Q: Ashley Wetzel, Marketing Communications Specialist
A: Justinn General, Product Design Engineer
Our engineering department brainstorms ideas, experiments, test prototypes and develops our quality products every day. In this interview, we attempt to get in the mind of one of our engineers and the thought process behind developing the CorrLock gasket.
Q: What was the motivation behind developing the CorrLock gasket?
A: When it comes down to it, it seemed almost obvious to us. Putting ourselves in the shoes of our customers, we thought about what is important to them and helping them through the energy transition. The idea behind the CorrLock gasket was developed from a heightened need for safety and sealability in a gasket, that we haven’t quite seen before. As a market leader, we wanted to share our industry experience and develop a product to help others in this industry. The hydrogen market has a high potential for growth, and we would like to be part of it. Not to mention, with the Inflation Reduction Act billions of government funding will be dedicated to the energy transition.
Q: Why did we come up with this design? Where did this idea come from?
A: We know the CorruKamm seals well and has great recovery. We have all the data to back up that design. So, it was quite easy for that design to be our first choice moving forward. In terms of facing material, we wanted to look at it a little bit differently. We researched the market to see which materials would seal the best. We found a sealing material that has a low permeability for hydrogen and excellent cryogenic performance to excel in the harshest environments. With that combination, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Let me give you an example.
Do you think chocolate is delicious? (yes)
Do you think peanut butter is delicious? (yes)
Reese’s combined the two and they’re even better together, right? The same thing applies here. Both main components of this gasket are fantastic alone but combined they make an exceptional gasket.
Q: Why hydrogen? Why is hydrogen an industry we are participating in?
A: Well, hydrogen is identified to be a clean energy source. It’s kind of like a mixture of traditional oil and gas and power generation. It mixes a lot of those together. When we say oil and gas, the product is oil. You need to get oil. Well in this case, the product that you need to produce is hydrogen. So, you’re just replacing oil with hydrogen and it’s a similar infrastructure/ capacity/ build, etc. Ultimately, we need to use that hydrogen to power vehicles, turbines, etc. You need your distribution model; you need to get it out there.
This is where the hydrogen industry is moving towards. Everyone is talking about it because it’s new, everybody wants the ‘new shiny thing’. This is where a lot of the emphasis and dollars are spent on research and it’s where a lot of the oil and gas companies themselves are investing. It’s fun, it’s a new challenge, and they’re trying to figure out how viable can this new energy source become and that’s why it’s had so much interest.
For Lamons specifically, the product lines that we could and would be selling are similar, it’s still going to be gaskets, bolting, and hoses. So, it’s an easy business case to make because it’s going to be the same product lines of our core competences. In short there are going to be tons of hydrogen connections, and they’re going to need gaskets.
Q: How are we positioning ourselves for the hydrogen market?
A: We are always striving to be the industry leader, so we want to set the precedent for what is safe, and what the acceptable limits for sealability are, etc.
If other people are saying “it works,” a lot of times, most things work right off the bat, but it doesn’t work as intended. Instead of looking at it like “everything is good as is”, we are identifying potential risks and addressing them.
If this market is going to grow as big as it’s expected to, any risk in terms of health hazard, explosions, reliability – there’s the goal to mitigate that in a cost-effective way, then I think it’s worth the time to develop these types of products or even just have that level of understanding.
Standard gaskets, yes, they seal, but they seal just okay. But if you don’t want to take any risks in this, then you want the best. Because it’s a new industry, you can’t afford to take any risks in terms of safety and one explosion could set back the industry.
Q: Why is ours the best gasket for sealing hydrogen?
A: The CorrLock gasket is designed and produced specifically for the hydrogen market. Other available gaskets for hydrogen are repurposed gaskets that have been on the market. Yes, they do seal, but not the best. Why? Because they weren’t designed for that purpose.
We went back to the drawing board and said, “How can we design something specifically for this industry?”. We took two leading technologies and brought them together by going back to the drawing board to truly understand the sealability of hydrogen and the design required for that. That’s what makes it more unique to us, we’re not rehashing, and we were willing to put in the time and testing to make sure we have a superior product.
We offer inventory warehouses and established conexes for project-specific events such as turnarounds, outages, and new builds at that facility to maintain minimum and maximum inventory levels. Our rigorous historical data service allows us to advise customers on what products need to be ordered during specific turnarounds and outages. With the changes of personnel through our customers, we are able to offer a huge cost savings by providing them with data of what they have purchased in the past to prevent any hiccups and help navigate during large, planned events. Lamons goes a step further by working hand-in-hand with contractors in the field to establish warehouse inventory outside of the VMI-level for project-specific events, ensuring your custom needs are met promptly and directly.
Q: What else does the CorrLock gasket seal? Is hydrogen its only purpose?
A: Honestly, because it seals hydrogen well, it seals everything else. Hydrogen is the hardest thing to seal, because the CorrLock gasket seals hydrogen, it will seal most anything including ammonia and H2S.
Q: Is there a big market for this gasket? Are there existing standards for hydrogen?
A: Right now, they say just use standard gaskets. Our response goes back to safety and sealability, we have a product that seals significantly better than a standard gasket for hydrogen and therefore reiterates safety as the number one priority.
Q: Have you approached your customers with this yet?
A: Yes – we have several customers currently that are interested and looking to do trial runs in their current hydrogen units and systems.
Motivated by a commitment to safety and sealability in the growing hydrogen market, our engineering team leveraged their industry experience to create a unique product. The gasket’s innovative design, combining the proven CorruKamm design with a thermoplastic facing material, highlights a thoughtful approach to addressing the specific needs of the hydrogen industry. The CorrLock gasket stands out as a superior solution, purpose-built for sealing hydrogen and surpassing standard gaskets. With growing interest from customers, we hope to continue playing a pioneering role in shaping the future of gasket technology in the hydrogen industry.