Pole position for Ultraseal InternationalFrom time to time an anonymous van draws up at a red-brick block in an industrial estate in the South of England, the driver gets out, takes in a package, then waits while the contents are processed and returned to him, often hours later.
There's nothing distinctive about the driver or vehicle but there is always something very special about the contents of the package, which he is careful not to draw any unwanted attention to.
This is not a shady deal or a James Bond-style assignment, but it is secretive. Welcome to the glamorous world of Formula One racing.
For the parcels that are so carefully guarded against prying eyes contain parts for current and future season racing cars that will compete on the world's most famous circuits from Silverstone to Shanghai.
The highly confidential packages contain all sorts of components for the vehicles that will speed around the tracks in a sport that has high stakes at every level from finance to the personal dangers faced by drivers.
They are spirited into the building not far from F1's "golden corridor" of research, development and manufacture to undergo a quality enhancement process that guards against serious failures.
With the risk of death and injury if anything goes wrong on the track, Formula One teams don't like to take unnecessary risks and that is what leads them to entrust parts to Ultraseal International's impregnation processes and sealants.
These parts are impregnated with one of Ultraseal International's methacrylate based sealants - recyclable sealant Rexeal 100, Ultraseal MX2 or the more conventional PC504/66(tm) - that guards against the eternal problem of porosity in casting.
Porosity is microscopic holes in a cast metal or composite part that can lead to the formation of leak paths. Ultimately it can result in a failure of the part and is especially dangerous for parts that have to remain pressure-tight.
"Formula One racing is one of the most exciting sports in the world and the drivers push the cars to their very limits," said Gary Lloyd, Managing Director of Ultraseal International.
"Components have to withstand extreme punishment. With such high adrenaline activity there will always be risks - they are hurtling round the track at up to 229mph after all - but it is essential that every possible care is taken to reduce the risks".
"Ultraseal International has devoted decades to pioneering and refining the use of impregnation sealants as a reliable and permanent solutions to porosity in casting and continues to lead the global market today.
"The fact that Formula One teams at the pinnacle of automotive engineering entrust their cherished racing cars to our processes is a testament to Ultraseal International's reputation for excellence".
"I feel very proud every time I see one of the F1 cars that Ultraseal has supported racing around a circuit, knowing we have made a contribution to their success."
Sealant impregnation is now widely regarded as a routine quality enhancement by large OEMs in the automotive industry, especially for parts such as engine blocks, cylinder heads, and transmissions, with many OEMs demanding that their supply chain impregnates key parts as a matter of course.
"Sealant impregnation is also an added safety feature where there is a mixture of different types of materials that will expand and contract at different rates. It minimises the risk of a gap opening up between the two materials.
While Ultraseal has carried out work for Formula One teams for decades, in between the cloak and dagger visits, the company's impregnation facility is busy with more routine work for a wide range of automotive and aerospace OEMs, medical equipment manufacturers and producers of high value equipment and components. Based in Coventry, UK, with operations in the UK, China, India, Japan and the USA, and a network of agents/distributors around the world, Ultraseal is the company that first introduced recyclable impregnation sealants to the world.
Both its global benchmark recyclable sealant Rexeal 100(tm) and its original recyclable sealant Ultraseal MX2(tm) are approved to US Military standard MIL-I-17563C and the company has led the field in the design and manufacture of impregnation systems.
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