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American HIGH Performance Seal

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5 Factors to Consider When Designing FDA Seals for Food Contact

When considering seal design for FDA seals specifically for food contact, there are 5 factors that must be considered:

Operating Conditions
This might sound obvious, but a seal designer may focus on different concerns than you with regard to the operating conditions. Too often a seal designer is asked to focus on one particular parameter and upon closer review, it is the combination of two or three parameters that present the real challenges.

Here are the application details you should share with your seal designer:
• Type of movement(s)
• Operating Pressure, and normal speed, and temperature at this pressure.
• Maximum Pressure, and speed and temperature at this pressure.
• Maximum Speed
• Maximum Temperature

Seal Fitment and Machine Assembly
Many FDA seals have fitment issues that can be addressed at the initial design stage. If these are not addressed at this stage, these issues can present insurmountable obstacles at latter stages of the production process. Many seals require an open housing and will either be damaged or impossible to fit in a closed gland. The direction of insertion of the seal into the housing and shaft through the seal can also present real challenges.

We strongly recommend that you provide your seal manufacturer with a general assembly drawing as early as possible in the process to overcome or minimize this issue.

Housing and Counter Surface Materials
FDA seals for the food industry uses many housing, piston and shaft materials that present challenges to seal design. I have lost count of how many times I have had a design in mind only to be told “oh by the way the shaft is an exotic material is that a problem?”

Counter surface materials can drastically reduce the possible seal materials available to the designer and should communicated to the design team ASAP. For example, an aluminum housing necessitates a different seal material than a stainless housing.

Media Being Sealed
This is especially important if there is either the possibility the media will be changing in operation, or that the equipment being designed is to be suitable for a wide range of media. The media is a important factor driving the seal design and seal material selection. Sometimes, it is necessary to have more than one sealing option available depending upon the media.

Cleaning Method
How the equipment will be cleaned in service can have a huge effect on seal design. It is not uncommon to discover that the best seal design and material for the application is totally unsuitable for the intended cleaning method. As soon as this is known it should be communicated to the seal designer to ensure application, media and cleaning method to be deployed are all considered together.

Want to Know More About Our FDA Seal Design Process?
The best way to make the FDA seal design process go smoothly is to provide the information above to a seal designer at the very beginning of the process to make the best recommendation for a suitable seal that provides the longest possible life in service.

Do you have a question about FDA seal design? Simply go to our Contact Us page and complete our contact form. Your email will be reviewed within 1 hour. Or give us a call at our toll-free number: (800) 283-7140.
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The Features of the New High-Performance Rotary Seal for Challenging Applications

The SB40W seal has been designed to meet the ever-increasing demands for high pressure rotary seals. These seals are a double lipped spring energized seals with some very important features for critical applications.

High pressure – The dual lip seal design allows this high pressure rotary seal to have an operating pressure of 200 psi with maximum spike rating of 300 psi at low speeds.

High speed – Surface speeds of up to 3,500 fpm are possible with this seal at low pressures.

Runout – At low fpm the seal can accept runout as high as 0.020” due to the spring loaded primary lip design.

Sealability – Increased sealability due to optimized double lip design, especially under flooded conditions.

Positive static sealing of the bore – The design of the elastomeric anti-rotation device, not only eliminates seal rotation in the bore, but provides a long term positive seal of the bore. This is especially important where product build up is known to occur.

Does not damage soft housings – The soft outside diameter (OD) eliminates housing damage due to seal insertion and removal. This is especially advantageous when housing bore is a stainless, duplex or an exotic overlay.

Wide range of material options – The seal construction allows us to best match the materials to meet the challenges your product presents, be they chemical, thermal or product instability. There are FDA compliant options available as well as grades with wide chemical resistance; water applications, dry running and fire-resistant fluids.

Want to Know More About the New High-Performance Rotary Seal?

