From A to Z
The industries we serve are as manifold as the possible applications of synthetic polymers in industrial processes. Due to our origins in sealing technology, the fluid technology and heating and sanitary industries are just as much a part of our industry focus as automotive suppliers and OEMs.
In addition, meanwhile our customers come from almost all sectors in which elastic polymer components are used.
Especially for the automotive industry and its suppliers, Elastomer Institut Richter offers conformity tests according to OEM specifications. For customers from the automotive industry, we test elastomers according to the corresponding automotive specifications of the OEMs (Daimler, BMW, PSA, VW, Porsche…) or according to independent standards (ECE, DIN, ISO…). Find here some examples of OEM test specifications we work to:
Overview of OEM specifications
Thanks to our accreditation, our test results are recognised by most companies. Our test laboratory is recommended to suppliers and partly also mandatory. We provide material approvals based on our test results.
Elastomers in the Automotive Industry - What matters
In the automotive sector, besides high and low temperatures, the different media used in vehicles are of great importance. Therefore, the majority of tests deal with the resistance of elastomers to the various fluids.
Typical Automotive Fluids and Gases
In accordance with the requirements of the automotive manufacturers, we test the chemical resistance of elastomers in typical automotive fluids by means of storage tests with and without the effect of temperature. These include tests in fuels or brake fluids, refrigerants, cooling water or oils.
Oils and Oil Compatibility
Tests in engine and transmission oils are one of our focuses. Bosch Rexroth Fluidrating, that is, testing the compatibility of elastomers according to Bosch Rexroth specifications for numerous oil and additive manufacturers, has been an elementary part of our service for several years. We use the compatibility tests to qualify new or modified oils that have been adapted to the increasing requirements of users using different additives. In addition, we reveal whether the application of new materials with improved chemical resistance is necessary.
We also test materials in worst-case used oils and, if necessary, coordinate the test conditions for this directly with the OEMs.
Especially in internal combustion engines that have short running cycles, an aggressive mixing of blow-by gases with the engine oil can occur. This results in a harmful mixture of exhaust gases, oil, unburnt fuel and water.
Such aggressive gas mixtures can seriously attack seals or hoses and lead to damage or failure of the products. To avoid this, we test materials according to the standards of the OEMs for their resistance to blow-by gases of different compositions and mix the gases for this purpose according to their specifications.
For further information on the resistance testing of elastomer materials in gear and engine oils, please refer to the following technical report:
Evaluation of compatibility tests on elastomers with gear and engine oils with regard to the functional behaviour of rotary shaft seals (German)
The authors explain the physical and chemical reaction mechanisms that take place between oil and elastomer. Using the example of the functional behaviour of rotary shaft seals, they clearly explain the different compatibility tests and possible interpretation of test results.
Numerous elastomer components can be found in the various working machines, machine tools, conveyor systems and other areas of mechanical engineering.
Regardless of whether they are used as seals, diaphragms, bellows, hoses or dampers, we support you with our expertise, many years of experience and extensive testing technology
You can rely on our professional support from the start of development through application to the qualification of new suppliers or failure analysis.
In case of damage, we determine the causes and define suitable remedial measures. Thanks to our neutrality and independence, our results are also recognised by third parties involved.
With our numerous seminars, we also offer you the opportunity to acquire knowledge about elastomer materials, elastomer production, seals and failure analysis.
Rubber parts used in agricultural and forestry equipment, in stationary or mobile agricultural machinery, are often exposed to high mechanical demands. Vibrations, contamination and generally harsh working conditions are just some of the factors that affect the service life of elastomers.
Naturally, the principle that an elastomer material should be optimally adapted to the operating conditions also applies to agricultural technology. The elastomer components must be configured for the media and temperatures, and the extraordinary mechanical demands must also be taken into account.
We also provide support with our knowledge and special material tests for components and materials that are subject to particularly high mechanical load.
Especially in chemical and process engineering, the media and temperatures are most important when dealing with plastics and elastomers. While fuels, coolants and oils are more used in the automotive industry, very aggressive liquids and gases are commonly used in chemical applications. In addition to the temperature load, this results in high demands on the used materials. Therefore, tests of the media resistance and thermal capability of the materials are often the key issues in this sector.
We test elastomers for demanding applications and help to find solutions for your special applications.
With the help of immersion tests, we examine the compatibility of the materials in the media of relevance. In this manner, we determine which materials are suitable for your application or why an elastomer component has failed.
Learn more about the use of elastomers in demanding chemical media and about possible cases of damage due to chemical attack:
Chemical attack and swelling - degradation of the network structure by a contact medium
In the technical report, Bernhard Richter and Ulrich Blobner explain the causes and effects of chemical attacks and swelling, show the typical damage patterns and give tips on how to avoid media-related damage.
