Author Archives: Micro Tronics

  1. Could Your Application Benefit from Bonded Plate Seals?

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    Could Your Application Benefit from Bonded Plate Seals?

    Bonded Plate Seals

    The terms composite seals, plate seals, and bonded plate seals are often used to describe the same thing: a component made by chemically bonding an elastomer (rubber) to a metal plate in an optimum sealing geometry. 

    At Micro-Tronics, we offer in-house rubber-to-metal bonding services for metal components with a seal bead, such as seal plates. Typically, but not exclusively, we bond elastomers to machined aluminum to make bonded plate seals.

    Bonded plate seals are durable and long-lasting. They’re a great alternative to o-rings and gaskets. Are they right for your next project? 

    Bonded Plate Seals: An Alternative to O-Rings and Gaskets

    While plate seals serve the same purpose as o-rings and rubber gaskets, they are often a better alternative to both. Standard o-rings, which are practical in many mechanical applications, have to be handled carefully. Because they are simply set in place, o-rings can easily become dislodged or fall out during manufacturing or installation and become damaged causing leakage. Large o-rings are especially unwieldy—imagine trying to place an o-ring on an assembly with a 20-inch diameter! 

    Die-cut rubber gaskets are also risky: they can break down under extreme pressure or if a part experiences too much wear and/or fatigue. If you’re already going through the molding process to make a custom rubber gasket, why not reinforce the gasket and bond it to a metal component? 

    O-rings and gaskets are both more challenging to install than plate seals. Especially at scale, it’s time-consuming and difficult to set these components in place correctly. If they aren’t positioned properly, o-rings and rubber gaskets can get pinched and fail during use. And that means greater liability and more downtime during production or repair and overhaul.

    5 Design Considerations for Bonded Plate Seals

    Bonded plate seals offer more design flexibility than standard o-rings and gaskets. When you think about designing a bonded plate seal, consider these five factors:

    • Material selection. Instead of working with standardized materials, we can formulate elastomer products molded to your custom specifications
    • Customizable shape. Bonded plate seals aren’t restricted to circles of different sizes like o-rings. We can work with customized geometries, including odd shapes.
    • Sealing lip design. In some cases, the sealing surface of a bonded seal plate will look similar to an o-ring. However, we can incorporate features such as a double hump instead of the single hump o-rings provide. Applications that experience higher pressure may require a double hump design feature. Other designs include hemisphere, multilip, labrynth, wave, etc.
    • Mechanical locks. We recommend designing for mechanical locks when applicable for double sided seals. Mechanical locks are essentially webs that run through the metal to connect with and reinforce the bond to the elastomer. For dual-sided bonded plate seals, a mechanical lock provides a backstop for the adhesive, further securing the seal.
    • Seal bead customization. Seal beads must be extremely precise to control the flow of fluids and air within a part, and we can customize seal beads to your project’s unique specifications. We can apply double or even triple beads to meet your requirements. We can also add a depression on either side of the seal bead as needed, a capability that isn’t available for o-rings. 

    Micro-Tronics Makes Bonded Plate Seals In-House 

    Leveraging the principles of vertical integration, Micro-Tronics manufactures high-quality bonded plate seals quickly and cost-effectively.

    Our integrated team of experts can make your bonded seal plates entirely in-house. We’ll work with you on your design and material selection, machine the metal plates, and chemically bond them to the elastomer seals, all under one roof. 

    Part with burr

    Damaged part with burr

    To expedite production, we stock numerous metal and elastomer materials used by a variety of industries, including aerospace and defense. We can even run fluid compatibility tests to confirm your seals are an environmental match. 

    When possible, we prefer to own the entire manufacturing process to ensure bonded plate seals meet our stringent quality standards. Even tiny burrs can jeopardize the functionality of a bonded seal, and we’ve often run into challenges with machined parts that weren’t fully prepared for elastomer seals and assembly. This also accounts for stacked tolerances of metal and elastomer for final part dimensions.

    When we can machine the parts from scratch and own the entire process, we can deliver customers a higher quality product, more consistent outcomes, and a reliable lead time.

    If you’re interested in bonded plate seals for your next application, make sure you enlist an expert to guide you through the manufacturing process. Want to learn more about working with Micro-Tronics? Submit an RFQ to get started, and our team will respond promptly.

  2. Get CNC Machining and EDM Services under One Roof

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    Get CNC Machining and EDM Services under One Roof

    Have you ever needed a part that required both CNC machining and EDM services? 

