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Industrial bearing and seal innovations abound

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Aug 05,2022


High-performance materials and purposeful designs are helping engineers to optimize seal and bearing decisions. Immediate and visionary objectives are served by improving reliability and durability, simplifying installation and replacement, and supporting green energy and emission goals. The following are examples of some of the many recent developments.

Special-purpose sealing

Innovative seal designs address application challenges such as increasing the performance of industrial robots. Robots must be able to perform repetitive movements with extreme precision for thousands of cycles between maintenance, while potentially exposed to varying media and temperature ranges. Seals from Bal Seal Engineering made from virgin or filled polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) help to guard robot parts and systems under these conditions.

“By adjusting jacket geometry, lip force, and other characteristics to strike the right balance of friction and sealing effectiveness, a designer can ensure protection against leakage AND promote smoother, more consistent operation over longer periods,” explains Karina Chavez, an engineer with Bal Seal Engineering. “While it may seem like a minor consideration as compared with overall robot design, seal material choice can also have a significant impact on equipment life and system uptime.”

To facilitate the rise of green hydrogen production, using electrolysis rather than fossil fuels, an advanced sealing solution for electrolyzers from Freudenberg Sealing Technologies bonds sealing material to electrolyzer stack plates in a four-step process. The new gasket-plate units are easy to transport and install and designed to optimize sealing reliability and performance in aggressive conditions, such as pressure and temperature extremes.

By bonding the sealing material directly to the plate through a specialized overmolding process, Freudenberg has been able to eliminate the installation complexity and potential seal damage that results from two separate components, says Robert Lidster, technical director of the Gaskets Division at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. “The seals and plates are perfectly married,” he adds.

In support of the green energy transition, the TruTech portfolio from Dover Precision Components was recently expanded to include materials engineered to enhance reciprocating compressor sealing durability and performance. In the company’s dedicated materials laboratory, new materials are formulated from high-temperature aromatic polymers such as PTFE and PEEK, with application-appropriate fillers.

“We’ve developed highly wear-resistant materials for challenging non-lubricated compressor applications and reduced-lubrication materials that increase reliability and equipment life while decreasing maintenance costs,” notes Burak Bekisli, director of materials engineering at Dover Precision Components. TruTech materials are used in Cook Compression sealing components, Inpro/Seal Bearing Isolators, Air Mizer shaft seals, and Waukesha fluid film bearing products.

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