginable.
Our automated form-in-place gaskets system is ideal for EMI shielding, environmental sealing applications, or both simultaneously. Our automated process takes the guesswork out of working with uneven surfaces, conductive surfaces, and especially high complexity gasket designs.
Form-In-Place Gaskets are Optimal for Various Substrates and Designs
Our precision FIP gaskets application works on almost any substrate design and construction. It can be applied directly on castings, machined metal, or plastic, providing turnkey assembly. For quality sealing and shielding at a low cost, reach out to us today!