5 Tips to Help Maximize the Performance of Your Oil Seals
“Often invisible, always essential,” is a phrase that our parent company Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies often uses to describe the role our products play although they may never be seen. Putting things into perspective, a single failed radial shaft seal (AKA oil seal) can shut down an entire manufacturing line causing a company to lose ten, potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars. Perhaps worse, the equipment becomes defective because of a failed oil seal causing you or your customer, time and money. Granted, a failed oil seal may fail for a variety of reasons. However, if there are a few simple adjustments that can help maximize the performance of your equipment, wouldn’t you make some changes?
Below are 5 maintenance and storage tips to help maximize the performance of oil seals in your customer’s equipment:
- Protect oil seals from dust and debris – Dust and debris are some of the most common causes for a failed oil seal. For example, in high pressure applications, even the smallest sediments can create a gap in the seal ultimately allowing the ingress of dirt and/or the escape of oil causing complete seal failure. An effective way to ensure particles do not contaminate your oil seals is to store them in a sealed bag or container away from areas where dust and debris are prevalent. We recommend using re-sealable, heavy-duty plastics bags in addition to a bin stock system so all inventory is readily accessible and is protected from contaminants.
- Have clean surfaces where oil seals contact – In order to help make certain your oil seals do not collect dust after leaving the storage bag, it is important to have clean surfaces where the oil seals touch. An oil seal, especially one with special greasing specifications, is equally vulnerable to collect dust while waiting to be applied on a production line as it is while being stored in an inventory bin. One way to avoid this pitfall is to separate oil seals from other products on a production line. Also, setting aside time to clean surfaces such as tables, bins, and conveyors throughout the day will decrease the likelihood of dust sticking to the oil seals.
- Protect the end application shaft – Protecting the shaft from any dust and debris, or from being damaged will ensure not only the optimum performance of your oil seals but also of their manufactured equipment. If the shaft has even the slightest chip or dent, the oil seal will not seal properly causing the infiltration of contaminants and the escape of oil. Two methods that help protect shafts are to wrap them in a protective material such as a mesh rubber screen and to store the shafts vertically in their own sleeves or compartments.
- Preventive maintenance on oil seal accessories – If you use any type of accessory such as a container of grease or installation tool in addition to the use of their oil seals, it is just as important to ensure they are cared for the same as the seals and shafts. For example, a good practice is to close the grease container with a sealable lid when not in use. In doing so, you decrease the risk of contaminants infiltrating the grease and subsequently your oil seals. For installation tools, be sure that the tool does not have any jagged edges because the seal may become damaged during the installation process.
- Train employees on proper seal installation – Even the most methodical processes can’t overcome user error. Training employees on how to properly install an oil seal and recognize an improper installation will help ensure the entire process is effective. One way to recognize an improper installation is to determine whether or not there is uneven shearing of rubber on the oil seal after use. If uneven shearing is evident, one adjustment to make is to make sure the installation tools are aligned properly before pressing the seal into place.
If you or your customer feel that they could improve processes in their manufacturing facility, Dichtomatik is an expert in providing engineer and technical expertise as well as high quality sealing solutions. Whether its consolidating multiple parts into one convenient bag or kit, improving the performance of your oil seals, or designing an entirely new sealing solution, Dichtomatik can help maximize your customer’s manufacturing success.