Ames Rubber serves customers in the aerospace, medical, defense, and office automation markets
July 25, 2022
HAMBURG, N.J.—For more than seven decades, Ames Rubber Corporation has built a reputation as a reliable, high-quality manufacturer of elastomeric moldings, dispensed gaskets, and insert molded components. Today, Ames Rubber continues to provide expert development and contract manufacturing services to customers primarily in the aerospace, medical device, military respirator, and office automation industries.
One capability that sets Ames Rubber apart from many other rubber molders, however, is its ability to create customized, elastomeric spray coatings and apply them to mission-critical components that operate in extreme environments. The manufacturer of high-performance rubber products has developed a specialty within the aerospace industry, where aircraft propulsion systems and airframe components require protection from impact erosion, icing, and high temperatures.
“Our facility is unique in its accommodation of spray technology, especially for those systems that stand apart from standard technologies, like the spraying of silicones,” Ames said on its website.
Ames Rubber developed an elastomeric coating system, AMESShield, to protect aerospace components from the environmental insults that ultimately degrade their performance. According to the company’s website, ice adhesion testing showed AMESShield to be “an excellent ice-phobic elastomeric coating” with significantly lower ice adhesion than competing coating materials.
AMESShield is reported to use a variety of material systems, including silicone, fluorosilicone, fluoroelastomer, and fluoropolymers, either alone or in combination. The coating system “can be tailored to exposure to various chemicals, including salt spray, jet fuel, and propylene glycol, without impacting the ice adhesion results,” the company said on its website.
According to Derek Eversdyke, the company’s director of sales, marketing, and administrative services, Ames provides elastomeric molding and spraying services that give aerospace engine components the protective barriers they need to operate effectively. Ames applies them to numerous types of substrates, including composites, Eversdyke said in an emailed response.
He described one application that involved creating a protective barrier for a composite engine component. The application required a layer of erosion protection that could not be achieved by the composite structure alone. Two technical questions needed to be answered: What is the best set of materials to provide the erosion resistance, and what is the most efficient process method for applying the material?
“The customer came to us after they had spent time spraying a specific elastomer on the composite structures,” Eversdyke said. “In learning more about the application and the current processing methodology, we determined that they weren’t using the best material, nor were they deploying the best processing method.”
The Ames team put its material and process know-how to good use in developing a more appropriate material with ice-shedding capabilities. And based on the thickness requirements of the spray process, it determined that a molded skin would be a more economical processing method to use, he said.
In addition to providing material and process design, development, and support on the project, Ames Rubber’s work included prototyping, tooling, and fixturing. The company has an in-house machine shop with capabilities to manufacture tooling and fixturing, as well as a network of tool manufacturers that specialize in rubber tooling. It can also 3D print tools for certain prototype requirements, Eversdyke said.
“In this case, we had to use both—internal tooling development and manufacture to support the processing methodology, and external tooling to develop and manufacture molds used to make the skins we’re manufacturing,” he said.
Ames Rubber is certified to the ISO 9001:2015 quality management system standard, as well as the aerospace industry’s AS9100 Rev D standard. The company also carries ITAR registration and DoD security clearances.
Eversdyke said that throughout its 70-plus year history, Ames Rubber has been awarded multiple supplier awards from large OEMs, such as Pitney Bowes, Xerox, Eastman Kodak, and ILC Dover. In 1993, the company also received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award®. The Baldrige Award is the highest level of national recognition for performance excellence that a U.S. organization can receive, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).