Rotary Shaft Seals in the mining industry 1

Rotary Shaft Seals in the Mining Industry

The objective of a rotary shaft seal is to prevent the leakage of oil, grease, and other fluids while also keeping environmental contaminants out. Nowhere is this more important than in the mining industry where vehicles and equipment are generally sealing oil but exposed to the environment.

Drilling tools such as mud motors and rotary steerable drilling systems contain a sealed bearing assembly. In these sealed assemblies, rotary seals are used to retain the bearing lubricant and exclude the drilling fluid and abrasive cuttings. The pressure of the bearing lubricant is typically balanced to the ambient well pressure by an axially movable pressure compensating piston so that the rotary shaft seals are not exposed to high differential pressure.

The mining industry has a long tradition of using the drill and blast method, originally used for extracting the ore from hard rock in large volumes; it is still very popular and widely used in industries such as construction and mining. This method utilises equipment such as boomers (drilling rigs), modular mining machines (MMM) and tunnelling boring machines (TBM), along with excavators and other off road vehicles.

All require a wide variety of seals, including rotary shaft seals. Failure of a seal can lead to serious repercussions that include project downtime, damage to the vehicle, and potential danger to those around the equipment. Because of this, finding the right high quality sealing solution for your application is extremely important.

Fluorocarbon PTFE rotary seals are manufactured to seal liquid and gaseous media in rotating hardware. The PTFE element forms a long life, low friction seal on the shaft and is suitable for use in the most demanding conditions. Material fillers such as graphite can be used to enhance properties such as wear resistance – even for periods of dry running, chemical compatibility and tolerance for high temperatures and pressures.

The jacket element forms a long life, low friction seal on the shaft and is suitable for use in the most demanding conditions including mining equipment, tunnel boring machines, heavy trucks, excavators and bulldozers.

To select the correct design, considerations must be made to the application specifications, including speed, pressure, media and temperature along with lubrication if used.

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