    Many shops with CNC machining capabilities lack EDM expertise. When they’re working on a part that requires EDM services, they often contact EDM specialists like us to get the job done, adding another link in their customer’s supply chain. Thus increasing the cost and lead times.

    At Micro-Tronics, we’re proud to be a full service precision manufacturer that offers CNC machining and EDM services in-house. When you need both capabilities for your part, working with us allows you to consolidate your supply chain and get maximum value from a manufacturing partnership.

    4 Benefits of Working with a Supplier Who Has CNC Machining and EDM Services under One Roof

    1. Save time and money

    CNC Machining and EDM

    Vertical integration—combining multiple stages of the production process under one roof—saves valuable time and money. Consider these advantages:

    • You have one point of contact, at one shop, with one timeline 
    • You avoid paying double markup for services and overhead
    • You minimize transportation risks, which can delay lead times

    2. Expedite specialty parts 

    Engineers may hesitate to incorporate intricate features in their designs that need secondary operations like EDM. But we encourage you to exercise design freedom. With our diverse range of in-house services, we can bring your vision to life. 

    Recently we worked on a specialty part that required milling, turning, small hole EDM, sinker EDM, and wire EDM manufacturing. By combining our in-house capabilities, we were able to deliver a top-quality part quickly and cost-effectively. 

    3. Use hard materials

    EDM is capable of cutting hard materials that standard CNC machining tools can’t easily cut, such as rhenium and rhenium alloys, Inconel, and hardened stainless steel grades. Many customers come to us for rhenium machining – our proven process and 50+ years of EDM experience are more than equipped to handle this notoriously dense and heavy material. 

    EDM is also useful for cutting heat-treated materials that are common in the aerospace industry. When you work with us, we can mill or turn your part and then use EDM services to add features post-heat treating if necessary.

    4. Master intricate features

    Conventional machining processes aren’t always sufficient in achieving super tight tolerances and creating geometrically complex parts. 

    EDM manufacturing can cut features like square corners, blind pockets, high-aspect ratio holes, and hex-head patterns with extreme precision. Wire EDM is also a great alternative to a solution like broaching that can be time and cost-prohibitive. Wire EDM services require minimal tooling (sometimes none at all) which keeps costs and lead times manageable. 

    Not only can Micro-Tronics offer you CNC machining and EDM services, but our team can also provide sub-assembly and assembly services. Leveraging the principles of vertical integration positions us to be your full-service manufacturing shop. Request a quote to get started today. 

  3. 5 Benefits of In-House Custom Tooling for Rubber Molding

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    5 Benefits of In-House Custom Tooling for Rubber Molding 

    Did you know Micro-Tronics offers in-house custom tooling for rubber molding?

    Our motto is “precision from start to finish,” and it certainly applies to our custom molded rubber capabilities. We leverage our in-house expertise, state-of-the-art equipment, and efficient teamwork to not only manufacture your precision rubber components, but also to create the tooling required for rubber molding. 

    Custom Tooling for Rubber Molding: Our Proprietary Process

    Rubber molding turns uncured rubber (and other elastomer materials) into usable parts and products. It involves placing uncured rubber into a mold (or “tooling”) that is typically made from aluminum or stainless steel. Heat and pressure combine to cure, or vulcanize, the rubber into the final product.

    Custom tooling

    Many rubber molding manufacturers rely on outside vendors to supply the tooling for custom parts, but at Micro-Tronics, we keep the entire job in house. 

    Our dedicated tooling department employs a proprietary process to quickly and accurately create tooling for your rubber parts. While some molds require precision work with our EDM manufacturing services, CNC machining capabilities like milling and turning are the standard manufacturing methods for these projects. We have a specific site and dedicated machines for tooling work, so our tooling department is never competing with other customer projects. 

    Once the tooling is made and delivered to the production team, we can manufacture your custom molded rubber parts at our

     dedicated rubber molding facility.  

    Benefits of In-house Capabilities for Rubber Molding 

    How do our combined in-house capabilities benefit our customers? Here are five ways:

    1. Cost-Effectiveness

    Because we keep the entire job under one roof, using machines we own and materials with which we’re very familiar and have on hand, we don’t need to contract with  an outside molding vendor. That helps keep manufacturing, transportation, and shipping costs down.

    2. Efficiency

    Our dedicated tooling department can keep your project on track and even expedite production by strategically prioritizing and scheduling work on the shop floor. 

    In the past, we’ve been able to deliver parts to customers in a tight timeframe because we had everything we needed on-site—machines, materials, and experts—and we could adjust our schedule easily to meet the project’s deadline. We are not beholden to an outside vendor.

