The benefits of waterjet cutting services

during a photography shoot at Mueller Custom Cuts, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, at their Charlotte, NC offices. (Photo/Bob Leverone)

In the manufacturing industry, versatility and speed are the name of the game. Suppliers and manufacturers need to be able to quickly adapt established processes for new applications while delivering consistent quality and service. At the Sur-Seal® Company, we understand the demands on manufacturers and look to be as versatile as we can to help meet our partners’ needs. Because of this, we offer waterjet cutting as part of our capabilities. Here’s a quick introduction to waterjet cutting and the benefits it can provide to manufacturers and suppliers across the industries where we work.

What is waterjet cutting?

Waterjet cutting is a material cutting process that uses a high-pressure stream of water to cut through a variety of materials, rather than using a blade or other instrument. The water can be combined with a type of abrasive to produce an accurate cut with outstanding edge quality.

Benefits of waterjet cutting services

Here are just some of the benefits of using waterjet cutting to convert engineered materials:

  1. Material versatility – Waterjet cutting can be used on both hard and soft materials including rubber, foam, plastic and more.
  2. Multiple thicknesses – The power of the waterjet allows precise cutting for a range of thicknesses, from very thin foils to thicker materials. At Sur-Seal, our CNC waterjet cutting services can cut materials up to 6” thick.
  3. No heat – Because the waterjet cutting process does not involve any heat (otherwise known as a cold-cutting technique), it can be a useful technique for cutting through materials without damaging them.
  4. Tight tolerances – Using a CNC controlled guiding machine, waterjet cutting can maintain extremely tight tolerances for a variety of materials.
  5. Application versatility – Because waterjet cutting is so versatile, it is used by manufacturers and suppliers across industries for a wide range of applications.

Versatile converting capabilities enhance manufacturing efficiency

We believe the more versatile we can be as a converter, the more value and efficiencies we can bring to our partners. That’s why we are so excited about our waterjet cutting services and the capabilities it represents. Our CNC waterjet cutting bed size can range from 72” to 120”, and it is multi-head and multi-layer, making our solution an ideal choice for any number of applications. By combining industry-leading technology with our demonstrated expertise and outstanding service, our converting services can provide exceptional value to manufacturers across industries.

Looking for waterjet cutting services for your next manufacturing project? Contact Sur-Seal today to see how our capabilities can enhance efficiency in your operation.

The benefits of precision slitting services

Purchasing log rolls of materials like papers, films, foils and tape can provide manufacturers a cost savings compared to buying smaller, individual rolls. But working with those large log rolls is often impractical and narrower widths are required for efficient application. That’s why the Sur-Seal® Company added precision slitting services to our suite of converting services. To help manufacturers achieve maximum efficiency, we now provide lathe slitting, rewind slitting and laser inspection services. Here’s a quick snapshot of the benefits precision slitting services can bring to manufacturers across industries.

Lathe slitting

Lathe slitting services are best suited for narrow roll widths because the process allows for a more precise cut. Our lathe slitting features a programmable logic controller (PLC), which increases reliability, control and accuracy. We can even have multiple rolls on a common core, letting us work on multiple projects at once. Another benefit of lathe slitting is that it’s a high-speed process that helps manufacturers complete projects quickly and accurately.

Rewind slitting

We offer three different types of cuts via rewind slitting: razor blade, sheet and score cutting. Our auto-edge guide system can sense the edge of a material or part and help align it to the correct position. This helps lower project costs and improve quality. Our rewind slitting can accommodate long length rolls and can work with materials including tapes, films and papers.

Laser inspection

Our laser inspection precision slitting services are accurate within 0.002”. We offer FAI, PPAP and SPC reporting that helps increase the accuracy and consistency of converted products. Another major benefit of laser inspection is speed. With our best-in-class equipment, we can produce results within about 20 seconds.

Precision slitting services enhance manufacturing efficiency

Regardless of the specific process used, precision slitting services help increase the speed, accuracy, consistency and quality of manufacturing projects while also helping to limit costs and material loss. All of these benefits add up to a more efficient manufacturing operation that can help suppliers and manufacturers win more business.

If you’ve been looking for precision slitting services for your next manufacturing project, Sur-Seal is here to help. Contact us today to get started.

