Hydraulic seals are among the most important components in any hydraulic system. Without functional seals, the hydraulic system would be unable to maintain the pressure required to generate power.
Seal failure can be catastrophic at worst, and result in costly production delays at best. If you are able to understand some of the common reasons why hydraulic seals fail, you can be proactive in preventing seal failure from plaguing your production equipment in the future.
Hardening of the Seal
Seals are made from a durable rubber material. This rubber needs to remain pliable in order to prevent fluid loss while machinery is in operation. Equipment that is operating at maximum speed can generate a lot of heat. This heat can harden the seals and cause them to crack.
A hardened seal is more likely to leak, letting valuable hydraulic fluid escape from the closed system. Try to reduce operating speeds to lower internal temperature and be sure that your seals stay lubricated to prevent hardening.
Scarring of the Seal
Another problem that can lead to hydraulic seal failure is scarring. Scarring occurs when improper tools are utilized to install new seals or the hydraulic fluid coming into contact with the seal is filled with contaminant particles.
Tool and particle damage can leave behind pits, tears, and other forms of scarring on the surface of the hydraulic seal. Over time, this scarring will cause the seal to fail. Always utilize the proper tools when installing a new seal and change the hydraulic fluid in your machinery often to prevent scarring.
Fracturing of the Seal
Fracturing can lead to a catastrophic loss in hydraulic pressure while your machinery is in use. The most common causes of seal fracturing include too much back pressure, excessive pressure spikes, and poor seal material. When these elements are present, the seal has the potential to shear completely through.
You can be proactive in preventing fracturing by using only the highest quality seals in your machinery. You should also monitor hydraulic pressure while your machines are running to prevent pressure-related fracturing.
Taking care of your hydraulic seals is a critical part of any maintenance program. Seal failure can cause significant damage within your hydraulic systems, so this type of failure should be prevented at all costs. Be prepared to battle the factors that contribute to hardening, scarring, and fracturing to eliminate seal failure from your hydraulic systems in the future.