Flexcoat™ Improves Performance of Seals

Trelleborg

Flexcoat™ Improves Performance of Seals

The way seals perform depends on more than just the material they are made of. What’s on the surface matters too. Flexcoat™ coatings and surface treatments from Trelleborg Sealing Solutions can substantially improve friction properties, which is especially important in automated assembly.

Elastomer seals give excellent integrity in numerous static and dynamic applications. However, their tendency to stick to mating counterparts makes them less suitable for dynamic situations and assembly operations where insertion is required. Seals are also inclined to adhere to one another, making automated assembly difficult. To solve these problems, surface treatments can be applied to seals, improving their friction characteristics.

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions recognized that surface finishes could significantly enhance the performance of elastomer seals and have devoted considerable resources to identifying effective coatings and treatments for different applications. This led to the development of the Flexcoat™ range, which gives optimum friction characteristics, enhancing the performance of elastomer seals, especially in automated assembly operations. In addition, benefits are also provided when seals are fitted in plug fit and quick release couplings and allow elastomer seals, usually recommended for static applications, to be used in low speed and short stroke length dynamic situations.

Picture shows automated assembly of O-Rings

“Our seals are judged on their performance as a whole,” says Simone Frick, O-Ring Product Engineer. “We therefore jointly develop and rigorously test in-house the surface treatments in our portfolio. Those we select ensure we can provide the best solutions to our customers, whatever their requirements.”



Details of surface treatments:

For Enhanced assembly

  • Flexcoat™ MF A dry surface coating that improves handling in automated assembly without the contamination of a lubricant. For ‘once only’ assembly such as a single insertion during component build.
  • Flexcoat™ FF For repeated assembly processes, it has excellent resistance to strong forces. Suitable for pharmaceutical, food, and beverage processing, it is compliant with FDA and several other relevant standards.
  • Flexcoat™ CF color A coating that improves assembly and plug-in forces. Available in pink and turquoise, it is ideal for differentiation of similar seals in production processes.
For Dynamic performanceFor Dynamic performance

  • Flexcoat™ SF Outstanding wear resistance and friction properties in dynamic situations.
  • Flexcoat™ LF transparent/ color The transparent coating allows the color of the seal to be visible, important when this is used for identification in assembly operations. The colored versions are ideal for differentiation of similar seals in production processes.
  • Flexcoat™ DF A modification of the seal surface that has minimal affect on the physical properties of the elastomer.
  • Flexcoat™ PF This coating provides engineers with a true alternative to lubrication with oil.


“Our seals are judged on their performance as a whole,” says Simone Frick, O-Ring Product Engineer. “We therefore jointly develop and rigorously test in-house the surface treatments in our portfolio. Those we select ensure we can provide the best solutions to our customers, whatever their requirements.”

Picture shows colored coatings on O-Rings

Details of surface treatment testing by Trelleborg Sealing Solutions

The performance characteristics of surface treatments are evaluated in the Trelleborg Sealing Solutions research and development laboratories. They undergo assembly, endurance and friction tests. In all cases, results for a variety of commonly used elastomers are recorded.

Picture shows assembly testing

Assembly and endurance tests

The test rig consists of a plunger with a split groove into which an elastomer O-Ring is fitted and a counterpart tube of either metal or plastic. A load cell is used to measure force.

For the assembly test the tube is moved up the plunger at approximately 210 mm / 8.25 inches per minute then fully retracted. This is done three times and the force required measured.

For the endurance test, the plunger is inserted into the tube. The tube is moved up and down the plunger 8 mm / 0.3 inches at approximately 210 mm / 8.25 inches per minute 60 times. The maximum and mean forces are recorded.

Friction test

O-Rings are pasted to a plate. This is pressed against a piece of glass at a defined weight. The plate with the O-Rings on is then pulled across the glass at a rate of 500 mm / 19 inches per minute over a distance of 60 mm / 2.4 inches. This is completed three times and the maximum and average forces required for movement over 15 mm / 0.6 inches to 60 mm / 2.4 inches are recorded.

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