Whether these are high-pressure rotary seals or spring energized seals, AHP Seals can give you the best advice to find the perfect sealing solution for your need. Give us a call at our toll-free number: (800) 283-7140, or go to our Contact Us page for other methods to reach us, or complete the online contact form for fast answers.

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Seal Materials for FDA Seals Designed for Food Processing

The predominant approach to FDA seals for the food industry has been to simply take a seal design for industrial applications and use materials that are approved for food contact. Yet, seals in food processing equipment operate under conditions that are very different from industrial applications.

1. The media to be sealed rarely provides sufficient lubrication for the seal.
2. In many cases, the media is abrasive to seal materials.
3. Shaft materials are made from soft stainless steels and can be easily grooved by seal lips.
4. The media being processed contains lyes and acids.
5. The equipment is subject to wash down or in-place cleaning that normally contains caustic chemicals.
6. The seal materials must inhibit bacteria growth.
7. The seal geometry must be conducive to effective cleaning.
8. The seal materials must comply with FDA and EU regulations.

Introducing Duralast 4331
To address the above and have a durable and long-lasting seal, American High Performance Seals is happy to introduce its seal material Duralast 4331.

Duralast 4331 is a high-performance seal material that complies with FDA, 3A and EC standards. These show great resistance to C.I.P. fluids, as well as serve as solid chemical resistant seals with high chemical resistance to the diluted acids and lyes in food stuffs.

The material exhibits some very useful properties:
a. Very abrasion resistant (low wear even against dry flavorings and salts).
b. Has over 300% elongation, making it very flexible and easy to fit.
c. Low compression set (maintains its load over long periods).
d. Low swell (especially in mineral oils and fatty foodstuffs).
e. Ability to seal high pressure or large gaps.

Need FDA Seals Designed for Food Processing?

The engineers at American High Performance Seals have already developed over 100 different seal geometries to meet the challenges of the food processing industry, and are at your disposal to develop one for your application if one does not already exist. Call us at (800) 283-7140, or fill out our contact form with your specific seal design needs today.
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The Fallacy of You Get What You Pay for and Other Fallacies When Receiving Seal Design Services

The common statement of “you get what you pay for” generally means low price = low quality or high price = high quality. In regard to seal design, this statement is not only misleading, but can also lead to the opposite of the desired result. It is better to look at seal sourcing through the prism of “How can I get what I NEED?” Below are a few points to consider when selecting the best seal for your needs.

1. The same seal in the same material is identical.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only does the geometry make a huge difference, but also any generic seal material has many grades and this has a huge impact on performance. If it is a simple low speed gearbox seal under no pressure, and never replaced due to failure, then the likelihood is that most available lip seals will meet your needs. If the seal is used in a more challenging application, then the seal may or may not have the right geometry and material grade to meet your needs.

2. Are you always getting the same seal?
If you are an OEM, then this is a very important question. If you are dealing with a seal manufacturer, the answer is yes, almost all of the time. However, if you get your seals through a seal distributor or stockist, this is critical information. Many stockists concentrate on keeping seals in stock and sourcing in a cost-effective manner. This means, on occasion, they will change suppliers or even deliver a shipment of the same seal but from different manufacturers. If you have a seal issue, it might be impossible to ascertain which are the problem seals, where the problem seals have been fitted, and how many seals may have an issue.

3. Seal catalogues allow me to select the best seal.
This really depends on your seal experience and knowledge. Generally, when you look at a seal catalogue or page on a website, it will display a number of seals with identical operating ranges, and will encourage you to select the best one. Then you find that only one of the options is available in your size and you select that one. It is likely that the one currently in stock is stocked because it covers more applications than other seals and is, therefore, efficient to stock. What is efficient for the supplier to stock isn’t necessarily the seal that you NEED. If your needs are modest, then this approach is more than adequate. If your needs are more complex, then you should explain your needs to a seal engineer for a recommendation. The seal engineer should explain why the seal he selected is better than the others with similar operating parameters.

