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Cost-effective low-friction SEALS by Texturing During Moulding technology (TDM-SEALS)
Start date: Oct 1, 2012, End date: Sep 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

As associations of the European plastic and rubber industry, one of our main duties is to monitor potential markets in order to identify novel trends and emerging market niches which can bring growth opportunities to our enterprises, mainly SMEs. In the sector of plastic and rubber seals there is clear and growing demand for higher performance, “zero-leak” seals. A seal is a device that joins mechanisms together, preventing leakage or mixing of fluids under different working pressures. Hydraulic and pneumatic equipments industry is together with the automotive industry, the largest industrial markets for seals.TDM-SEALS project aims to develop a novel production processes for the fabrication of low-friction plastic and rubber seals, at competitive prices. We propose using surface texturing of the components during the moulding, to achieve a reduction in the seal dynamic friction of >20%. Furthermore, the production process for surface textured seals will be optimised by reducing the production-cycle time related to the demoulding difficulties. To achieve this aim a novel ceramic coating for the moulds will be developed.The potential impact of the project are:1) Cost effective production mechanism for the fabrication of moulded seals with a reduction (>20%) in their dynamic friction; 2) Reduce production costs related to the demoulding process, by developing ceramic coatings that reduce (>30%) the adherence elastomer-mould; 3) Opening access to new markets of sealing solutions for highly demanding applications. Thus, enabling SMEs to gain a competitive advantage; 4) Affordable low-friction sealing solutions that decrease their operational cost; 5) Affordable sealing solutions that reduce their energy consumption; 6) Affordable sealing solutions with enhanced tribological properties, reducing the risk of leakages.

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