If you have industrial equipment that transports or contains liquid, your equipment most likely includes hydraulic seals. These seals are o-shaped parts that are used to seal the equipment and prevent leakage of the enclosed liquid.
Hydraulic seals that are pliable can be made of several different materials, such as polyurethane or rubber. Generally, these seals are long-lasting, but they are apt to wear out early under certain conditions. Here are a few:
If a hydraulic seal is exposed to too much heat, the seals could melt or dry out, eventually becoming prone to cracking or breaking. Seals should be periodically checked for signs of heat erosion and replaced if erosion is apparent. However, if you know that the application in which the hydraulic seal is placed will generate large amounts of heat, it is best to install a seal that is heat-resistant. In addition, consider the chemicals with which the seal will come in contact when choosing a seal material.
If a hydraulic seal is not installed properly or is placed in the wrong type of equipment, it may fail due to the unintended conditions surrounding the seal. For instance, if a seal is too large or too small for a piece of equipment, the application may become destructive to the seal. Hydraulic seals of different sizes are usually recommended for certain applications. Manufacturers are likely to recommend the size and type of material that should be used.
In addition, seals that are incorrectly positioned during installation, such as being placed upside down, may not prevent leaks as intended, and seals that are handled improperly or stretched unduly during installations may rip or become more apt to fail after an abbreviated term of use.
If contaminants enter a hydraulic rod, they can coat pistons and subsequently soil the hydraulic seal. As the seal becomes coated with more debris, it can fail to block further contaminants from entering the area that houses the hydraulic piston.
Still, a large degree of contamination can be avoided by ensuring the areas around the seal are properly cleaned before initial installation. In addition, the areas surrounding the piston should be clean and free of contaminants, and the liquid that will be introduced into the area should not include dirt or debris.
Hydraulic seals can fail for multiple reasons. If you need to purchase or replace seals, contact an industrial equipment specialist for available types and sizes.