The change in the automotive industry towards electric vehicles is also leaving its mark on polymer components. Rubber products have an impact on the weight, rolling resistance, range, damping and acoustics of an electric car. Some of the typical rubber products for conventional engines must therefore be adapted or are no longer necessary for electric power systems.
Low weight, vibration behaviour, fire protection and the electrical properties of the materials now become more important for the design of rubber products. New components for e-cars are often more filigree than in conventional drives and the number of components made of silicones and thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) is increasing.
Battery and cooling technology for electric vehicles also result in special requirements for the materials. For example in terms of coolant resistance at high temperatures and the required service life.
Material expertise for e-suitable solutions
We support you in the qualification of new products and materials. Material tests, ageing tests, resistance tests and service life curves according to Arrhenius help to evaluate and ensure the suitability of elastomers for the application conditions.
Specific contact and surface resistances give information about the performance of the components in the electrical environment. We measure in accordance with national or international standards, subject-specific standards and company regulations. For example, we work according to DIN ISO IEC 60093, DIN 50918, ASTM D 4496, ASTM D257, DBL 5527 or SAE J 1645.
With our special LNP® measuring technology, we are also able to perform mechanical tests directly on filigree finished parts, determine their hardness and draw conclusions about the degree of material cross-linking.
Besides metals, plastics are the second largest group of materials in the electrical industry and electronics. Also various elastomers and thermoplastic elastomers (TPU) are quite interesting for the application in these areas.
Specific contact and surface resistances provide information about the performance of the components in the electrical environment. We measure according to national or international standards, subject-specific standards and company regulations. For example, we work according to DIN ISO IEC 60093, DIN 50918, ASTM D 4496, ASTM D257, DBL 5527 or SAE J 1645.
Connectors, Enclosures and Components for Outdoor Applications
We qualify and check the design of O-rings or moulded seals for connectors or electronic housings.
Cable sheathings or seals for outdoor use are exposed to environmental influences that can accelerate their ageing. Therefore, ozone tests for these components are an important part of our services.
When Substances release from Rubber
Particularly in semiconductor technology and electronics, substances that may outgas from elastomers often have a negative effect. Advanced analytics help to track them down. By means of pyrolysis gas chromatography (pyrolysis GC-MS) with thermodesorption, we are able to determine any outgassing substances. Thus, the risks of outgassing can be assessed.
Since the company was founded in 1996, elastomers in contact with a wide variety of media have been our most important field of activity. Fluid technology, powertrain engineering and sealing technology are part of our core competencies due to our history.
Wherever rubber products are exposed to liquid or gaseous substances, we support you with our expertise.
We deal with numerous different sealing elements in our daily work. In addition to standard seals such as the O-ring, historically one of the most common seals in our laboratory, we deal with static and dynamic seals, rotary seals and moulded parts of all kinds.
Testing and Advice from the very Beginning
As early as the product development stage, we answer your questions about the basic properties of selected elastomer compounds, test the behaviour of the materials in heat or cold or in numerous media, and check their resistance to ageing.
In addition, we use our years of expertise to investigate the long-term behaviour of sealing elements and for service life estimates. Thus, we also help you to do long-term planning for new projects and to optimally design products. With the help of our state-of-the-art analytics, we are able to determine polymers and ingredients and evaluate complete formulations.
Failure analysis is one of our specialities. We analyse possible returns and failures and support you thoroughly in determining the causes and preventing further damage.
Standard Parts in Sealing Technology
Especially for sealing technology, Elastomer Institut Richter offers conformity tests for O-rings according to ISO 3601-5, Table 2 and formulations according to Tables 3 to 9. We perform tests on both test plates and O-rings.
For more information on O-rings and the testing options for sealing and fluid technology, please refer to our technical reports:
The O-Ring as Standardized Rubber Component
With the new ISO 3601, Part 5 (O-ring materials), the O-ring has finally become a standard part. Whereas previously only the dimensions (Part 1) and the permissible surface deviations (Part 3) were standardised, the new edition of the international standard also contains specifications for the formulation and the degree of vulcanisation of O-rings (hardness and compression set). This report explains the individual parts of this O-ring standard and, in particular, shows why the new Part 5 is important for users.
State of the Art for O-Rings
Users of O-rings should always rely on the state of the art when using the seals and specify the seals sufficiently. In this technical report, Bernhard Richter presents the current state of the art for o-rings.
Particularly for manufacturers of plastics and elastomer products, we are a valuable partner. We provide support in the qualification and assessment of your products and mediate with our expertise in the event of failure. Tests in accordance with manufacturers’ standards from different industries are just as much a part of our services as analyses in accordance with independent standards.
We are also happy to take over the testing of materials in the event of any bottlenecks in your own laboratory. Thanks to our extensive laboratory equipment, we have the necessary capacity to relieve you. Our results as an independent, accredited testing laboratory are highly recognised, which also allows you to avoid possible duplicate testing and shorten development times.