The Sur-Seal® Company Acquires Mueller™, Expanding Custom Engineering, Converting, and Manufacturing Capabilities

Sur-Seal, a leader in the field of engineered sealing solutions, has acquired Mueller  

CINCINNATI, OHIO – (March 15, 2022) – Sur-Seal Company, a leader in the custom sealing solutions industry, has acquired Mueller, a North Carolina-based company specializing in custom die cutting, slitting, laminating, and CNC cutting. The acquisition will help Sur-Seal and Mueller meet the needs of their expanded customer base.  

“We are excited about the acquisition of Mueller and what these two great companies and cultures can achieve together,” explains Larry Faist, a member of the Sur-Seal Board of Directors.   

“Mueller’s team will work together with Sur-Seal to provide our combined customer base with cutting edge engineering solutions. We value Mueller’s expertise in end markets such as HVAC, aerospace, medical, renewable energy, and electronics and look forward to combining our capabilities for a more comprehensive solutions offering for our customers,” said Dana Waterman, Chief Executive Officer. 

The acquisition of Mueller creates an expansion of engineering capabilities to offer a broad portfolio of performance materials and enhanced manufacturing techniques. The combined organization looks forward to continuing to provide customized gaskets and other sealing and filtering components using the most effective manufacturing techniques available. Sur Seal is pleased to expand manufacturing capabilities in the southeastern U.S. through Mueller’s world-class facility in North Carolina. The addition will serve to augment manufacturing options across the region.  

“We are delighted to be acquired by Sur-Seal as they are a company that shares our values of superior customer service and a positive work culture that specializes in providing comprehensive engineering solutions,” says Pete Futia, Vice President of Mueller. “In addition to offering a variety of die-cut options, we can now offer our customers custom rubber and silicone molded and extruded parts. We believe our customers will also appreciate the expansion of our supply chain services that will include storage, kitting, and parts assembly.”  

About Sur-Seal  

Sur-Seal helps companies solve their toughest challenges around the world of sealing through the manufacturing of die cut, molded, and extruded parts. With headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sur-Seal has engineering service centers across the U.S., and in Mexico and China. Sur-Seal strives to simplify engineering and supply chain solutions for over 200 OEM customers, including many long-term Fortune 500 partners. The company was founded as a family-owned and run business in 1965 and is currently owned by Heartwood Partners, a Connecticut-based private equity firm. Sur-Seal has a passion for fostering a strong culture and is proud to have been recognized as a Best Place to Work locally and nationally.  

Mueller™, a Sur-Seal Company, is a North Carolina-based provider of custom engineering, converting, and manufacturing of flexible materials. Mueller was founded in 1940 and was most recently owned by Ken and Carl Stober. Mueller’s largest end-markets are HVAC, aerospace, medical, and other general industries. The Company is ISO-9001 and AS9100 certificated and offers many MilSpec and ASTM-certified raw materials.  

The acquisition of Mueller follows Sur-Seal’s acquisition of Spectex, a specialty materials converter based in Dover, NH, which closed in May of 2021. For more information about Mueller, visit their website at: https://www.mullercustomcut.com.

The Sur-Seal® Company Names Dana Waterman CEO

Visionary leader to use experience to propel Sur-Seal into next chapter of growth 

CINCINNATI, OHIO – (March 9, 2022) – Sur-Seal, a leader in the custom sealing solutions industry, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dana Waterman as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 

Waterman is well-positioned to take over the helm, bringing a wealth of managerial experience to Sur-Seal, having served in CEO roles since 2002, including assignments in the rubber and plastic industries. He has led companies serving the industrial, medical, aerospace, packaging, oil and gas, and building products markets.  

Waterman started his career in engineering and business development in the aerospace and defense industries after graduating with an Engineering degree from The Johns Hopkins University. 

 “I am excited to lead the Sur-Seal team through the integration of several recent acquisitions and identifying and executing on growth opportunities,” Waterman said. 

Through his leadership and vision, Waterman plans to expand Sur-Seal’s footprint through additional acquisitions and into new markets and to grow share with current customers by offering them more value-added engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain services. 

“We are fortunate to have found another leader that exemplifies the culture of Sur-Seal and the experience to lead this enterprise through its next phase of growth,” said member of the Board of Directors, James Sidwa. 

Waterman is taking the place of Larry Faist, who’s been with Sur-Seal since 2013, and served as CEO since 2018.  Faist will transition to the Board of Directors. 

