Save time with seals and lubes

Oct. 1, 2009
This Time Saving Technology department introduces new ideas and products to help you design more efficiently and become a faster problem solver. This month, we take a look at some of the newest sealing and lubrication solutions to get your creations going

Free online seal configurator speeds time to market

The Sealing Solutions Configurator is a free online tool that helps engineers identify the right sealing solution for their specific application. First, users select the industry and market segment, then the type of equipment or machinery that requires sealing. Next, users select the application type from a menu, and specify operating parameters. In just a few seconds, a recommendation is provided.

The aim of the online tool is to speed the design process and time to market. Users can also configure solutions for their applications and store them in a project area; any stored project can be opened and reworked at a later date. Technical experts and other timesaving tools are also available through the website.

For more information, visit

High-performance epoxies provide flexible hermetic sealing options

Back-potted epoxy hermetic seals offer fast, reliable, and low-cost alternatives to standard ceramic or glass seals. The back-potted seals provide fully harnessed pressure and vacuum sealing that can be customized to specific application needs. These seals reportedly eliminate drawbacks associated with generic glass or ceramic connectors, which traditionally come with only solder cups or PCB tails — potential points of failure. Without a wire harness, generic connectors also require additional assembly work and sometimes investment in tooling, training, quality control, and testing. In contrast, back potting provides end users with a customized and prewired solution in weeks instead of months.

Engineers can specify from a range of common plastic and metal connectors, jam-nuts and O-rings, wall mounts, radial O-rings, and seals that accommodate both fiber-optic connectors and cables. The epoxy material used in these back-potted seals can withstand pressure to 15,000 psi and temperatures ranging from cryogenic to more than 350° F.

For more information, visit

Sealing component surface treatment reduces COF

Sealing components made of elastomeric materials can have high surface energies (tackiness) and a high coefficient of friction (COF) — meaning they often stick together in a troublesome manner during high-volume manufacturing. In short, wherever an elastomeric seal mates with a moving component, detrimental “stiction” can result. RFN (reduced friction by nanotechnology) treatment prevents stiction and extends life. The RFN process consists of applying a surface modification to rubber components to reduce the COF; RFN surfaces have high resistance to abrasion and aggressive fluids.

Here's how it works: Rubber sealing components are placed into the RFN equipment. Required media are added and the process is turned on. A surface modification takes place within the equipment, resulting in a permanent surface change that will not flake off over time. Process control includes both visual inspection and COF testing of each batch. The inert treatment improves valve-sealing components, diaphragms, and applications where quick response time and load/torque reduction are required.

For more information, visit

Lube-free pillow blocks reduce maintenance time

Newly released lubrication-free pillow block assemblies handle high temperatures and submerged environments that do not permit the use of grease and oil. Pillow Block Model 163 is a rugged design for moderate-speed applications under high or low load. This heavy-duty unit is available in cast iron or stainless steel; a cast iron split-angle housing is also available. It is meant for high-temperature applications such as ovens, dragline conveyors, and dampers — as well as wet applications in washdown and submerged settings like plating tanks and industrial washers.

Self-lubricating Graphalloy surfaces are central to the pillow block performance. Graphalloy has a low coefficient of friction and is chemically resistant, nongalling, and constant throughout. The special surface also extends life, for less time spent on maintenance. Besides Model 163, other pillow block models are available to meet a variety of speed and load conditions. They come in a range of sizes and housings, in two and four-bolt arrangements, and solid, split, and self-aligning configurations. Flange and custom models are also available.

For more information, visit

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