    3. Flexibility

    Making your tooling in-house allows us to be highly flexible when iterations are necessary. 

    Our fully integrated team can move quickly if a mold needs adjustments during the manufacturing process. We can give and incorporate rapid feedback and make tweaks in real-time since we’re all part of the same team. 

    The molder and production team are in constant communication, and all of our departments work together to ensure the parts are correct at every stage of production. 

    We’re also flexible about repairs and replacements. Tooling wears out over time, but we can be proactive about repairing it or making a new mold as needed.

    4. Design expertise  

    Creating the tooling for a rubber mold is a challenging process that requires breadth of knowledge about the part material.

    Rubber is viscous and can be difficult to work with depending on how it flows. It shrinks during the curing  process and is often reinforced with performance fabrics that can make achieving proper rubber flow challenging. . 

    Manufacturing a functioning mold is even more complicated when designing for parts with complex geometries, such as deep-draw rubber diaphragms—our specialty.

    Fortunately, our team has knowledge and experience with rubber and elastomer products and can design tooling for your molds to accommodate shrinkage, viscosity, and intricate geometries.

    5. Scalability

    If you’re scaling your product line and need to produce more parts quickly, we can leverage our multi-cavity tooling capability to help you meet demand. Instead of manufacturing one or two custom molded rubber parts at a time, we can make six, eight, or twelve per machine actuation to scale production.

    We know standard parts don’t always meet your needs, and our team of experienced molders and elastomer manufacturers is here to turn your vision into a reality. 

    If you’re seeking custom molded rubber parts such as diaphragms, gaskets, seals, solid rubber shapes, rubber-to-metal bonded seals, or other parts with unique specifications, we can help by making the tooling and manufacturing the part. 

    Let’s get started on your next project—request a quote today!

  4. 4 Reasons to Use Nomex® for Fabric-Reinforced Diaphragms

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    4 Reasons to Use Nomex® for Fabric-Reinforced Diaphragms

    At Micro-Tronics, we believe in precision from start to finish and deliver top-quality parts built to our customers’ stringent specifications. One highly specialized and niche offering we provide is producing fabric-reinforced elastomer diaphragms. 

    Fabric-reinforced diaphragms ensure the proper transfer of fluid or air. They are carefully designed and constructed barriers that separate one chamber from another in fluid or pneumatic systems (e.g., valves, pumps, meters, regulators, and other control devices).

    Superior parts require premium materials, which is why we use Nomex® to build fabric-reinforced diaphragms for our customers in the aerospace industry.

    Nomex® is a High-Performance Material for Top-Quality Parts

    Are you new to Nomex®? Made by Dupont, Nomex® is a meta-aramid fiber highly suited for applications across the aerospace, automobile, military, and defense industries, as well as first-responder uniforms and protective gear. 

    The proprietary chemical structure of Nomex® fibers delivers heat and flame protection, chemical resistance, electrical insulation, and incredible durability. Because Nomex® is a lightweight material that’s flame and corrosion resistant, it’s an ideal choice for our aerospace customers.

    Let’s look closer at 4 reasons why you’ll want Nomex® for your fabric-reinforced diaphragms.

    4 Reasons to use Nomex® for Fabric-Reinforced Diaphragms 

    1. Versatility.

    Nomex® is leveraged across industries to build coated industrial fabrics, aerospace fabrics, electrical insulation, hot-gas filter bags, protective clothing, and high-temperature hoses. Most of the diaphragms we make are used in pneumatic control valves in aerospace applications.

    2. Heat and cold resistance.

    Fabrics woven with Nomex® fibers have low flammability levels and don’t melt at high temperatures. While the material might look like nylon, nylon will melt at 489 degrees Fahrenheit—at which point Nomex® still has 60% of its original strength. Nomex® can tolerate temperatures up to an incredible 700 degrees Fahrenheit, and it can withstand extremely low temperatures, too. Nomex®’s heat and cold resistance are ideal for aerospace applications that must withstand extreme heat and cold.

    3. Chemical resistance.

    Parts made with Nomex® can stand up to most hydrocarbons and many other organic solvents. Nomex® also has acid resistant properties superior to those in woven nylon fabrics, and its fibers exhibit good resistance to alkalis at room temperature (though they do degrade at high temperatures).

    4. Radiation resistance.

    Nomex® can resist damage from X-rays and beta and gamma radiation much more successfully than a fabric like nylon. 

    If you’re creating a highly engineered, top-of-the-line, premium fabric-reinforced diaphragm, Nomex® is the material you need. It’s highly durable and genuinely the best choice for applications requiring heat, chemical, radiation resistance, and high strength.  

