What is an FIP Gasket?
A form-in-place gasket is created by dispensing a liquid gasket onto a metal or plastic part before assembly. Because it is dispensed as a liquid, it fits precisely to the part’s form, regardless of housing imperfections. This results in a reliable seal and durable finished product.
FIP gaskets are dispensed using CNC machines. The process is so precise that surfaces less than one millimeter wide can still receive FIP gasket application. FIP gaskets are a cost-effective, accurate, and easy sealant solution, particularly in cases where a very small, narrow or complex gasket is required.
Best Uses for FIP Gaskets
Form-in-place gaskets are used in virtually every industry due to their precision, and durability.
FIP is most commonly selected for applications like:
- EMI shielding for electronics
- Environmental sealing for dust or water protection
- Sealing for adhesive reasons to make assembly simpler
Some examples of specific industries and the FIP gasket applications they might require include:
- Electronics: electronic enclosures, GPS systems, satellite communication, semiconductors
- Medical devices: ventilators, oxygenators, heart pumps, dialysis machines
- Defense and military: radar, missile guidance, GPS systems
- Communications: WiFi routers, cellular devices, cellphone stations
- Aerospace: drones, airplane seats, airport ground equipment, flight instrumentation
- Mass transportation: mechanical equipment, seating, accessory components
FIP gasketing provides a highly reliable seal that will stay resistant to freezing, heat, UV, corrosion, and more. Not only is the gasket durable, but it is flexible and can be used on even the most complex of parts.
Advantages of FIP Gaskets
Some of the most important advantages of using form-in-place gaskets are their adaptability across a wide variety of conditions and the ability to produce intricate details. It is possible to dispense large or small gaskets.
Another important benefit is the install speed that FIP allows. Once a FIP gasket is dispensed, there is no additional work to assemble the product. It creates a turnkey solution that is ready for use, when compared to other gasket production methods.
Keep in mind that with such a precise process, there is a huge learning curve to gasket dispensing. It is as much of an art-form as it is a science, so selecting a dispensing partner who has honed the craft is very important.
History of FIP Gaskets
In the 1970s, the first liquid gaskets were manufactured by Shin-Etsu Chemical Company. Made out of room-temperature-vulcanizing (RTV sealant) silicone, Japanese manufacturers used these gaskets to seal engines. Later, ThreeBond International began to supply form-in-place gaskets to Japanese manufacturers.
FIP gaskets quickly caught on in a variety of industries for their precision and ease of use. Because manufacturers no longer had to cut solid gaskets out of material, there was also less wasted material. Today, FIP gaskets are standard for numerous machines and equipment.
As fields like 3D printing and defense sectors use increasingly sophisticated (and delicate) devices, gaskets made with robotic precision are in higher demand. In 2018, the global gaskets and seals market size was about $574.B and is expected to grow by at least 3.7% by 2025. FIP gasket manufacturing is improving and adapting alongside the innovative technology it supports.