“It has been a pleasure to work with Larry as CEO during his tenure, and we look forward to continuing that work together as board members,” said member of the Board of Directors, Andrea Vandersall. 

Sur-Seal® Company Launches SUR-COOL® Products

Sur-Seal, a leader in the field of engineered sealing solutions, has launched a proprietary line of thermal interface materials.

CINCINNATI, OHIO – (August 31, 2021) – The Sur-Seal® Company, a custom sealing solutions industry leader, has launched a unique new product line. The Sur-Cool® line is a comprehensive lineup of silicone thermal interface materials that combines quality, ease of use, and affordability to bring engineers solutions that are finally made easy. This proprietary product line spans four different unique types of products.  

The lineup includes: 

  • Sur-Cool Thermal Tape 120V 
  • Sur-Cool Silicone Thermal Gap Pads: 150V, 300V, 500V, 800V, and Ultra Soft 
  • Sur-Cool SFR: 100V, 150V, 200V, and 300V 
  • Sur-Cool Phase Change 300V 

“We are pleased to be able to offer state-of-the-art thermal interface materials that are made to meet real-world expectations,” explains Larry Faist, president, and chief executive officer of Sur-Seal. “Sur-Seal is committed to our customer satisfaction and bringing quality thermal material options to our customers is a priority.” 

Sur-Seal’s Sur-Cool line of proprietary thermal interface materials takes the guesswork out of choosing the right materials. Featuring easy-to-use products with reliable quality at the right price, the Sur-Cool line allows design engineers to make informed decisions about the products they are using. Sur-Seal strives to be a continued leader in thermal interface materials by bringing quality products like the Sur-Cool line to their customers.  For more information on Sur-Cool, visit https://www.sur-seal.com/products/sur-cool/ 

How do thermal pads work?

There are a lot of different types of thermal interface materials on the market. However, of all the forms available, thermal pads (aka thermal gap pads) are the best choice for mass production. Let’s break down why that is.

What do thermal pads do?

Thermal pads serve the same purpose as every other form of thermal interface material. That is, they sit between two components and transfer heat from one to the other. This usually means dissipating heat from a heat source to a heat sink, to protect a device from overheating.

Thermal pads accomplish this by being effective gap fillers and efficient conductors. The ability of the pad to fill tiny gaps in the assembly is referred to as wet-out, and softer materials tend to wet-out better than firmer materials. A thermal interface material’s inherent conductivity is measured in Watts per meter-Kelvin (W/mK), and the higher the W/mK number, the better that material is at transferring heat.

Silicone thermal pads

Silicone is a highly versatile and effective material for thermal pads. Silicone can be manufactured to a wide range of thicknesses and compression levels to suit an impressive range of design requirements. Additionally, silicone thermal pads provide beneficial electrical isolation properties.

Graphite thermal pads

Graphite is an excellent choice for designs that require a thin, highly conductive thermal interface material. Designed for demanding performance applications, its thinner structure requires relatively smooth and parallel surfaces in order to achieve wet-out and maximum thermal performance.

Other types of thermal pads

Silicone and graphite are two of the most common form-factors used for thermal pads. However, they’re far from the only choices out there. These alternative choices include:

  • Acrylic
  • Polyester
  • Aluminum
  • Fiberglass

These materials each offer unique benefits and drawbacks. They are often chosen for designs that have particularly niche requirements.

Thermal pads vs. thermal paste/grease

Finally, there’s a long-standing debate about which is better — thermal pads or thermal paste? The truth of the matter is, they both get the job done. Selecting one versus the other comes down to design and manufacturing requirements.

Thermal paste can wet-out extremely well, providing an exceptionally thin bond-line and thus great performance at a very low unit cost. However, it also tends to be messy and difficult to control. Precision equipment is required for consistent application, as application by hand makes precision nearly impossible.

This can be an expensive piece of capital equipment, which also requires ongoing maintenance. Additionally, thermal grease can be subject to long-term performance degradation due to factors such as pump-out, thermal cracking and capillary attraction.

Thermal pads, on the other hand, provide an easy-to-use and scalable option for manufacturing. Pads can be fabricated to precise specifications, allowing for fast and easy placement. While a pad is not as compressible as a paste, the range of available materials means thermal pads are extremely effective with any substrate. Additionally, thermal pads maintain their initial performance over the long-term since they are not subject to the same types of degradation as thermal grease.

