Axial Excluder Seal Offers Ideal Alternative to Rubber Seals

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The new SKF axial excluder seal introduces an ideal high-performance alternative to conventional rubber seals for protecting wind turbine main shaft bearings from contaminants. Ultimately, the seal represents an advanced first line of defense against any debris or contaminants the wind may carry and can help wind farm operators significantly reduce the risks of contaminant-related bearing failures and the high costs of associated unplanned downtime, repair, and lost productivity.

Unlike conventional rubber seals typically prone to excessive wear and subsequent failure, the SKF axial excluder seal (designated HRC1) is manufactured from a proprietary SKF polyurethane material exhibiting excellent resistance to wear, abrasion, UV radiation, and ozone.

Key design features include a robust sealing lip to help reduce bending and minimize contact area, friction, and wear; optimized flexibility and engineering geometry allowing axial displacement of + 2 mm; and integrated grooves to keep the sealing edge properly lubricated. In addition, the seal features a stainless steel clamping band with a fast-lock mechanism to facilitate easy up-tower installation and fixation on the shaft, whether for new installations or retrofits.

Early field trials confirmed the HRC1 seal’s performance levels and robustness. Seals installed on 40 separate 2.5 MW turbines operated continuously under real-world conditions and, after three months, an initial inspection revealed only normally expected run-in wear – with no dramatic changes six months later.

HRC1 axial displacement seals are available in standard solid and split versions for shaft sizes from 1m to 3m. Custom solutions can be developed.