Designing an engine sealing system – gaskets…

Gaskets – Engine Sealing Systems are a key component for automotive engines. They are highly technical and complex engine components that are used in many different forms and material compositions in modern combustion engines and assemblies.

The gaskets contribute to an efficient, safe and cost-effective engine running. Every gasket involves many specific functions, the most critical part of designing an engine gasket requires getting to know the engines and understand all the factors that are to play on the efficient running of the engine. The main objective of designing is not only to provide sealing for different engine functions, but also to minimize component deformation.

Attention to detail starts at the beginning of any gasket design with the first step of designing an engine. Mostly the design procedure consist of a few parameters: Operating temperature, Internal pressure, Dynamic behaviour, Number of fixing screws, plus a few details on the Materials used for the surrounding components, their surface finish, and their geometry. During the design phase, the design team considers factors such as automated assembly sequence in the engine assembly line or during servicing, and also the packaging aspects. Several recycling issues and clean separation of the materials are also factored in.

With the help of 3D computer aided design, the designs are stimulated to fit the desired engines in synergy with the geometrical data of the required cylinder head cover or the engine part in the specified data format. Complex designs of components as in the exhaust train, turbochargers, or special gaskets for high-pressure diesel fuel pumps – the suitable sealing is ensured by half beaded design or with full beaded design.

Adding FEA analysis in the design process helps provides various valuable details on component stiffness, distortion, and pressure distribution. With FEA analysis and its calculations during the design phase, all relevant functional parts and critical areas of the entire sealing system are examined in detail to ensure optimum gasket development. It is most essential for the development engineers to think and work in tandem with any engine development department.

For some specialized metal gaskets, the gasket contour needs to be cut with lasers, with the right tools in place the most complex beads need to be stamped with the embossing machines. Modern CNC-controlled measurement equipment are used to ensure optimum quality monitoring. It is of prime importance that the prototypes are of the same quality of the finally achieved gaskets as per the pre-defined parameters. Using the latest engine testing methods, extensive tests are conducted in the chemical and physical laboratories. Optimum performance has to be ensured the testing phase.

During the testing phase, manufacturing process is simulated using methods such as close-to series tooling enabling to test the final gaskets to be as close to its final manufactured state with a detailed test report and quality certificates for all the materials used. More than all an internal approach a sensitivity for ensuring product quality and environmental awareness is the most important aspect of designing a gasket.