Sur-Cool thermal pads

Sur-Seal’s Sur-Cool line of silicone thermal pads are designed for maximum affordability and effectiveness. We understand that time is valuable for the engineers we work with. That’s why we guarantee a fast and clear process, starting with selection and design and continuing all the way through fabrication and delivery.

To learn more about how Sur-Seal can help solve your thermal management challenges, get in touch at sur-seal.com/contact/.

What is a thermal interface material?

Also known as heat transfer material and sometimes shortened to TIM, a thermal interface material is any substance placed between two components to improve the transfer of heat from one to the other. Usually, the goal is to dissipate the heat by transferring it to a heat sink, which prevents electronics from rising to dangerous temperatures.

What are thermal interface materials made of?

There are a lot of different materials on the market. There are pastes made of various liquid polymers, pads made of wax, aluminum, graphite or silicone, tapes, solders, gels and more. Of all these options, the most common forms are pads and pastes, while the most common base material is silicone.

What to look for in a thermal interface material

To choose the right thermal interface material, you need to know both its inherent thermal conductivity and how it wets out.

Inherent thermal conductivity

Inherent thermal conductivity is defined as Watts per meter-Kelvin (W/mK). It’s a measurement of how much heat a given material can disperse over time. The higher the number, the more heat that material can handle.

Wet-out

Wet-out refers to the ability of a material to replace air gaps in an assembly. It can also be thought of as how soft or squishy the material is. That softness determines how well the material can spread to fill in any spaces that would otherwise be occupied by air (which is a poor thermal conductor).

Other considerations

Besides those two key parameters, there are a few other criteria you can look at when choosing a thermal interface material.

  • Messiness – while thermal paste has excellent wet-out, it can also be difficult to control its application during production. Pads are fabricated for easy placement.
  • Cost – generally speaking, the higher the thermal conductivity of a material, the higher the cost of the material. This is partially dependent upon what types of thermally conductive fillers are used in the material, as some are more expensive than others.
  • Compression – to get a material to optimal wet-out, it needs to be placed under a certain amount of pressure. Softer materials require less pressure to be effective.

How are thermal interface materials used?

Any item or product that’s using electricity is either already using or could be using a thermal interface material. A list of every possible application would rival an old encyclopedia set in word count, but here are just a few examples to get the imagination going:

  • LED arrays
  • Cell phones
  • Hard drives
  • Medical devices
  • Touch screens
  • Digital cameras
  • Vehicle consoles
  • Robotics
  • Home appliances
  • Video game consoles
  • Power tools

What do I do if I need a thermal interface material?

Engineers in need of a thermal interface material should get in touch with a fabricator specializing in thermal management. At Sur-Seal, our experts can help with selecting the right material for any project, regardless of if it’s still in the concept stage or on the verge of mass production. Sur-Seal focuses on making the selection and fabrication process fast, painless and affordable. That’s why we created our Sur-Cool line of silicone thermal pads. We’ve made it simple to find the right solution that’s both high quality and cost effective. Sound too good to be true? We can prove it — just reach out and request a quote.

What is Thermal Tape?

Sur-Cool Thermal Tape is a dual-purpose thermal interface material (TIM), acting as both a TIM and as a mechanical fastener. Sur-Cool’s double-sided thermal tape is made from coating both sides of a fiberglass carrier with a high-performance thermally conductive acrylic adhesive. The result is a cost-effective thermal interface material that provides exceptional bonding strength in a thin format.

What is Thermal Tape Used For?

Thermally conductive tape has many applications where it is used today. Some of the most common applications are as led thermal pads, where the thermal tape is used to mount linear LED strip lights to the troffer heat sinks. In this application, the tape is acting both as a mechanical fastener as well as thermal interface material between the heat source (the LED’s) and the heat sink (the metal troffer).

Is Thermal Tape Electrically Conductive?

Sur-Cool Thermal Tape is not an electrical conductor. Thanks to the fiberglass carrier in the center, the material acts as an electrical insulator.

Thermal Paste Vs Thermal Tape

The pros of Thermal Paste are its low unit cost and strong initial thermal performance. The drawbacks for thermal paste are its messiness and long-term performance degradation.

Thermal tape on the other hand is much easier to handle and work with but is slightly more expensive than thermal paste and will likely not reach the initial performance level of thermal paste. However, it is worth mentioning that thermal tape will maintain its performance in the long-term, Sur-Cool thermal tape’s price is very competitive in comparison to other thermal pads.

