For your bearing to work optimally, it needs a good bearing seal. These seals are designed to block contaminants from reaching the inner parts. They also prevent the liquid inside from leaking out. Having them is essential to increase your bearing’s lifespan. But, it is important that you choose the right seal for your parts. Let’s look at the different seals available and how to choose one.
Types of Bearing Seals
There are three types of seals for bearings; contact seals, non-contact seals, and labyrinth seals. Let’s look at each of them separately and their functions.
- Contact Seals
Contact seals are also called lip seals. They are the rubber part bonded to a steel insert. They apply pressure throughout the inner ring of the bearing. By doing so, it creates contact; hence the name contact seals.
These seal types prevent contaminants like dirt, dust, and moisture from reaching your bearing’s inner parts through direct contact. They also keep lubricants inside the bearing. But the direct contact creates heat and friction on the internal components of the bearing. Unfortunately, too much heat can damage the bearing parts and the seals leading to parts failing prematurely. Also, the added friction can affect the speed of the bearing. So when choosing contact seals, you need to decide whether excellent sealing performance matters more than the risk of wear and tear and a decrease in maximum speed.
- Non-contact seals
These seals are also bonded to a steel insert. However, the difference is that these types are installed on the outer rings. They won’t apply pressure to your bearing’s inner rings. Non-contact seals https://ph.rs-online.com/web/c/bearings-seals/ don’t touch the inner ring of the bearing. But, they have a thin lip placed adjacent to them. As such, it helps block contaminants from entering the bearing and leakage from coming out. However, they aren’t as effective as contact seals. But because there is no contact with the bearing’s inner ring, there is less friction, meaning overheating and other potential problems will not be an issue.
- Labyrinth seals
These seals merge elements of both contact and non-contact seals into one element. It acts as an isolator that prevents contaminations and leakages by creating separate paths for the components to follow. The seals have several pieces, including one that doesn’t move and the other that rotates as the system moves. When these pieces interlock, they create a thin and grooved path. Therefore, it makes it hard for things to penetrate or escape inside and outside the bearing.
Labyrinth seals are complex, allowing them to offer excellent performance. It blocks contaminants from going in and prevents leakages without touching the contact ring. So, this seal offers the same functions as contact seals but doesn’t create friction. However, while it provides exceptional sealing, it is not all perfect. Remember that the seal is generally complex, meaning it requires more space than other seals. But this may be impossible in some applications.
Additionally, their complexity makes them naturally expensive. So, it is not suitable for a budget-conscious individual.
Choosing the Right Seal for You
Several factors can help you decide which bearing seal to buy. These include physical space, necessary lubricants, and maximum temperature. These elements affect the bearing seal you choose and the material needed for the application. If you are confused about the option to choose, you can always seek professional help. Although this comes at an additional cost, it is a sure way of knowing the right seal for your application.