Saint-Gobain Seals has invested in expanding the R&D laboratory facilities at their Kontich, Belgium site in order to support customer testing needs and to improve their time-to-market process. These competitive advantages are achieved through a pre-validation process in which mechanical and tribological testing helps select precise fit material for an application with a specific speed and load. Specialized test rigs are used to perform testing in simulated end-user hardware, and endurance testing of seals are conducted in-house.
Now the lab has doubled in space, however, plans are underway to further expand in 2019, adding a FabLab and learning centre to enhance customer focus. The current lab space is divided into the following areas: Office space for R&D team, specific room for analytical testing with DSC, FTIR, confocal microscope and optical microscope, test rig hall, climate-controlled and noise-isolated room for specialized tribological, application and surface roughness testing, room for sample preparation and small test set-ups, as well as specific space for a CNC machine for prototyping.
At the new facility, Saint-Gobain Seals has established a test rigas well as a cryogenic technical platform that focuses on building knowledge of applications in the various industries through seal performance testing, material qualification, and simulation and modelling. The platform guides the business on how better to design their OmniSeal® spring-energized sealing solutions for certain conditions such as temperatures down to -253°C, different friction, leakage and permeation requirements, thus offering customers superior benefits and precise fit based on pre-validation.