Rubber seals have a wide variety of uses across many different industries. Often, these seals act as gatekeepers, locking in air or liquids and locking out any outside elements that could ruin an application.
But while one rubber seal may look much the same as the next, the reality is that having the right seal for each job is essential. It's not just the right size that's important, things like temperature resistance, toxic chemical resistance, durability, and pureness of the materials may also be important for your specific application.
For that reason, it's a good idea to know ahead of time exactly what you need to ask a supplier to make sure you're getting the right seals for the job. Keep reading to learn a few questions to ask to find the right rubber seals for your applications.
Here are 5 Questions to Ask to Find the Best Rubber Seals for Your Applications:
1. Are These Seals Temperature Resistant?
In an industrial or automotive setting, one of the most important questions to ask is whether a rubber seal is designed to stand up to extreme heat.
It's easy to forget that when machines or vehicles get moving, the individual parts that allow them to run can experience very high temperatures as a result of friction and engines running. Even a heavy-duty seal may quickly break down, dry out or even crack when temperatures rise.
2. Can These Seals Be Sterilized?
If your rubber seals will be used in a medical setting, odds are that they will also need to be sterilized, no matter what purpose they actually serve in that environment.
However, just because seals are made from rubber doesn't mean that they can all be properly sterilized. Additionally, some seals may be made from materials that contain impurities. If the seals are used for an extended period of time or under harsh conditions, those materials could leach from the seal, leaving them and their surroundings no longer safe or sterile.
If you aren't going to be using seals in a medical environment, you probably don't need seals that have been sterilized, as this may raise the cost of your seals.
3. Can This Seal Come in Contact With Other Materials?
Just as industrial and automotive industries see extreme temperature changes, they also often involve a variety of oils and other lubricants. One important question you can't overlook is whether the rubber used to make a certain seal will hold up when in contact with these materials.
Oil isn't the only material you need to think about. Water and steam can also affect the performance of a seal, so you need to mention to a manufacturer if it's likely that your seals will come in contact with them.
4. Are These Seals Designed for the Situation You Plan to Use Them in?
Asking questions about whether a certain seal can hold up to extreme temperatures or if they can be sterilized is important, but just because a seal meets those requirements doesn't necessarily mean that they are the right choice for your application.
For instance, nitrile rubber is commonly used to make o-rings. It is durable and strong, which would seem like a good choice for a medical environment. However, nitrile rubber isn't a medical grade. It contains phthalates, which are banned for use in medical devices. It can also break down when exposed to ozone.
On the flipside, nitrile rubber is very oil resistant, making it a better choice in industrial or automotive settings.
Before you order rubber seals, make sure you check that they are designed for use in the applications that you plan to use them for.
5. What Do I Need to Know About Balancing Quality With Cost?
While it's important to choose rubber seals designed to hold up to the environment you'll be using them in, you also don't need to pay for more seal than you really need. You also don't want to overpay for the right seals for your application.
It can be tough to decide whether a company is giving you a good price. That's why it's best to choose a supplier you can trust right from the start. Apple Rubber can help you find the quality medical, industrial, and automotive materials you need at the right price.