Cleveland-Think of gaskets and seals as a window on the world of manufacturing.
According to the new Gaskets & Seals study by the Freedonia Group, domestic demand for gaskets and seals will decelerate from recent growth levels of 8.6% to 5.6% by 2003, reflecting a production-growth slowdown in major OEM markets-including motor vehicle, industrial machines, and electrical equipment. Still, the study forecasts a rise in demand to $7.3 billion, inclusive of price increases.
The study predicted several bright spots for gaskets and seals. The strongest growth will likely occur in the aerospace market, fueled by rising demand for civilian and military aircraft. It also foretells strong growth in the maintenance-repair-and-operations (MRO) market with the aging of the installed base of machinery and equipment, which grew during the long economic expansion.
In terms of product types, the best growth prospects will be for high-performance products such as mechanical face seals, rotary oil seals, and non-metallic gaskets made from advanced materials.
Design collaboration now includes the entire value chain. From suppliers to customers, purchasing to outside experts, the collaborative design team includes internal and external groups. The design process now stretches across the globe in multiple software formats.
A new high-pressure injection-molding technology produces near-net shape parts with 2-inch-thick walls from high-performance materials like PEEK, PAI, and carbon-filled polymers. Parts show no voids, sinks, or porosity, have more consistent mechanical properties, and are stronger.
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