The second area of focus is intelligent, integrated electronics – which can be embedded within a rubber component or, in the case of what Datwyler refers to as technical rubber, printed directly upon the surface to form a functional structure. The resulting smart sealing solutions deliver a wide range of benefits.
If we take an embedded RFID chip as an example, information can be stored that can deliver distinct benefits to manufacturers in the mobility sector. The authenticity of a part can be checked with ease, for example, while part numbers and production dates can also help to provide traceability as supply chains become ever more digitalized. Materials that are visually similar, such as membranes, can also be checked to ensure the correct materials are used when parts are assembled.
Advances in smart sealing solutions extend far beyond the supply chain also. Sensor active layers within elastomer components can detect force, touch or even leakage, for example, and in some instances can detect the presence of media on the surface of the seal, leading to higher levels of capability in terms of predictive maintenance. As we move forward and electrification continues to gather momentum, to have these capabilities within battery packs, where any form of leakage can lead to reduced functionality or even overheating, is highly desirable.Norbert Haberland
Electronic components such as chips and sensors can also detect parameters such as temperature, pressure, fluid levels and abrasion when integrated into sealing solutions. This information further adds to a vehicle’s capability to provide predictive analytics, which in turn can mitigate the risk of unscheduled downtime events and even potential safety issues.