Six Reasons For Seal Failure

Posted on: 30 January 2019

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Hydraulic equipment is costly, but vital to the work that your warehouse or industrial facility carries out each day. Lip, radial and cylinder seals, however, which also perform vital functions, can be overlooked until leaks or spills become more common. When working out what went wrong with the seals, consider these failure-inducing situations.

Not Cooling System

A too-hot hydraulic enclosed system will always cause trouble for its components. In fact, the seals might just be the start of your system troubles if the system is consistently overheating. To preserve seals and equipment, you'll need to actively cool things. A simple action like painting every metal surface can have a mild cooling effect, and it might be time to discuss whether temperatures may be lowered without affecting the work you do.

Using Old Seals

If no one is tasked with maintenance of various seals, no one may remember their age. Like most parts and pieces, old seals cannot contain fluids forever. Manufacturer manuals should explain the typical lifespan of a seal; if no one remembers changing the seals, it may be the right time to change them all and start logging seal replacements.

Using Wrong Types

It's possible that you need to reassess the seals to discover whether better options are available. If your system is otherwise operable, perhaps you should upgrade seals to provide a suitable match for the temperatures and fluids they're exposed to.

Leaving Dirty Surfaces

Seals left outside to face brutal and varying weather conditions might slowly accumulate mud, freeze over or become covered with snow. Without cleaning, that's bound to interfere with seal integrity. Wipe down seals and keep them free of ice, mud and snow.

Using New Fluids Without Checking Your Seals

As new additive products are released which seem appropriate for your system, you're likely to want to experiment with them. However, when that's done, you should also be checking individual seals to see how your test additives are going to affect them. There might be no effect, but some additives can wear down seal materials.

Ignoring Filters

The filters in hydraulic machines could affect seals too. If filters are being ignored and cleaned infrequently, the metal slivers or other debris which bypass them could become embedded in seals, making them more likely to prematurely tear or rip. 

Hydraulic seals should be managed and maintained regularly. Working with shift employees and managers to focus more on checking them and replacing them as needed should reduce overall tears, spills and leaks.