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.
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Engineers at the University of San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering have designed biobatteries on commercial tattoo paper, with an anode and cathode screen-printed on and modified to harvest energy from lactate in a person’s sweat.
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