To learn more about how Sur-Seal can help solve your thermal management challenges, get in touch at sur-seal.com/contact/.

Sur-Seal® Company Acquires Spectex™, Expanding Custom Engineering, Converting, and Manufacturing Capabilities

Sur-Seal, a leader in the field of engineered sealing solutions, has acquired Spectex 

CINCINNATI, OHIO – (August 2, 2021) – Sur-Seal® Company, a leader in the custom sealing solutions industry has acquired Spectex™, a New Hampshire-based company specializing in custom engineering, converting, and manufacturing of flexible materials. The acquisition will help Sur-Seal and Spectex meet the needs of their expanded customer base.  

“We are excited about the acquisition of Spectex, knowing how well they meet their customers’ needs for custom engineering and manufacturing,” explains Larry Faist, president and chief executive officer of Sur-Seal. “We value their experience and leading capabilities with a wide range of performance materials, from carbonized felt to specialty textiles to elastomers and plastics. We look forward to presenting these capabilities to Sur-Seal’s customers.” 

The acquisition creates a stronger combined business that will benefit customers through the expansion of manufacturing and distribution locations, enhanced engineering and material development capabilities, and an ability to serve more industries. The combined organization will continue to provide high-quality products, including gaskets, thermal pads and silicone optics, using the most effective manufacturing techniques available, including custom extrusion, molding, die-cutting, injection molding, and more. 

“We are pleased to be acquired by Sur-Seal, a company that shares a common mission and values,” says Steve Rossi, general manager at Spectex. “Our joint resources will improve our materials engineering expertise and market reach to better serve our customers and support growth overall.” 

About Sur-Seal  

Sur-Seal® Company, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio with service centers in Ohio, Mexico, and China, strives to live a mission of being Rapid, Right and Reliable. The company does business in 25 countries, with over 200 OEM customers, including 15 long-term Fortune 500 partners.  Sur-Seal® was founded as a family owned and run business in 1965 and is currently owned by Heartwood Partners, a Connecticut based private equity firm. Sur-Seal is a company with a passion for fostering a strong culture and is proud to have been recognized as a Best Place to Work locally and nationally.  Spectex™, a Sur-Seal Company, is a New Hampshire-based provider of custom engineering, converting and manufacturing of flexible materials. Spectex was founded by Victor Pisinski and Kevin Stanley in 2001 and has a history of providing solutions for such industries as medical, aerospace, industrial, and others.  For more information about Sur-Seal or Spectex, visit the sites at: https://www.sur-seal.com or https://www.spectex.com   

About Heartwood Partners  

Heartwood Partners, located in Norwalk, Connecticut, is a middle market private equity firm founded in 1982. Heartwood currently manages over $1 billion in investments and commitments and our principals have invested in more than 100 platform and add-on acquisitions. Presently, the firm is investing from a $600 million fund focused primarily on family and management-owned manufacturers, value-added distributors, food, chemical, consumer products and business service companies, Heartwood is differentiated by a unique lower-leverage, distribution-yielding approach to private equity designed to create equity partnerships with continuing management. For more information about Heartwood Partners, visit the site at: www.heartwoodpartners.com 

The Sur-Seal® Company Named Cincinnati Enquirer’s Top Work Place in 2021

Sur-Seal is proud to announce that the Cincinnati Enquirer has recognized us as a 2021 “Top Work Place.” As an unparalleled workplace, Sur-Seal’s 4-year winning streak also includes national “Best Place to Work” awards from Rubber & Plastics News in 2019 and 2020. Companies who were nominated were scored based on surveys completed by employees that measured the company’s commitment to community, connection, alignment, and more. We are honored for the recognition of our employee satisfaction and work environment.

“Sur-Seal prides itself on outstanding employee satisfaction and company culture.”, said Jenna McHugh Vice President of Human Resources. “Not only do we offer an exceptional work environment, but we are committed to supporting our employee’s personal and career goals. It is outstanding to be a part of a company that offers continued education and a commitment to a positive work environment.”

Sur-Seal has grown significantly over the years, but we have remained committed to creating an environment where each employee is respected and allowed career advancement opportunities. Sur-Seal also has a Culture team dedicated to upholding Sur-Seal’s core values as a company. Our commitment to employee experience continues to be an asset to our employees and customers.