Quality hydraulic seals can prevent system failure.

The invention of hydraulic systems has permitted industry to lift, push, pull and maneuver heavier objects than previously thought possible. From steering the largest ships to stopping the family car, the applications of hydraulics has changed history in many ways.

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Any hydraulic system is only as good as the seals utilized. Seals can be subjected to intense pressures and high temperatures. Dynamic seals may be subjected to continuous motion. In many cases, the seal is also exposed to corrosive materials, including chemicals and metal contaminants. It is intended to retain hydraulic pressure within the system under enormous pressure and harsh conditions.

Therefore, it must be constructed of high quality materials and fabricated to exacting standards. A small deviation from design specifications can lead to premature erosion and eventually failure of the component.

Seal failure will cause a leak in hydraulic fluid and a corresponding loss in hydraulic pressure. Whether it is the failure of a dynamic or static seal, a broken seal often leads to failure of the hydraulic system.

For this reason, frequent inspection of all seals in a hydraulic system is a good business practice. When warranted, a defective or potentially defective seal should be replaced. Quality seal materials are made from a variety of materials, depending on the hydraulic system and the stress factors to which it will be subjected.

Nitrile is often used when a high temperature variation is to be expected and when the seal will be in contact with vehicle fuels. Ethylene propelyene rubber (EPM) is used in applications needing a flexible but strong compression and chemical resistance to acids, alkali and salt. Fluorocarbon rubber can normally withstand the highest temperature variations of all materials.

Fabrication of retrofit hydraulic shaft seals is a process of more than a dozen manufacturing steps, from initial measurement of the old shaft seal, to matching and verifying the material to be used, to cutting and re-measuring the part. For businesses needing a new seal for a hydraulic system or those seeking an upgrade on existing components, there are companies that can fabricate a quality replacement to original specifications.

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