At CRG, we use a wide range of elastomers to manufacture gaskets and other custom fabricated products for our customers. While we always use high-quality elastomers supplied by leading material providers, these materials do vary in cost. These variances are attributable to a number of factors, including:
- Material formulation. As a rule of thumb, elastomers with simple formulations cost less than those that use more ingredients. Ingredients may also be subject to market volatility in their pricing, thereby affecting the final product price.
- Material production. Similar to the above, some elastomers require a more involved and lengthier production process. Costs for these materials are correspondingly higher.
- Material quality. While CRG only works with leading material suppliers with a proven track record for quality, other vendors may source product from low-cost suppliers whose quality is questionable. Quality materials may cost a little more, but the small additional cost is easily recouped over the longer life-cycle of the final product.
- Material availability. Leading material producers have manufacturing facilities located around the world. Consequently, some material formulations must be imported, with additional costs related to freight and transportation, as well as currency exchange differentials.
- R&D effort. New elastomers which address performance deficiencies in materials currently available are always being developed. When a new elastomer is developed and launched, it may be priced higher, both to recoup R&D costs and because it offers greater value and benefit over previous-generation materials.
- Proprietary versus generic formulations. As with drugs, some material formulations are protected by patent and only available from a single source of supply. In these case, the sole supplier may exercise some monopoly power and command a higher price for their product.
In selecting a gasket material, primary consideration should always be given to a material’s ability to service the application needs, with cost being a secondary consideration. Given that any two materials can service an application equally well, it then makes sense to choose the less expensive material. However, fitness for purpose should never be traded-off for cost savings when selecting gasket materials.
While market rates for gasket materials do exhibit fluctuation from time to time, the following may be used for general guidance on the relative costs of commonly used elastomers, with materials ranked from the more expensive to the less expensive:
- Fluorelastomers (FKM or Viton®)
- Silicone rubbers
- Urethane rubbers
- Nitrile rubbers
- Neoprene rubbers
- EPDM rubbers
- Natural rubbers
- Styrene-butadiene (SBR) rubbers
AT CRG, we maintain an extensive inventory of elastomers and other gasket materials. Through our global supply chain, we partner with leading producers to offer our customers the widest selection and grades of materials possible. If you are sourcing gasket materials, or finished gaskets and custom fabricated products, contact our sales department at email@example.com to find out how we can service your needs.