How can Robafoam’s foam seals benefit the Automotive Industry

Robafoam has been working with the automotive industry as a foam seal specialist since was established in the UK as CeraCon UK in 2013 and today around a third of our customers are part of the automotive industry. We have a wealth of experience in applying seals to a wide range of parts, for both interior and exterior components. These include door modules, external lighting and roof antennas, to name a few. Our foam is a unique material that performs well on a number of substrates and the application method is so effective that even complex geometries can be sealed quickly and to a high specification.

Robafoams Automotive benefits

Robafoam’s foam material uses

Our foam is often used within the industry as a barrier for water ingress and to prevent dirt or other particles from entering the components. However, can also be used to reduce noise and vibration within vehicles. The seals are directly bonded to the parts to make sure that the pad will not move out of place which creates a perfect gasket or cushion application.

IP rating

One of the qualities that makes our foam material suitable for the automotive industry is its ability to provide a high Ingress Protection level (IP rating). By varying the compression, foam hardness and bead size, Robafoam can offer a seal that withstands contact with water ranging from water spray to deeper immersion.

Testing

Robafoam’s foam has been subjected to vigorous testing during its development and continues to be tested to ensure its compliance with a variety of standards. One of these is the ASTM D1003 standard test method for haze and clarity which means that it can be used effectively within the lighting sector of the automotive industry.

We understand that no two application designs are the same. We can use our expertise in working with the automotive industry to support designers, adapt designs as necessary and seal accordingly, all to achieve the standards required for the specific application. Each part can have the seal customised in size, hardness and design to ensure that specifications from the customer are met.

Automotive benefits image

If you have any further questions or think that Robafoam might be able to assist in a particular application, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How Can Robafoam’s Foam Seals Benefit The Lighting Industry

Since our establishment, our work within the lighting industry has progressively grown and exposed us to some very interesting projects.

Initially, we marketed our sealing technology to complement the UK government’s initiatives to convert to LED systems. The majority of applications were related to either diffuser sealing on glass or plastic substrates, or seals required for the main access cover components; these generally being powdered coated aluminium parts.

In nearly all cases these first applications were introduced to remove manually fitted cord seals. The conversion to FIPFG, improved productivity and reduced the quality issues regularly seen with manually fitted seals. It is increasing IP rating performance and improved service requirements due to the adhesion of our foam to the part surface.

Current Applications

Our foam can be currently found in a range of different lighting applications around the country. Main light seals on street lighting include foam on the diffuser, access covers, body seals and heat sinks. We also do applications for NEMA/Node unit sealing, solar charging units on the streetlights themselves, illuminated street light signage, bollard diffuser sealing and BEV/HEV charging point connections (located within the base of the lamp post).

Sealing requirements for public lighting

Testing

Robafoam foam material has been subjected to vigorous testing during its development and continues to be tested to ensure its compliance with a variety of standards, including some of which makes it perfectly suited to the Lighting industry’s requirements. One of these is the ASTM D1003 standard test method for haze and clarity. Our material was initially approved against the ASTM D1003 standard for our automotive lighting applications, however, this is of course a factor for the lighting industry as a whole.

We understand that no two application designs are the same and we can use our expertise to support designers, adapt designs as necessary and seal accordingly, all to achieve the standards required for the specific application.

IP Ratings

One of the qualities of Robafoam foam material that makes it so suitable for the lighting industry is its ability to provide a high Ingress Protection level (IP rating). By varying the compression, foam hardness and bead size, we can produce a seal that withstands contact with water ranging from water spray to deeper immersion.

Over the past few years, our customer base within the lighting industry has continued to grow which has meant we have taken on a variety of different sealing applications. Our technology is beginning to be known in the industry and our attendance at different exhibitions has helped to increase the awareness of what we do. The flexibility of the foam and its application means that we are able to work with a range of different parts and still produce high quality, high-performance foam bead.

If you work within the Lighting sector and are interested in some more information on foam sealing systems and foam sealing materials, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

When is a streetlight not a streetlight? 

Perhaps not such a daft question. Nowadays it’s probably better to consider these as a potential national resource, with an evolving requirement. 

I am not talking about the familiar uses, as a convenient fixing point for public road signs, or even a canine public convenience. I would prefer to focusing on more technical matters.

Streetlights nowadays are considerably smarter and hugely more efficient than their old sodium bulb predecessors. The light source is now generally LED based giving much cleaner and brighter illumination with all the safety benefits this brings, with significant improvement in reliability and reduced servicing costs. Also, they now have sophisticated control mechanisms allowing variable/programmable start and stop times with dimming facility also results in much reduced operational costs and ecological benefits. These control units are called Nema’s or light nodes, usually visible as a small protrusion on the top of the light.

Moving on from the improvements in the street light unit itself, this kerb-based pole is seeing new opportunities for multifunctionality.

How many of us have had the conversation about the UK’s ongoing conversion to fully electric vehicles? 

Considering the current price increases in conventional fuels, I expect it’s becoming more widely discussed.  This inevitably includes a debate, about how people who don’t have a driveway, are expected to charge their vehicle in the street. How do we avoid millions of extensions leads crossing pavements with the ensuing trip hazard claims? What’s needed a national grid of street-based charging points. To consider this as a “new” dedicated infra-structure would make the HS2 investment seem reasonably priced. 

Ultimately, what’s needed is an existing curbside matrix of places to plug your EV into. Now you see where this is going. Companies are already working on methods of adapting the current lamp-post access doors to take an EV connection point, with trials taking place in various council districts.

The next offering to highlight in support of an increasing need to enhance public and vehicular safety, or for the more skeptical among us another step forward to an Orwellian state. This being the integration of CCTV systems within the actual light unit or as an independent unit using the elevation and power source to its benefit.

The one thing, virtually all of the above evolution has in common, is the need to keep the weather from the increasing complex electronics and electrical supply within. As you can imaging the connecting interfaces of these parts, can be complex 3D profiles. Also with component designers need to make things as aesthetically pleasing as possible; even more capability is needed from the material and process used to ensure the seal and longevity of this assemblies. 

Robafoam’s robotic foam sealing process is already widely used on the light unit with diffusers, covers/body’s and nema components within the traditional lighting requirements. However, being at the forefront of high IP rated seals, the Contract Gasketing service Robafoam offers in the UK, as well selling the foam systems we use. We offer a real resource into the increasing evolution of the not-so humble street-light. For more information visit www.robafoam.com