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All about Swivel Seals

Swivel seals are components of specific rotary unions, applied predominantly in hydraulic equipment, to transmit pressure between the chassis and the body. They derive their name from the verb swivel, which is a descriptive of two conjoined parts where one moves or rotates without moving the other part. Swivel seals are mostly applied in slow rotating joints and thus come under very high pressure, which brings about a need for such a seal to be made in a way that can comfortably handle the pressure. A lot of the information available on swivel seals is very technical and complicated, which leaves business owners who lack the specialized technical expertise at the mercy of their technicians. Well, we would want to change that. Information, is power. We have prepared this article to empower you as a business owner, and to ensure that all your swivel seals needs are met in the most cost effective, appropriate and efficient way possible. In this case by certified, reliable and dependable professionals.

Swivel seals are divided into three main categories:

  • Low friction swivel seals;
  • High pressure swivel seals; and
  • Ultra-high pressure swivel seals.
  1. Low friction Swivel Seals

Low friction swivel seals operate at a pressure of up to 5,000psi (350bar), in a low friction environment. They are mostly applied in rotary couplings that call for reduction of friction to the bare minimum. Predominantly applied in hydraulics, low friction swivel seals are longer and more flexible when compared to the high pressure seals. The pressure value provided with each seal is a guideline that should never be violated in usage as it depends on the seal housing and design, the fluid or medium used, seal material and configuration and the operating temperatures and pressure, among other considerations. To derive the best possible life expectancy from your seals, never operate them above 75% of their operating limit.

  1. High pressure swivel seals


As the name rightfully suggests, high pressure swivel seals operate at a high pressure of about 5,000psi (350bar). Regularly made of high performance elastomer, the seals here are stiffer and shorter than the low pressure variety, to enable them withstand the high pressure better. Achieving the best sealing performance is dependent on a number of factors, chief among them being the material used in making the seal, and the operating environment. To achieve the best possible performance, contact professional swivel seal manufacturers who can provide customized seals, made to fit your exact needs and specifications.

  1. Ultra-high pressure swivel seals

Ultra-high pressure swivel seals operate in environments with pressure of up to 10,000psi (690bar). With such high pressure comes a myriad of challenges such as overheating brought about by an increase in interfacial contact pressure, adverse deformation and seal shuttling due to different pressure and component pressure breathing among others. Due to these factors, this seal has to be made of very high performance elastomers and supported by modular backup rings.

In conclusion, there is need to choose the best possible swivel seal in the market in order to increase efficacy and the smooth running of hydraulic systems. We hope that this article has at least equipped you with the basics, and you will now face the need for swivel seals from a position that is better informed than before.

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