A Guide to Bearing Seals and Their Applications
April 19, 2024

A Guide to Bearing Seals and Their Applications

Bearing seals play a key role in safeguarding rotating equipment by preventing contaminants from entering the bearing chamber and ensuring smooth operation. Let's explore what bearing seals are, the different types available, how to identify them, and best practices for maintenance.

What is a Bearing Seal?

A bearing seal, also known as a shaft seal or oil seal, is a device installed around the rotating shaft of machinery to prevent the ingress of contaminants such as dust, dirt, water, and debris into the bearing housing. It helps retain lubricants and protect bearings from premature wear and failure, ultimately extending the lifespan of the equipment.

Two Basic Types of Bearing Seals:

  1. Contact Seals: Contact seals, such as lip seals and oil seals, utilise direct contact between the sealing element and the shaft to create a barrier against contaminants. These seals are effective but may generate friction and heat, impacting efficiency and longevity.
  2. Non-Contact Seals: Non-contact seals, like labyrinth seals, use a series of intricate passages or barriers to create a tortuous path for contaminants, preventing them from reaching the bearing chamber. These seals offer low friction and reduced wear, ideal for high-speed applications.

How to Identify a Bearing Seal?

Bearing seals can be identified by their design, construction materials, and installation method. They are typically located at the ends of the bearing housing, surrounding the shaft. Contact seals often have a flexible lip or rubber-like material in direct contact with the shaft, while non-contact seals feature intricate labyrinth patterns or barrier systems.

What Should Bearing Seals be Checked For?

During routine maintenance checks, bearing seals should be inspected for signs of wear, damage, or leakage. Look for cracks, tears, distortion, or loss of flexibility in contact seals. For non-contact seals, check for debris buildup or signs of contamination in the labyrinth passages. Proper lubrication and alignment are also essential for optimal seal performance.

What Type of Bearing Seal is Best?

The best type of bearing seal depends on the specific application requirements and operating conditions. In environments where cleanliness and minimal friction are paramount, non-contact seals like labyrinth seals offer superior performance. The LAB-100 labyrinth seal, for example, is designed for high performance and durability, certified to IP69K standards for dust and water ingress protection.

Explore Our Bearing Seal - Labyrinth Seal: LAB-100

The LAB-100 is a premium labyrinth seal designed to fit small cross-sectional spaces, offering superior protection for rotating equipment bearing chambers. Key features include:

  • IP69K Certification: Provides robust protection against dust and high-pressure water, ideal for sanitary and harsh environments.
  • Compact Cartridge Design: Easy installation and replacement, suitable for retrofitting into existing equipment.
  • Bi-metallic Construction: Ensures optimum operational performance and longevity.
  • Integrated Sealing Elements: Repellent orifices for inboard oil/bearing fluid and outboard water/dust, plus an integral PTFE barrier seal for added protection.

Discover LAB-100 here.

Contact us today to learn more about the LAB-100 labyrinth seal and how it can enhance the reliability and performance of your equipment. Our team is ready to assist you in finding the perfect sealing solution for your needs.

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