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Gasket Cutting Methods

Cutting a gasket
American Seal & Packing, Specializes in cutting gaskets to size, on demand. A common question we get often get is, do I have to pay die charges? It’s a great question, and the short answer is no, not in most cases. Dies are required when a “clicker press” (what used to be the most common form of cutting a gasket) is used. Today, we cut most of our gaskets using a CNC based method. None of which require dies. Let’s discuss some of the various methods used for cutting a gasket.

Common methods of cutting include Clicker Press (die cutting), Water Jet, Laser, Oscillating Knife (Flash Cutting) and hand cut. Some materials can be cut with any of the above methods, while other materials need to be cut by a specific method. For example; a laser cuts PTFE and Acrylic easily, but melts and/or burns any gasket material with rubber in it. Some plastics can give off a poisonous gas when hit with a laser. Waterjets cut rubber and metal very well, but beater-add gasket materials such as Armstrong can absorb the water and swell damaging the part you are cutting. Having the right equipment for the job, and knowing which is the most economical to use is critical. American Seal & Packing has the years of experience to produce quality parts at reasonable prices.

Die Cutting
The process of die cutting starts when a die is made. The most common die is a “steel rule” die. Steel rule means a long piece of metal that has a blade edge on one side is embedded into plywood. The steel rule has the shape and dimensions of the gasket you wish to cut. A die can cut one or multiple parts at a time. Multi-die tools are used for high production quantity runs.
For harder to cut materials, the dies can be made completely of metal. The industry standard is for the customer to pay for the die, while the gasket cutter pays to store and maintain the die. Dies must be kept sharp.

Once a die is made, the type of press it should be placed in must be determined. The size of the die, the number of gaskets to be produced and if the gaskets are to be cut through or Kiss cut. Kiss cutting is a process where there is a backing on the gasket material that needs to remain and not to be cut away. Often a peel and stick design seal is kiss cut.

Water jet cutting
We understand that there is a wide range of industries and applications; therefore, we include water jet cutting process as a procedure of gasket producing. Water jet cutting is a process where high-pressure water is being forced through a small nozzle. This high pressurized water being forced out produces an extremely clean and very precise cut.

One advantage with water jet cutting is that it offers extremely accurate cuts that can even cut the most complex, complicated, detailed parts with the efficient use of materials and less compression distortion. Water jet cutting allows us to offer a fast and flexible method of cutting which includes even the most complicated of parts. The use of this process allows us to produce clean cuts with high tolerances as well.

Sometimes the die cutting process won’t cut a material that is too thick; therefore, the water jet cutting process is a better alternative. Materials which are commonly cut with water jet includes rubber, foam, plastics, metals, and more.

Laser cutting is another process that sometimes won’t be able to cut certain materials, so water jet cutting is an alternative to this process as well. Water jet cutting is an available process that allows us to cut materials that other cutting methods can’t.

Oscillating knife (Flash cutting) - CNC
A CNC digital cutter uses an oscillating knife edge to cut a material. With the use of a 3-axis cutting head, the benefit of this process is speed, high accuracy, and savings due to not needing a die and being able to nest smaller gaskets into larger ones to minimize material scrap.

Through this process, a gaskets dimensions are converted into CAD drawing files and uploaded to a computer which allows us to get a precise cut. The operator of the machine can nest the gasket desired to cut, start the machine, and the machine will do the job. With the use of flash cutting, you can expect to be able to have both low and high volume runs and quick revision due to the cutting process being operated by a computer.

Due to its speed and high accuracy, lower costs and reduced lead times can be expected as well. Once an order is placed, American Seal & Packing saves your drawing in its system which allows repeatability for an even faster turnaround the next time you order. Contact us for more information.

Laser cut Gaskets
Laser gasket cutting machines utilize a high-powered laser to cut the sheet of material. A computer-aided design, or CAD program, move the laser to cut the programmed designed. One of the benefits of using a laser to cut a gasket is that the cut will be a lot cleaner and more precise than some other methods of cutting.

By allowing a laser to provide a lot cleaner and more precise cuts, you are also allowing for tighter tolerances when it comes to the finished product. Due to the use of a beam of infrared light that has great precision due to its computer control guide, it will not have a shearing effect on the material.

For a gasket to succeed in its purpose, the right material must be selected. There are key factors that must be considered when selecting industrial gaskets materials. The factors that need to be taken into consideration are as follows: size, temperature, application, media, pressure, and speed (for dynamic applications). Other factors include if the pressure being sealed is on the ID (inside dimension) or the OD (outside dimension) of the gasket. The load that is going to be placed on the gasket determines the density of the gasket material that can be used. In addition to these factors, actual field environments must be considered before a material recommendation can be made.

The two factors that most quickly define material suitability are pressure and temperature. The Pressure x Temperature (P x T) index can be used as a guide. For example, many non-asbestos gasket materials have a P x T index of 350,000. As long as the number derived is less than 350,000 the material will handle the Pressure and Temperature of the application. American Seal and Packing can provide recommendations and many P x T guides can be found at

We are confident that we can provide you with accurate gaskets that will aid with your application. American Seal & Packing takes pride in its ability to consistently produce accurate die cut gaskets. With years of experience die cutting gaskets, we guarantee to always try to meet your exact specifications in order for you to receive a gasket that functions perfectly.

There are various methods that we can use to cut gasket material. Some which are most popular include die cutting, water jet, and oscillating knife, and even manual cutting methods. We understand that our customer’s needs are important, so our commitment to providing our customers with the most accurate gaskets needed is a priority to us.

American Seal & Packing has been providing gaskets and seal solutions for over 30 years.
We are confident that we can recommend a solution for your difficult to seal applications or to reduce your costs due to our gasket cutting efficiencies. You will get gaskets that are accurately cut. Contact one of our highly trained specialists so we can fully understand your application and provide you with a gasket that will seal long term.

To learn more, please contact American Seal & Packing.

Gasket Failures

The cause of gasket failures has been a key question from engineers and mechanics since their invention. The objective of this blog is to help upcoming engineers, maintenance personnel and consumers to diagnose the cause of a gaskets failure, and to provide solutions.

We welcome submittals of your own cause and solution stories to help pass on the knowledge for a better sealed world. Through knowledge we can have “A Better Sealed World”.

With 30 years of experience with both soft goods, and metal gaskets we are uniquely qualified. Our soft good knowledge includes: Garlock, Durlon, Thermoseal, Armstrong, FMI-Spa, Latty, Ameri-lon, Grafoil, SGL, Utex, Sepco, Flexible Graphite, PTFE, Expanded PTFE, Viton, FKM, Aflas, Buna-N, EPDM, Neoprene, Fishpaper, SBR, Silicone, Cork, Gum Rubber. We will address metal gaskets later.

Playing Sherlock - Every gasket that fails, tells a story. Always diagnose a failed gasket before replacing the gasket. Never assume the last guy knew what he was doing, even if it was your dad that put it in.

50% of gasket failures are due to poor installation. The other half are the result of using the wrong material. For help with installation click here.

When a gasket has failed because the application exceeds the material capabilities, the first consideration is was the cause, heat, chemical, torque (over or under compression), surface finish, or poor gasket design.

Gasket design becomes a factor in lower bolt load applications. Occasionally a simple redesign of a gasket can increase the amount of load placed on the gasket by the existing fasteners. Removal of some material from the core of the gasket. Durlon RCA, a Gasket Resources product is an example of this.