Shaft seals are essential to many industrial operations because they keep machinery in good condition and ensure the proper operation of mechanical systems.
You need to properly place and select shaft seals to maximize the productivity, profitability, and safety of your industrial operation.
The following are five things you need to know about shaft seals at your industrial facility to keep your machinery operating properly.
1. Shaft seals are used to keep lubricants in place
One of the main functions of shaft seals is to keep lubricant from leaking out of machinery. Shaft seals hold lubricant in place so it protects mechanical components and prevents premature wear and tear on parts due to friction.
2. Shaft seals are used to keep contaminant out of machinery
The other main purpose of placing shaft seals in mechanical systems is to seal out foreign matter.
Dust, metal pieces, and other contaminants can get into mechanical systems if they are not kept out by seals. Contaminants can enter into sealed cavities within mechanical systems if seals are missing or damaged, and this can lead to premature wear and tear as well as catastrophic failure of components.
3. Two major categories of shaft seal are contacting and non-contacting shaft seals
Shaft seals fall into one of two categories: contacting shaft seals and non-contacting shaft seals.
A contacting shaft seal comes into direct contact- typically via a rubber component- with the rotating shaft of a mechanical system. A non-contacting shaft seal will involve a small amount of clearance between the seal itself and the shaft.
While a contacting shaft seal offers a complete seal and minimizes lubricant leakage, it also will wear out faster due to constant friction with the rotating shaft. On the other hand, a non-contacting seal will allow for leakage but will be unlikely to wear out due to friction over time.
4. An important factor in determining the ideal shaft seal type is how much leakage is permissible
Some mechanical systems can handle a fair amount of lubricant leakage because sealed cavities contain large quantities of lubricant, to begin with. This means that lubricant can periodically be refilled to make up for the leakage without damaging mechanical components. In this case, a non-contacting shaft seal may be appropriate.
On the other hand, leakage of lubricant in certain mechanical systems will quickly cause damage to moving parts. In this case, a contacting shaft seal is important.
5. There are various types of contacting and non-contacting shaft seals
Within the broader categories of contacting and non-contacting seals, there are more specific seal types. Radial and mechanical face seals are common types of contacting seal while bushing seals, labyrinth seals, and magnetic seals are common types of non-contacting seal.
Each of these specific seal types is designed for certain operating temperatures, shaft speeds, and pressures. In determining the ideal shaft seal type, it's important to consider the recommended temperature, speed, and pressure ranges that seal types are capable of handling in relation to the particular industrial applications carried out at your facility. Contact a company like Accurate Products Inc. for more information and assistance.