Made on Demand: Gaskets
By: Joanna Carbajal
Ivaldi provides replacement parts on-demand for OEMs and equipment operators. The traditional supply chain is dependent on a centralized physical inventory and a distribution network. This results in a total cost of ownership that is often more than double the cost of the original part.
We are turning a hardware problem into a software and services solution. Through a unique selection, digitization, and documentation process, every Ivaldi part goes through a quality controlled, physical, and algorithmic verification process. All necessary documentation relating to the manufacturing, design, and overall performance requirements of each part are gathered in a performance envelope.
Our digital warehouse is made of thousands of parts. Gaskets are of high demand in the maritime industry as they are used as mechanical seals to prevent leaks between surfaces. Any system requires various gaskets, and they often need to be replaced.
Describe the part. How is it used? How is it currently manufactured?
Gaskets are mechanical seals used to prevent leaks between surfaces. They are designed and manufactured for specific applications and environment conditions. These can be manufactured by cutting from sheet stock or extruded and vulcanized. They are typically made from rubber both natural and synthetic.
What are some of the challenges in sourcing this part today?
The main challenges in sourcing these parts are due to lead time and increased shipping costs for an inexpensive part. As seals wear over time, they have a limited life and therefore need to be replaced during regular preventative maintenance. Most companies will spend more than three times the cost of the spare part on shipping or logistics alone. This also means you are limited to the physical inventory one particular supplier has. Certain gasket shapes and materials are more difficult to come by, which increases the cost or lead time.
How would this part benefit from a digital warehouse and manufacturing solution?
Digital manufacturing would allow vessels to procure gaskets of all shapes and sizes when they need them and would reduce the need for storage onboard the vessels. While vessels are in port, the crew has limited time and has to prioritize unloading and loading the ship and going through inspection. Therefore, they do not want to spend the little extra time they might have looking for specific spare parts. The cost of these parts are inexpensive. The crew thus purchases them when they need them instead of keeping a large stock. Rubber also degrades over time, so if a thorough inventory is not kept, you may be replacing a part with an even older version with limited performance.
What are some of the technical challenges in digitizing and manufacturing this part?
Gathering data on the cross-section of gaskets can be quite difficult. Complex areas of the gaskets are difficult to manufacture because support material affects the surface quality and is more complicated to clean. These parts are also difficult to manufacture with tight tolerances since post-processing is tricky. As of today, rubber is not commercially available for 3D printing. We are using “rubber-like” materials, but these materials are not the exact same as the original parts we are replacing. Because of this technology limitation, we are limiting ourselves on the type of gaskets we are manufacturing.
How do you see the future of additive manufacturing?
I see additive manufacturing used for mass customization in the future. It can be used to upgrade current systems or provide spare parts, which extends the lifetime of a system.
About Joanna Carbajal
Joanna has over two years of agile project management experience. She is a Certified ScrumMaster, and she uses her knowledge to manage all of Ivaldi’s projects by level of priority. She removes impediments, facilitates all meetings, trains employees on agile project management and ensures there is documentation at every stage. She is directly responsible for 3 employees and finds opportunity for growth.
Apart from being a Project Manager, Joanna is involved with all of Ivaldi’s marketing efforts including managing all of our social media platforms. Her previous marketing experience in consumer packaged goods, financial planning, power generation and heavy construction equipment.