4. If I have a seal problem, I just switch to a more expensive material:
This is probably the most common error made in the use of seals. Materials that cost more have particular properties that are necessary in only some specific applications and require more expensive ingredients or special manufacturing processes. For the application for which they are designed, they do an admirable job; but as a general rule, they may also have some properties which are significantly poorer than more common seal materials. As a result, you may pay 3 to 4 times as much for the same seal in a more expensive material and get less service life out of it. Always speak to a seal engineer to help him understand your application and its needs. This will probably save you money in seal cost and expensive repairs or warranties.

5. Adding a safety factor to the temperature to ensure I am good.
This happens daily and is a dangerous way to ensure a well-designed, strongly performing seal. Adding 50ᵒF to a high temperature seals required operating range can lead to the elimination of the best material for the job. As a general statement, when a seal material’s temperature tolerance increases, at least one of the mechanical properties that make the seal work is compromised. This can lead to the requirement for auxiliary devices, and even then, poorer service life. On many occasions, this can lead to the seal costing three times as much as it should and result in half the service life.

6. I don’t need technical support?
If this is an existing application that has never had an issue, the answer maybe you are correct! If the seal is a critical part of your equipment, then technical support may be vital. If you have an equipment issue, the most important thing is to get to the root cause. Your seal manufacturer should be able to help you do this. They should be able to look at how the equipment operates, understand the issues, and help you to find a suitable solution. If the seal is not the root cause, the seal engineer should still be a useful resource to help diagnose and solve the issue. In my opinion, if the only answer you get is that there is nothing wrong with the seal, then even if they are correct, they have failed in their duty to give you technical support.

In summary, always look at what you need from your seal and its supplier first, and then look for a match. If your needs are modest, then a price-driven selection approach may be the correct one. If the seal is a critical item for you, then ensure you work with a seal manufacturer that can not only meet your needs but also explain how they will do so!

Need Help Selecting the Seal Design that is Right for Your Business?
Avoid the pitfall of the fallacies such as “you get what you pay for” and reach out to one of our Seal Engineers. Our Seal Engineers have the necessary experience to recommend the best seal design for any application. Call us at (800) 283-7140, or fill out our contact form on our Contact Us page.
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Autofrettage Seal

Autofrettage is a necessary step in the seal design production process for pressure-retaining vessels in which enormously high pressure is used to plastically yield internal portions of the part to produce internal compressive residual stresses once the pressure is released.

This process increases the durability of high-pressure pump cylinders, gun barrels, diesel fuel injection systems, and downhole tubular components, to name a few.

Traditionally, one of the weak points has been the seal design of the plugs used to seal off the ports on the parts to enable the buildup to such ultra-high pressure levels. Working together with certain customers, American High Performance Seals, Inc., has developed a high-pressure seal specifically for the autofrettage process. This seal can be designed and manufactured to specifically match your plug sizes, and has been proven to reliably allow pressurization as high as 90,000 psi.

Need Seal Design for Your Autofrettage Sealing Application?

For your autofrettage sealing application, contact the American High Performance Seals’ engineers with your details: or complete our simple contact form to get started right away.
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The Race to One Million PV in High Pressure Seals

As equipment requires higher and higher speeds and pressures, the race to one million PV is on. Critical to this is the ability for a seal to handle higher and higher PVs.

Traditionally, contact seals have maxed out at 250,000 PV; however, we have recognized that if we are to aid our customers in winning this race, we need a new approach to seal design.

Currently, we have developed high pressure seals that are helping certain customers with very specific applications get higher PVs than were previously possible as they push ahead in this race.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. However, for many applications, a partnership development approach is successful when designing a sealing solution that works in that specific application. This approach involves an all-encompassing design approach that covers hardware design and materials, as well as fluid and seal matching.

Are you one of the cutting-edge companies that are looking to get ahead in the PV race? Contact our engineering department to start the high pressure seal development process.

Need to know more about High Pressure Seals (PV)?
Read the blog post: High Pressure Seals (PV) FAQ for more details. Or contact us using our contact form or via telephone at (800) 283-7140.
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High Pressure Seals (PV) FAQ

What is PV?
PV is simply Pressure x Velocity and is generally expressed in psi x fpm.

