top of page

About Us

SEA was founded in 1992 as a sales/engineering company, in order to combine the manufacturing and design capabilities of Brighton Machine with the coating and cladding expertise of Wear Management. As the name implies and the mission statement explains, the philosophy behind this collaboration was based on the belief that for most industrial components, failure begins at the surface, irrespective of the considerations usually given primarily to the bulk or core properties of the materials being used. So while conventional engineering deals adequately with such issues as strength and fatigue, continuous improvements in service life often require the use of surface engineering or “Tribology” in order to combat wear at its origins. Not coincidentally, our use of the patented alloy “Tribolite” a non-galling material that can be deposited by welding, thermal spray, or newer, non-conventional methods, has often contributed to these improvements. Because of the  significant ( 3-5%) Boron content in this iron based alloy, Tribolite has an amorphous or near- nanophase morphology, and this extremely fine micro-structure contributes to its sliding wear performance. The Tribolite chemistry consists of extremely fine (submicron) boron carbides ( 72 Rc) dispersed in an iron/nickel matrix, akin to the structure of a concrete roadway.

 The currently popular interest in “nano-science” is by no means unjustified because the physical properties of crystalline ( repeating atomic arrangements) materials which have nano-features can be vastly superior to materials of the same chemical content but larger scale solidification patterns. This issue will also come up in our descriptions of some of the other coatings that we use.    


We all know that manufactured surfaces, produced by forming, machining, grinding, etc., are neither smooth, flat, or clean, so that when any work is done by a force transmitted from one surface to another, the surface stresses within the apparent area of contact can range from extremely high to zero, and the stress predictions of conventional engineering tend to lose their meaning. The “real” area of contact is often only a few percent of the apparent area, meaning that the so called “asperities” or high spots do most of the work of contact and wear.

These high spots, as well as their low spot neighbors, are always somewhat “self-lubricated” because they are always covered by thin films of oxides, adsorbed gases, oils or other liquids, loosely bonded debris, etc.. This constantly evolving film of “dirt” can be useful in preventing intimate metal contact provided it is durable enough, which it usually is not, and it must also be dealt with when attempting to provide a third party engineered coating. Note also that any applied coating will also have rough spots, dirt, and a similar but possibly smoother asperity geometry, when viewed under sufficient magnification. This is evidence of the fractal nature of manufactured surfaces, meaning that they will have a similar “roughness” appearance over a wide range of scales.

Once the true nature of surfaces is understood, the importance of “lubrication”, defined as the presence of a third party fluid film or an intrinsically lubricious surface, becomes apparent.  Virtually all of the man-made machinery systems in use depend heavily on third party lubrication because materials with the core properties required by conventional engineering lack any properties of self-lubrication. Conventional bearing materials such as bronzes and babbitts do have some film building properties but they generate weak films ( which can be scrubbed off)  and they are developed during a sacrificial decay, generally requiring third party lubrication to prevent  severe wear loss or heat related softening. Engineered plastics can be truly self-lubricating and they are excellent materials for use up to their strength /temperature limits.

SEA has worked to develop a family of claddings, coatings, and composited systems which marry the requirements of conventional engineering with those of surface engineering by providing strength and hardness as well as intrinsic self-lubrication. Tribolite is the leader and the oldest of these materials but has been followed by a number of unique and often complimentary systems.

Some of these materials systems; meaning not only the materials as applied but also the oxides and other films they spontaneously generate, as well as the engineered platforms which support them, have been quite unique, and they have made possible some new applications which didn’t exist for conventional coatings. They have also been useful in solving some conventional coating problems as well.  

    No single material or coating method can solve contact problems throughout the full range of stresses, temperatures, and operating conditions encountered in manufacturing, and for some problems there could be multiple coating choices which would probably work, so the most secure position for a problem solver is to have many solutions at hand, and to have the knowledge and freedom to select wisely and effectively from the options available. This is still a hard road to follow, and the case histories summarized below in a few short paragraphs represent years of field study, much trial and error, some mistakes, and a good deal of customer cooperation, which as we hope to show, has provided a good return on our customer investment.


So the SEA mission statement could be summarized as follows;


1)  To continue to explore the potential of the Tribolite material, as a cladding, thermal spray coating, or as a part of a composite system, combined with an agressive exploration of non-conventional methods of application, such as laser, EB, electrospark, and hip cladding.

2)  To continue with the development of our support  products, including Hycomp and our family of diffusion ( FENCR) and boundary film coatings, as part of the strategy to eliminate lubricant related machinery failures by removing the need for, or reducing the dependence on, any third party lubrication.

3) To continue to assimilate, from a position of  tribological awareness, any emerging coating process technologies or surface modification technologies which can complement our existing family of solutions.

4) To continue the study of our most important subject; the manufacturing processes of our customers, so that we can partner knowledgeably in their continuous productivity improvements.

bottom of page