    Our team of experts can manufacture your high performance Nomex diaphragm. We deliver precision, high-quality parts on time and at a fair price. To get started making your fabric-reinforced diaphragms, request a quote today.

  5. Is EDM Right For Your Manufactured Parts?

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    Is EDM Right For Your Manufactured Parts?

    When English scientist Joseph Priestly first noticed how electrical sparks could cut through metal in 1770, he likely never imagined that Electrical Discharge Machining, or EDM, would become a mainstay in the manufacturing world.

    EDM is a non-contact machining method that creates an electrical current between a conductive workpiece and an electrically charged shape or wire composed of a brass, copper, graphite, or tungsten alloy. The spark generated by the electrical current erodes the material, and a non-conductive fluid, such as deionized water or oil, washes away any waste. 


    EDM first took off in the 1940s and gained popularity in the 1960s as capabilities increased. Still, most engineers are more familiar with CNC machining and consider EDM a non-conventional manufacturing process. EDM has a reputation for being slower and more expensive than CNC machining.

    However, EDM manufacturing has advanced significantly in recent years, improving cost and efficiency and minimizing recast issues that were previously a concern. 

    What makes a project a good candidate for EDM services? Here’s everything you need to know. 

    Top 4 Factors for Choosing EDM

    1. Geometric requirements

    With EDM, it’s possible to cut precision keyways, hexes, internal splines, shaft pockets and slots, and other unique features without making custom (i.e., expensive and time-consuming) broaches. There are times when only EDM can produce the specific, complex geometric shapes that a part requires.

    Need to cut through curved or angled surfaces? No problem—EDM can navigate virtually any contour, and Micro-Tronics’ talented team members manage varying tapers with exceptional precision. EDM can also handle fragile and thin sections because the wire electrodes never actually contact the workpiece.

    2. Hardened materials

    EDM is an excellent choice when making parts from very hard materials such as tool steel. 

    These materials are difficult to cut using traditional machining methods. They cause significant tooling wear, yielding low-accuracy results and rough finishes. 

    Since EDM uses electrical current, the risks of tooling wear is eliminated entirely. It’s possible to cut through many hard, conductive materials with precision, ease, and speed.

    3. Delicate features and fine finishes

    Intricate designs are easier to render with EDM manufacturing than CNC machining. If your project has delicate features, EDM’s non-contact process eliminates cutting stress and mechanical distortion, resulting in a superior quality part.

    EDM also produces exceptional finish quality. Mirror-like finishes are possible with this process, and with no secondary polishing operations required, customers can save time and money.

    4. Quick turnaround 

    EDM is a great choice if time is of the essence. Since it’s usually a toolless solution requiring minimal setup and programming, we can get your project up and running quickly. 

    At Micro-Tronics, we’ll also help you optimize lead times with quick quoting and leverage our in-house tool room for rapid specialty fixturing and electrodes.

    Now that you know the benefits and capabilities of EDM manufacturing, it’s essential to understand the types of EDM services available. 

    The 3 Types of EDM Services

    1. Wire EDM

    In wire EDM, the electrode is brass wire. Think of it as a “super-precision band saw” that can make through-hole parts. Wire EDM is consistently reliable and can produce burr-free, perfectly straight parts. While a traditional drill can drift, wire EDM doesn’t waver. It’s a great alternative to broaching for short timelines or small-to-medium volume runs.

    At Micro-Tronics, we pride ourselves on our rotary wire EDM services. We can make a wide variety of precise, complex shapes—economically and efficiently—through the “turn and burn” technique. We use the same machine to burn one side of the workpiece, then turn it and burn the next side without changing out the workpiece. This streamlined process saves our customers time and money.

    2.  Sinker EDM

    Sinker EDM traditionally uses a graphite or copper electrode. The electrode itself is made into a specific shape which is then burned into the workpiece to create the part.  

    Primarily used to produce blind cavities, Sinker EDM can create internal splines and keyways with no through-holes.  

    Sinker EDM is the solution when the job requires sharp corners, intricate details, fine finishes, and the machining of undercut surfaces. It’s also ideal for hardened materials, and its non-contact method combined with low-pressure flushing makes it perfect for thin and delicate parts.

    3. Small hole EDM

    If your part requires a deep, tiny hole, you’ll need small hole EDM services. Small hole EDM can manage minuscule diameters (.007” – .25”) and achieve high aspect ratios while cutting perfectly straight into the workpiece. Meeting these dimensional requirements would likely cause CNC machining tools to break or shatter.

