A lot has changed in the world of gasket making over the past 80 years, but for Seal Innovations, one of Australia’s oldest gasket manufacturing companies, moving with the times has never been a challenge.
Since its birth in early 1940s, Seal Innovations has gone through multiple name changes and expansions, but as Raj Jadow, Seal Innovation’s National Key Account Executive explains, the company has also constantly modernised its machinery to offer the latest technologies in gasket production.
“Like all manufacturing, gasket making has become more automated over time. Where previously over 80% of production was done manually, today the proportion has been reversed in favour of automation,” says Raj.
An example, he says, is a fully automatic Kammprofile machine that enables Seal Innovations to produce Kammprofile gaskets in many shapes and sizes with continuous grooves.
“Not many companies in Australia have the automatic Kammprofile machine,” he says. “With this machine, we can manufacture Kammprofile gaskets of different sections, without having to weld the end joints. This helps extend the life of the Kammprofile gaskets significantly. We also have a custom-designed automatic compression packing cutter that helps us process larger gland packing orders within minimum time.”
But Raj is also quick to note that Seal innovations has unique capabilities when it comes to the manual aspect of gasket making – something that he says is still crucial to manufacturing gaskets.
“The manual skills are quite critical to gasket production as some precision metal working can only be conducted manually. We have highly skilled technicians with over 35 years of experience in gasket making.”
Seal Innovations’ journey began as a business partnership between C.B. Byrne and E.C. Blackford in the early 1940s. At the time, the company had offices in Sydney and Melbourne and manufactured gaskets and washers at a 4600-square-metre facility in Brisbane’s Eagle Farm.
Over the years, the company expanded, opening in both Adelaide and Perth and in 1947, formed an association with the UK-based Engineering Components. The company then became known as Payne, Byrne & Blackford and began its long association with Flexitallic.
The business went through a few acquisition and mergers in the following years and was eventually split into two separate divisions: the Automotive Gasket division (ACL) and Industrial Gasket Division (Specialised Gaskets).
Currently, the Industrial Gaskets Division of Seal Innovation is part of Industrial Solutions Australia’s group of businesses – which also includes CBC, BSC and WebsterBSC.
Seal Innovations services its customer base through its eight branches nationally and supported by its state of the art manufacturing facility headquartered in Eagle Farm, Brisbane.
Keeping industry moving
Today, Seal Innovations manufactures specialised seals and gaskets for various industries like oil and gas, refineries, food and beverage and pharmaceuticals. Raj says the company is regularly audited by major oil refineries and turbine manufacturers that purchase its products due to the sensitive nature of their applications.
“Gaskets are critical components in industries like oil and gas. If a gasket fails, the resulting leak can be disastrous and even lead to explosions. That is why we are very strict with our production processes, complying with quality standards specified by ISO 9001, AS/NZ 4801 and ISO 140001,” he says.
“We also take product traceability very seriously. Some of our customers expect precise traceability of the raw materials used in their gaskets in order to calculate the products’ shelf life accurately. We always keep well-organised records of all of our raw materials and their specifications in order to produce the required certificates when necessary,” he adds.
Technologies in gasket production have undergone an evolution in the past decades. For example, asbestos, once heavily used in manufacturing sheet gaskets, was eliminated completely due to its health hazards. Raj says Seal Innovations’ position as the exclusive licensee manufacturer and authorised distributor of Flexitallic Gaskets in Australia and PNG has enabled it to bring the latest gasket technologies to its customers.
“Flexitallic was the first company in the world that invented spiral wound gaskets nearly 110 years ago. They also developed the patented Thermiculite® material, which is a superior replacement to asbestos sheet seals compared to compressed fibre and tanged graphite sheets. As an exclusive licensee manufacturer for Flexitallic, we have introduced some of the most cutting-edge gasketing products in Australia, and we continue to support these with our in-house manufacturing capabilities,” says Raj.
“Apart from the Kammprofile machine and the automated compression packing cutter, Seal Innovation’s Eagle Farm facility is also equipped with spiral winding machines, laser cutters, water jet cutters, knife cutters, three machined metal lathes, a paint station and a welding bay,” he adds.
Plans for future growth
According to Raj, Seal Innovation has plans to expand its capabilities further in the near future to offer even more traceability and automation in its production process.
“We will soon be introducing innovative packaging with QR codes to facilitate even better traceability and access to product information for our customers. Further, Seal Innovations have just purchased a second laser, a laser etcher as well as an additional kammprofile machine and three additional spiral winding machines. A large investment displaying our strong commitment to manufacturing the highest of quality product in Australia efficiently and economically.” Raj concludes.
“This is how we aim to progress in the future: Building on the experience of our team and investing more in automation technologies to remain a leader in gasket manufacturing.”