31 Aug 2021
Customers often ask us “what is the best way to store my seals?”. We want to ensure our sealing products are stored in the most appropriate way to help our customers get the maximum shelf-life expectancy for them.Hydraulic and pneumatic seals such as rod seals, piston seals, wipers and wear rings can become unusable due to length of time stored and the environment in which they are kept. Seals do have an "expiry date": the maximum storage time for these products is around 5 years. This length of time is dependent on the environmental conditions and the correct storage of the seals in the warehouses.
There are several different elements that effect the life span of a seal. Depending on the material type is one, whether its vulcanized rubber or other elastomers. We advise you not to put seals made of different materials in contact with each other. They should be placed in an adequate space so that they do not suffer deformities.
Factors to consider
The following list covers the main factors to consider when storing your seals.
- Temperature: The temperature of the storage room/area you keep your seals in is detrimental to its life expectancy. If it’s too hot it can melt, causing expansion and de-shape the material making the seal unusable. Storage temperature should not exceed 50°C. It should be noted low temperatures can be just as harmful. Before using a seal after moving it from a cool storage place, ensure it is warmed to 30°C before it is used.
- Humidity: It is important to pay attention to the humidity in the atmosphere. Make sure that it does not exceed 65% and that it is draft-free.
- Light: Direct sunlight and artificial lights that have strong ultraviolet content are harmful to materials like plastic, rubber etc. It is recommended to store seals in opaque containers away from direct light. To ensure no direct sunlight comes through the windows it’s advised to cover them with red or orange screens.
- Oxygen and other gases: As certain materials like rubber are extremely perceptive to the change in the atmosphere, it is extremely important to ensure no machines/equipment are kept in the same storage room. As these may give rise to a change of ozone gases. Which can manipulate the shape of the seal if they were to meet these gases. Storage in airtight containers is the best option for vulcanized rubber items.
- Contact with other materials: Oils and greases should be kept away from the storage area as well as metals like iron and copper. These can have a strong harmful effect on rubber seals especially.
- Cleaning: If cleaning is needed for any of your seals cleaning products that have trichloroethylene, carbon tetrachloride and petroleum are the most harmful agents. Soap and water and methylated spirits are the least harmful, and all parts should be dried at room temperature before use.
If you have any further questions on how to store any specific seals, please do contact one of our experts today. They are always happy to help our customers.