Formed-in-Place Foam Gasket (FIPFG)

Form in place gaskets are a reliable solution to sealant needs. You can have a bespoke seal that works with the preexisting structure of the material. The finished seal will be strong and dependable even in extreme weather conditions. Here is some information about form in place gaskets and the Robafoam product.

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What is Foam Sealing, Foam Gasketing, Formed-in-Place Gasketing and Formed-in-Place Foam Gasketing?

Liquid foam sealing, and formed-in-place foam gaskets, have been used for decades across a range of industries. There are a few different methods of generating these seals, Robafoam specialises in a single component foam system which we will focus on as an example.

The standard definition of foam formed place gasket or seal is that the seal material being applied is a liquid; this way it can flow into the groove, or intimately mate with the surface, it has been applied to. Because of this, formed in place gaskets can be applied to a wide range of surface finishes and part geometries. These can vary in size and shape as it’s applied as it depends on the flow rate and dispensing rate of the material.

Once on the surface, the liquid has to undergo some form of curing; this can be heat cured, a two-component chemical reaction or air-cured. Most of the foam materials being applied (and non-foamed materials) are either thixotropic or have high viscosities which stops them from losing their shape when sat on the surface.

The aim of using a formed in place seal is to create a truly bespoke seal that is applied directly to the part. This means the seal is bonded onto the part either onto a flat surface or more often, into a groove. This ensures that the most intimate seal can be formed and any surface imperfections such as a sink in a moulded part, or surface scratches on a metal part, do not affect the seal performance. This is because the seal will fill the gaps and not just sit on the surface. Hence, you have a perfect bespoke gasket seal that is built around the preexisting qualities of the material.

How to Apply Foam Sealing

Depending on the level of accuracy and the performance requirements of the seal, you can apply these seals in two main ways:

Just like when you apply silicone to your bathroom, applying a sealant to a part is doable. However, you are dependant on the operator doing a good job and you will struggle to get consistent results.

Sometimes a direct application can be the best option though, here are some benefits:

  • It is a cheap and quick method
  • Often useful for small projects or where the seal will be highly compressed to take out the variation
  • Usually good enough for low to mid IP ratings, good for NVH reduction, bonding, potting and cushioning

For the best repeatability and accuracy, applying a seal by a robotic procedure can ensure the seal is the same every time. Using this method, you can control the seal accurately, meaning it is a reliable solution to most sealing needs whether that be for lighting or automotive sealing. It can also allow for tolerances to 1/10th mm which can be important for technical applications.

Here are some of the major benefits and uses:

  • Perfect for large projects where tooling can be manufactured, leading to high throughput of parts with low numbers of rejects and low downtime.
  • With a higher degree of accuracy, this is the best way to get top IP ratings and the highest performance for NVH reduction, bonding, potting and cushioning.
  • A great alternative to tape seals, moulded seals, cord seals and O-rings where they are either expensive or labour intensive to apply properly.

Hence, if you want a uniform foam structure, an easy production process, and measured quantities produced accurately, then modern machine technology can offer the perfect solution with their automated system. This option is better than most manually inserted seals.

What is a Foam In Place Gasket?

A gasket is used at the meeting point of two materials to seal them. A foam gasket is the same concept, but instead of using a pre-manufactured metal (or other material) gasket, the gasket instead is a liquid that hardens around the material creating a perfect bespoke gasket that works with any inaccuracies on the product or finish. Meaning it is an economical and reliable solution for a gasketing service.

Best Uses for Foam in Place Gaskets

Foam in place gaskets is great for many applications. It is a good option for shielding electronics and offering an environmental seal against dust and water. The ability to create a bespoke seal for any product is an advantage not offered by most other sealants.

Some industries and products that use foam seals are:

  • Electronics
  • Medical equipment
  • Military hardware
  • Communications
  • Aerospace
  • Mass Transportation

Due to foam’s exceptional ability to mould to a product, be resistant to environmental factors including extreme temperatures, means it is one of the best options for sealing products. For this reason, it has been used for many of the applications stated above.

Advantages of Foam in Place Gaskets

The advantages of a foam in place gasket remains in its durability and flexibility. No other gasket offers the same level of customisable finish. No matter what the product, its quality, or finish, foam can work with the material to produce a reliable seal that you can depend on. Foam gaskets application can be automated, so you can guarantee that the seal is aptly applied. Machine technology makes foam seals an accurate procedure that can be dependable and reliable for sealant needs.

With our years of industry experience working with global brands such as JLR, BMW, and Mercedes, we have built up a wealth of knowledge across a wide range of industries.

What makes Robafoam different?

We are the UK’ only dedicated robotic foam sealing specialist company

Dedicated laboratory cell, located within our technical centre capable of processing parts up to 2m x 3m

With decades of experience across many industry types, give our company a huge depth of knowledge in meeting sealing performance.

Working closely with designers we can give valuable insight to enhancing component deign for optimal sealing performance.