    Small hole EDM is fast, accurate, and can handle curves and angles. Small hole EDM also eliminates the need to deburr drilled holes post-machining. 

    What About Recast?

    One last EDM consideration is the issue of recast. If you’ve used EDM services in the past, you may have run into this problem.

    Recast is a thin layer of molten material that can land on top of the workpiece when sparks create a heat-affected zone. It’s undesirable and can make the surface brittle. 

    Working with an expert EDM manufacturer will mitigate this issue. At Micro-Tronics, our state-of-the-art anti-electrolysis power supplies and manufacturing techniques can reduce the recast layer to as little as 2.5μm (0.000098”): essentially zero. We remove the recast layer with processes like extrude honing, lapping, and electropolishing—leaving no cracks. 

    EDM is a great option when projects require delicate details, complex geometric shapes, and tiny, deep holes. If you’re curious about using EDM for your part, we’re happy to help you identify the process that’s best for your project. 

    We have 50+ years of experience delivering large quantities of EDM manufactured products—we’d be thrilled to partner with you on yours. To get started, request a quote today. 

  6. Choosing the Right Elastomer for Your Project

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    Choosing the Right Elastomer for Your Project


    Elastomer products are everywhere in our modern lives—from the soles of our shoes to the critical sealing surfaces on the aircraft you fly on, elastomers (sometimes referred to as rubber) make the world go round. 

    But despite the prevalence of this viscoelastic polymer, information about it is difficult to find. There are many elastomers to choose from—each with unique properties and price points—which complicates matters even further. Engineers who are new to designing elastomer products may have a hard time making an informed decision about which elastomer to use.

    For instance, if you’re designing a component for an aircraft that flies through sub-zero temperatures but also sits on hot tarmacs in the sun, you’ll need an elastomer for your custom molded rubber seals that can withstand extreme temperatures. If you’re designing a part for a fuel or hydraulic system, you’ll need an oil and fuel resistant elastomer. 

    Even material stiffness varies significantly. Elastomer materials can be stiff and strong like bowling balls, while others are soft and flexible, with a texture more like chewing gum. 

    To help make material selection easier, our team of experts at Micro-Tronics created a resource guide spotlighting 20 common elastomers. Learn the thermal properties, environmental and fluid resistances, and tensile strengths of each one.

    Elastomer Spotlight: Silicone, Nitrile, and Fluoroelastomer

    Silicone: Taking on Extreme Temperatures


    If you’re designing a rubber part that will need to withstand extreme temperatures, silicone could be the best option. With a temperature range spanning -120 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, silicone is great for aerospace parts and transportation vehicles that most function in intense climates. 

    Silicone has outstanding environmental and water resistant properties, and it’s capable of sustaining exposure to UV rays and inclement weather. This material can even handle deep sub-zero temperatures without becoming brittle and breaking. But if you’re on a tight budget, know that silicone isn’t the cheapest option. 

    Nitrile: Outstanding Oil, Fluid, and Wear Resistance 


    If you’re familiar with elastomers, you might know nitrile as NBR or Buna N.

    Today nitrile is commonly used in the transportation and automotive industries because of its outstanding oil, fluid, and wear-resistant properties. Nitrile is particularly good at resisting petroleum-based oils, making it a prime candidate for seals in cars. 

    This material can stand up to industrial applications and it’s more economical than silicone. Keep in mind, however, that the more specialized your project, the more material can get more expensive as the requirements increase. For example, if you need a hydrogenated nitrile that can sustain a wider range of temperatures and has better wear capabilities, your cost may increase upwards into the range of some silicones.

    Fluoroelastomer: An Evolved Product for High-Performance Builds


    Fluoroelastomer serves many of the same needs as nitrile, but it’s an evolved product and can sustain much higher temperatures. Where nitrile tops out at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, fluoroelastomer can withstand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also survive in cold climates with brittle points down to  -40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

    This oil- and fuel-resistant material is ideal for high-performance engines in automobiles and a great choice for aerospace product designs. One thing engineers love about fluoroelastomer is that it can be tailored to suit application requirements. We often recommend specialty variants of fluoroelastomer for aerospace customers who need additional low-temperature properties. 

    Whatever you’re creating, there’s an elastomer that will fit your specifications. With 35+ years of experience working with elastomers, our team at Micro-Tronics can help your team identify the best custom molded rubber for your application. 

    To get started, download our guide to see which material will best fit your needs. When you’re ready to request a quote, our experts will be here, ready to help you bring your elastomer product to life.