Micro-Components and filigree Sructures
With our special LNR® measuring technology, we are also able to mechanically test your micro-components. Even with very filigree structures and composite parts, it is possible to determine the micro-hardness of the material and the degree of cross-linking reliably using the new measuring technology.
Professional development for your Employees
In numerous seminars, we make our expertise available for the training and further education of your employees. We provide basic knowledge on elastomer materials and the quality of elastomer products for beginners and enhance this knowledge in expert seminars for participants with corresponding previous knowledge. Our training courses are also used to refresh existing basic skills.
Intensive seminars on failure analysis and special sealing knowledge complete our seminar programme. Please take a look for yourself.
The demands on materials for food contact are particularly high. In addition to the food and beverages that are produced, processed and filled, hygienic design, hygiene standards, cleaning agents and sterilisation processes also play a major role for elastomer components.
During operation, the materials must neither release substances in harmful quantities to the food, nor be impaired by the sometimes aggressive cleaning media during cleaning. In order to comply with hygiene standards, equipment in the food and beverage industry is cleaned and sterilised in CIP and SIP processes (Cleaning In Place/Sterilisation In Place). System components that are exposed to the necessary media must also withstand these substances, some of which are aggressive, or steam sterilisation.
The challenge of foodstuffs
The impact of food and beverages on elastomer materials in direct contact cannot be neglected. If the products and additives contained in the food, for example flavourings or enzymes, attack the material, this can not only damage the elastomer material but also lead to increased migration of material ingredients into the food. Even low swelling rates of the elastomer in the food can be problematic. The scope for volume increase of elastomer seals is very small, as special sealing grooves are usually designed very tight for hygienic reasons.
Compatibility tests, also in foodstuffs, therefore make perfect sense before the application of elastomer seals or other rubber components. They provide information about the resistance of the materials in food and allow to determine their swelling rates.
3-A Sanitary and Global Migration in accordance with FDA or BfR
The testing in accordance with 3-A Sanitary Standards is often required by users as a supplement to FDA 21 CFR 177.2600 conformity in order to ensure the resistance of the sealing materials to disinfectants and cleaning agents.
We carry out compliance tests based on 3-A Sanitary Standards and determine the global migration of the materials in accordance with the guidelines of FDA 21 CFR 177.2600 or with BfR Recommendation XXI for consumer goods made of elastomers in contact with foodstuffs.
Of course, we also test the materials with regard to your individual requirements and in your media and provide comprehensive advice for the application of elastomers around food and beverages.
Elastomer components that are used in medical or pharmaceutical technology face particularly high demands. Depending on the application and proximity to the human body and its organs, the materials must pass different tests. Among other things, there are specifications for biocompatibility, cytotoxicity and approvals according to various guidelines and standards.
Once materials have been approved for application on or in the human body, strict attention must be paid to formulation consistency. Even small changes in elastomer production, which have no effect in other industries, can cause a system to falter in medical and pharmaceutical technology.
This is where we can support you with our expertise and analytical testing methods to ensure the consistency of the used elastomer compounds.
Detecting Changes with High-Quality Analysis - TGA and FTIR
Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and infrared spectroscopy (IR or FTIR) allow us to test formulations and determine the ingredients of an elastomer compound.
Detecting changes with High-Quality Analysis - GC-MS
Pyrolysis gas chromatography with mass spectroscopy coupling (GC-MS) gives a deeper insight into the composition of elastomers. It is an analytical method that can be used to characterise almost all materials on very small sample quantities without prior sample preparation. It provides information about the type of plastics, the composition of materials, the additives or foreign substances contained.
In sanitary and heating technology, drinking water, effluents, gases and sometimes increased temperatures are at the centre of the application requirements for elastomer components. Combined with possible residues in the water, possible ion contamination from copper pipes or valid hygiene regulations, the requirements in this area of application are also a great challenge for elastomer materials.
Since 2009, we have been a DVGW-approved testing laboratory for conformity tests in accordance with the standards DIN EN 549, DIN EN 681-1 and DIN EN 682. These technical regulations of the DVGW guarantee the reliability and safety of gas and water supply in Germany.
In addition to material testing in compliance with DVGW specifications, we naturally also test in accordance with internal standards and advise you on all aspects of the application of elastomers in sanitary and heating technology or in potable water applications.
For more information on the application of elastomer seals in water, please refer to the following technical report:
O-rings in hot water and steam - a problem for many users (German)
Hardly any other operating medium causes more problems for O-rings than water and steam or their combinations. Especially at higher temperatures, users are often confronted with premature seal failure. Learn more in the report about typical damage patterns, influencing factors and suitable materials for warm and hot water applications (German edition).