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Custom Cooler Gasket for Ultimate Seal Compression

 

Lifetime Products logo in black and white

The Customer & Goal

Lifetime Products, the world’s leading producer of folding tables and chairs, also manufactures a variety of consumer products—from basketball hoops and playground sets to kayaks, coolers and more. The company’s main objective is to create affordable products with quality, strength and durability.

The Challenge: An Unreliable, Leaky Cooler

Lifetime was receiving customer complaints about its 28-quart cooler. Customers found that the cooler seal didn’t hold properly. Melting ice and water leaked out, and the contents of the cooler did not stay cold. Lifetime’s 28-quart cooler used a bonded O-ring seal. The bonding lacked the ideal compression and ultimately stretched over the edge of the cooler, and in some cases, fell off completely. 

Lifetime needed a durable seal that would not only pass its stringent leak test requirements but also make picnics hassle free for customers. Additionally, Lifetime wanted to redesign its cooler handles to achieve abrasion, stain and UV resistance.


Lifetime cooler gasket DD6243-002 for 28-quart cooler

The Solution: Durable EPDM Cooler Gaskets & Handles

Lifetime partnered with Trim-Lok to customize a solution for its 28-quart cooler. When Trim-Lok’s director of engineering consulted with Lifetime’s team, he felt confident that Trim-Lok could design seals and handles that solved their leakage and abrasion issues.

Our team evaluated the cooler, including the gasket supplied by Lifetime’s original vendor and the handles that needed upgrading. Trim-Lok’s engineers performed several rounds of tests and revisions to achieve the desired seal compression. With experience designing foam grip handles, our team knew that the weight and feel of the cooler handle was important to get right, since customers need a cooler that is easy and comfortable to transport. 

Trim-Lok also ran a precise color match for the cooler handles to ensure the product represented the brand accurately and matched the blue color used on Lifetime kayaks.

Sealability

Trim-Lok analyzed the original cooler gasket and determined that it wasn’t the only issue—in fact, the plastic cavity of that held the seal needed optimizing too. Our engineers helped Lifetime completely redesign the cooler lid to help accommodate a better seal. 

The new seal is comprised of a top layer of EPDM foam rubber to bend with the curve of the cooler, and a bottom layer of dense EPDM rubber for a secure fit. Trim-Lok’s engineers didn’t bond the seal into and O-ring, because this would create such a tight vacuum seal that the cooler wouldn’t open. 

After extended testing with the redesigned lid and new EPDM cooler gasket, Trim-Lok all but eliminated the issue and passed Lifetime’s leak test. The sealability is so secure, customers can now keep ice in the 28-quart cooler for up to nine days.


Blue cooler handle grips

Abrasion Resistance

Lifetime wanted to reimagine the cooler’s handles to achieve a better grip, as well as abrasion and stain resistance. Trim-Lok’s engineering team selected EPDM with a slip coat. Lifetime approved of the way the textured handles felt and was pleased that the material did not degrade or discolor after extensive weather testing.

Temperature & UV Resistance

EPDM is a material that has excellent ozone and weather resistance, which was a top priority for the Lifetime team. Their coolers must withstand a variety of temperatures and exposure to water, moisture and sunlight. Because Lifetime coolers enjoy frequent outdoor use, Trim-Lok utilized EPDM for its durable properties under various temperatures and UV conditions.

The Results: A Bear-Proof Cooler with Seal Compression

With its redesigned lid, handles and improved sealability, the 28-quart cooler is now bear-proof for camping and beloved by Lifetime customers. Lifetime consistently develops new coolers in different sizes and styles, and still relies on Trim-Lok for the durable, high-quality seals and handles that are simply unmatched in the market. 

Interested in talking to our team about custom trims and seals? Contact us today to start the conversation.

 

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