We have discussed the importance of developing “partner” relationships along the supply chain (Collaborative Alliances) and working in a “seamless” way (Seamless Integration) both inside Elite and with outside companies so that the application solution is delivered in the most efficient and complete manner. Now we need to present the third and most critical facet of the Elite business model, Compounding Competence.
Elite defines Compounding Competence as the process by which an optimal elastomeric solution is determined. It is the road map that is followed to arrive at the non-metallic material that best fulfills that application’s requirements. No matter how efficiently a company can maneuver a product to market it is all ineffective unless the appropriate care is taken to determine the right material solution for that application. Like all good Applicative Compounders, we at Elite ask questions. The three following questions cover the macro areas that need to be addressed as a compound is developed. These can easily be remembered by the “Three E’s”; Environment, Engineering and Elemental Components.
What kind of Environment does the application have?
It is important to know where the non-metallic material is being used and what conditions it will be subjected. Such conditions may include the fluids (oil, water, fuels, acids, bases, etc.) in which the material will be required to function, the temperature at which the material will be asked to perform and the forces (is it a static or dynamic application) which the material has acting upon it.
What Engineering function will the material perform?
Will the material be asked to seal? How so? Is an o-ring application, a gasket in a flange or maybe a packer sealing the annulus of an oilwell? The material may be require to insulate either electrically or even from heat transfer. The material may need to withstand abrasive environments or convey fluids such as gasoline, oil, acids, etc.
What Elemental Components are needed to formulate the material?
Lastly after knowing what environment the material is to reside in and what the material is being asked to accomplish one can now select the appropriate raw materials that will be compounded into that non-metallic material to form a homogeneous material that is optimized for its unique application. This is where the applicative compounder applies their rubber chemistry knowledge to select the right components that when mixed in the appropriate way yield a resulting material that is suited for the applications environment and also optimized for the engineering function it is designed to perform.