Derek Eversdyke, Director of Sales and Marketing and Ron Brush, Director of Product Development, Ames RubberDerek Eversdyke, Director of Sales and Marketing and Ron Brush, Director of Product Development
Since the Wright Brothers invented and flew the first aircraft over a century ago, the aerospace industry has continuously evolved, both with respect to its applications in military and commercial sectors as well as production design. A key transition witnessed across the aerospace industry's long journey is the shifts in materials used to manufacture critical components of an aircraft. Initially, aerospace manufacturers utilized metal alloys of aluminum and titanium to produce most aircraft components. Over the years, however, as new structural aircraft materials were developed, manufacturers switched to the significantly lighter and structurally superior composite materials in aerospace production lines both in airframes as well as propulsion units, significantly reducing weight.
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Subsequently, the aerospace sector started recognizing the shortfalls of composite materials as well. For instance, composite components have limited resistance to foreign objects and debris (FOD).Abrasion and erosion resistance to objects,water andice limit their life as compared to their metallic counterparts.In response to this shortfall, erosion resistant coatings were developed. As these coating evolved, they were also targeted to address another major concern in flight, ice formation. Ice phobic coatings can provide the ability of a critical flight surface to repel water &ice or prevent ice formation. The effortattempts to address the chemical, dynamic and morphological conditions may improve icephobicity of the surface. Current methodologies to address this problem involve active de-icing systems that bring with them unwanted maintenance and operational costs.Further, theutilization of glycol-based anti-icing spraying on runways can pose severe adverse environmental effects from runoff at airports.As such the FAA has presented a plan to phase out their use over the next few years.So the need for these passive de-icing coatings to replace and/or supplement the existing energy-intensive de-icing deployments and well as a friendly environmental alternative is even more critical to the needs of the aerospace market. This technology can also be applicable and leveraged into other market segment that struggle with similar issues.

Bridging this gap with its over 70-year expertise in the industrial rubber space and comprehensive portfolio of high-performance elastomeric solutions is New Jersey-based Ames Rubber Corporation. Since its inception in 1949, the company has developed major manufacturing and laboratory capabilities, which it blends with its knowledge of elastomeric materials and process know-how to deliver unmatched customer value. This unique combination of material innovation, manufacturing excellence, and industry expertise helped Ames build its presence in multiple markets including aerospace, medical devices, office automation, and military respirator, among others. "With our engineering, manufacturing, and laboratorycapabilities, we provide an end-to-end customer experience where we take care of everything, from the initial ideation of a component to its design, coating, and large-scale production," says Derek Eversdyke, Director of Sales & Marketing at Ames.

The company's portfolio comprises a breadth of high-performing fluoroelastomers, fluoro-siliconeand silicone-based polymers with varying characteristics that can be customized to meet specific client needs.

The ability to leverage the extensive understanding of component manufacturing and elastomeric coating aids us in developing products that accurately meet the robustness and longevity requirements of our varied clientele

Ames' is unique in its portfolio of coating materials and application methodologies and is backed by its dedicated manufacturing arm, which has state-of-the-art capabilities such as injection molding, liquid silicone injection molding, compression/transfer molding, elastomeric spraying, cryogenic deflashing trimming, as well as several completely automated processes that enable the seamless and effective application of high performance elastomeric materials. Providing even greater technological solutions is our proven track record in the ability to provide those materials in multi-layered construction. Thisprovides the best attributes of a combination of materials, where one alone would not work.The company also has next-generation compound testing equipmentthat it leverages to assess the characteristics of its in-house library of compounds as well as third-party materials. "We have a rubber process analyzer that really keeps our suppliers in check and allows us to track quality and performance trends over time to eliminate bad batches and enhance supplier deliveries," states Eversdyke. From a coating perspective, Ames boasts highly controlled elastomeric spray coating capabilities utilizing the most current advancements in spray processing technologies. They employconventional, high volume-low pressure(HVLP), airless/air-assist, airless, all of which can be performed using anelectrostatic process. "We can develop coatings with a blend of characteristics such as better abrasion, erosion, temperature, and permeation resistance while accurately controlling the thickness of the spray across very convoluted geometry," states Ron Brush, Director of Product Development at Ames.

Further discussing the core competencies of Ames, Brush mentions, "The ability to leverage the extensive understanding of rubber component manufacturing and elastomeric coating aids us in developing products that accurately meet the robustness and longevity requirements of our varied clientele." Another key facet in Ames' success is the novel approaches it takes to elastomeric coating applications, making it significantly cost-effective, efficient, and eco-friendly without compromising on the performance.

With such unparalleled capabilities, Ames has ignited several success stories over its long journey in the coating space. In multiple instances, the company has developed temperature-resistant elastomeric coatings for propulsion units that experience significant temperature swings (-40°C to 400°C). "In such projects, there have been cases where we've come in and suggested a better alternative with better anti-erosion and icephobicity characteristics for our clients," adds Brush. Similarly, Ames has also collaborated with office automation giant, Xerox, to develop fuser rollers with high-temperature resistance that enabled uninterrupted printing processes and enhanced printing performance.

Today, Ames is AS9100 D registered company with several long-term projects with leading military and commercial aerospace manufacturers. They have current capability work within the DoD security framework for our military clients.Looking ahead, the company plans to strengthen its footprint to better service the aerospace manufacturing hubs across the U.S. "We will continue to expand our material library, as well as manufacturing and laboratory prowess to help more clients in transforming their ideas into a real product in a fast and validated manner," concludes Brush.