Sight Glass Development Thinking

posted in: Business Strategy | 0
Thoughts above clouds. Sight glass development takes high level thinking.

We’ve manufactured hundreds of sight glass products customized to fit an application. And it gets more exciting with every new challenge, the customer applications are getting more interesting. In one particular application the challenge is to design a sight window that holds 20,000 psi of pressure at 400 degrees C of temperature, all at the same time. It’s like asking for a high dividend and high growth investment in one. In the world of process observation windows there is usually a line between hot temperatures or high pressures. We are talking hot as in melting any elastomer in sealing glass to the metal. Hot enough for any bonding method where the metal housing expands breaking away from the bond.

For this we use a metal C seal. It lands on the sapphire window on one side and in the groove of the metal housing on the other side. This completes the sealing. Any leaks are blocked. A typical C-seal is designed to hold 30,000 psi of pressure. It’s not very uncommon for a C-seal to hold 70,000 psi, so as far as sealing mechanism we are covered. As long as we make the groove with a perfect circular finish, the seal will work. Sapphire window has optical finish where the seal makes an excellent contact.

Our challenge is not design, actually. Surprisingly, the challenge is in pricing of piece parts and their lead time from their respective manufacturers. What needs to happen is market demand. This creates volume orders, which in turn creates shorter lead times and better prices. This is a business strategy, really. We create our own demand working to build an inventory of these sight glasses. The key for us is to figure our the price point where we order just in time stock.