An Oil Seal is an Oil Seal is an Oil Seal–Or is It?

As long as they are the same style and material, an oil seal is an oil seal. At least that is what most people think.

Putting aside potential differences in material and concentrating just on actual geometry, this statement is wrong. The question is does it matter for you?

The picture below shows the cross-sectional cutaways of the lip from oilfield seals of the same style made by four different common seal manufacturers.


Four different oilfield seals designed by different manufacturers

As you can see, there is quite a difference in the design.


Differences Between Oil Seals

Differences can be observed for the following:

  • Length of bevel lip
  • Position of the sealing lip contact point
  • Position of the spring relative to the sealing lip contact point
  • Geometry of the back face
  • Thickness of the sealing lip
  • Stiffness of the sealing lip

The question is if there are differences in the seal design of the same seal between one manufacturer and another, does it matter in my application?

The simple answer is it may or it may not.  If your application is not particularly taxing on the seal, it probably does not matter as all four of the above would do a “good enough” job. If, however, you have sporadic unexplained seal failures, have a more arduous application, or you simply cannot afford a seal failure, then it definitely does matter.

The selection of the most suitable seal geometry by an experienced seal designer should be sought out when you are in doubt.

 Contact AHP Seals for Oilfield Seal Design

Does your oil seal design matter? We think it does. Reach out to one of our seal design engineers by calling (800) 283-7140, or fill out our contact form on our Contact Us page to get the process started