Last fall, Open Range RV became the first towable manufacturer to adopt a semi-robotic sealing system for its exterior windows produced by Seal Design, an affiliate of Elkhart, Ind.-based Dicor Corp.
According to a press release, Seal-Tite has made the placement of window sealants more precise and error-free, eliminating the hand application of such sealants that often resulted in inconsistent quality.
When a window is prepared for installation on a typical assembly line, a butyl tape or foam sealant is applied to the window where it attaches to the wall. However, installers frequently have trouble keeping the tape or foam from stretching around the corners where it can create small gaps at those points, or elsewhere where it may also be unevenly stretched.
Accordingly, a caulk or cap sealant is often applied around the window once it is in place to provide an additional barrier to water intrusion. However, such caulking can eventually break down or be unevenly applied as well, leading to window leaks that can damage the RV and make for an expensive repair job.
The Seal-Tite system involves a quick-set, hot melt sealant that can be precisely and optimally sized for a particular window type and applied in a consistent bead by a hand-assisted robotic arm in a matter of seconds. In addition, the need for a cap sealant is virtually eliminated.
“There’s nothing else like it in the industry,” said Seal Design General Manager Greg Kelly. “Open Range has really taken the lead on this as a real solution to window leaks, and we intend to alert RV buyers to this with a special sticker to certify that a particular RV has been built using this process.”
Open Range’s leak testing showed consistent, near perfect test results over the course of hundreds of windows a day. The company expects to initiate a similar process for sealing entrance doors and exterior hatches.
“At Open Range we are continually trying to improve on everything that we do,” said Jason Martin, director of product development for the Shipshewana, Ind.-based builder. “If there’s something new out there, we take time to look at it and see if it works for us.”
Marketing Coordinator Josh Streich noted, “As the only RV company with this kind of technology for eliminating window leaks, it adds another distinguishing feature to our towable products. More room and less weight are features that distinguish us in the marketplace, and now we can add leak reduction as well.”