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.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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