How is it calculated?
Pressure (psi) x Surface Velocity {shaft Ø (inches*.262) x rpm} (fpm)

What does AHPS PV Rating mean?
The AHPS PV rating is a way to match your application to a high pressure seal’s ability to handle the stress it will experience in your application. PV ratings are specific to product groupings as a way to compare seals within that grouping and aid in finding the best match. Within each product group on our website you will find a PV rating calculator to allow you to calculate the PV rating for your application. This will then allow you to see which seal designs could be used.

Why is it important?
PV gives an indication of the maximum stress a seal can handle, as the real enemy is the frictional heat created at the shaft/seal interface as the shaft rotates in high temperature shaft seals. Beyond a certain PV, it becomes impossible to cool the shaft sufficiently to maintain the under-seal lip temperature within the acceptable range.

Can I use the PV limit to calculate my pressure limit at a certain RPM or vice versa?
No, the pressure and velocity limits of the seal material are fixed and do not change due to the PV number. For instance, seals have pressure limits that cannot be exceeded regardless of the shaft RPM. Likewise, seals have velocity limits that cannot be exceeded regardless of how low the pressure is.

If the PV number is the same, can I use the same seal regardless if the pressure is the dominant number or velocity is the dominant number?
No, high pressure damages seals in a completely separate manner than high speed does. This is why we have seals designed for three types of operating conditions for the same PV number: High Pressure Low Speed (HPLS); High Speed Low Pressure (HSLP); and Medium Speed Medium Pressure (MSMP)

Is the PV limit for a seal a fixed limit?
No, it is very application specific. Many factors can help or hinder seal performance in a high PV application: Extrusion gap; fluid viscosity at application temperature; eccentricity; run out; shaft surface finish; heat transfer; cycle length and frequency, etc. It is recommended that you consult with one of our engineers if your PV number exceeds 60% of the published limit.

Is there a standard test for establishing a PV limit on seals?
No, each manufacturer uses its own test; it may not even be a seal test, but a bearing material test. There is so much more to a PV seal design than the material’s PV limit. There is no way to compare one manufacturer’s PV limits with another’s.

AHP Seals is the Best Choice for High Pressure Seals
Whether it is for high pressure rotary shaft seals, high pressure oil seals or high pressure hydraulic seals, AHP can deliver for you. Our Seal Engineers have the necessary experience to recommend the best seal design for any high pressure/high temperature application. Call us at (800) 283-7140, or fill out our contact form on our Contact Us page.
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An Oil Seal is an Oil Seal is an Oil Seal–Or is It?

As long as they are the same style and material, an oil seal is an oil seal. At least that is what most people think.

Putting aside potential differences in material and concentrating just on actual geometry, this statement is wrong. The question is does it matter for you?

The attached picture shows the cross-sectional cutaways of the lip from oilfield seals of the same style made by four different common seal manufacturers.

As you can see, there is quite a difference in the design.

Differences Between Oil Seals

Differences can be observed for the following:
• Length of bevel lip
• Position of the sealing lip contact point
• Position of the spring relative to the sealing lip contact point
• Geometry of the back face
• Thickness of the sealing lip
• Stiffness of the sealing lip

The question is if there are differences in the seal design of the same seal between one manufacturer and another, does it matter in my application?

The simple answer is it may or it may not. If your application is not particularly taxing on the seal, it probably does not matter as all four of the above would do a “good enough” job. If, however, you have sporadic unexplained seal failures, have a more arduous application, or you simply cannot afford a seal failure, then it definitely does matter.

The selection of the most suitable seal geometry by an experienced seal designer should be sought out when you are in doubt.

Contact AHP Seals for Oilfield Seal Design
Does your oil seal design matter? We think it does. Reach out to one of our seal design engineers by calling (800) 283-7140, or fill out our contact form on our Contact Us page to get the process started
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