Factors That Can Cause Your Lip Seals To Fail Faster Than Usual

Lip seals can serve an array of purposes depending on what equipment or component they are fitted to, but most often, these rubber seals are designed to control contaminant ingression. In other words, the seals have a primary purpose of preventing contaminants from getting into something like hydraulic fluid or motor oil. Because of this, lip seals serve a critical purpose in spite of their small stature. Therefore, maintaining lip seals will be one of those nagging little things that take up a lot of your time and attention in an industrial setting.

Unfortunately, there are some factors that can cause lip seals to fail more often and leave you having to replace them more often than you should. Check out this short list of factors that can lead to more frequent lip seal replacement.

The lip seal is tightened too securely in place. 

When a new lip seal is installed, it should never be tightened into place so securely that it puts too much stress on the rubber elastomer. If it is, there will be a clear groove cut into the rubber material that can allow contaminants to slip through. If when you remove an old lip seal, you spot a groove cut into it, it is a really good sign that they are being tightened in place in a way that is too aggressive. 

The lip seal is exposed to high temperatures. 

There is bound to be some heat involved with some lip seal applications. For example, a lip seal in a hydraulic pump may see higher temperatures than usual when the pump is in operation. However, if you are not properly maintaining your equipment and it is causing excessive heat in fluids, it can also cause your lip seals to break down faster than they should. There are protective lubricants for lip seals used in high-temperature applications, but you should also be mindful of heat-causing problems with the machinery as well. 

The lip seal can fail due to shaft misalignment. 

The lip seal rests against the shaft to hold in oil and hold out contamination. The shaft should be moving smoothly against that seal so that it does not put stress on the seal. If the shaft of the equipment the seal is on is out of alignment, even to a small degree, it can definitely mean your seal will break down faster than what it should.