SKF’s new generation of Mudblock radial shaft cassette seals for the front and rear wheel-ends on agricultural and construction machines have been specially designed, developed and engineered for heavy-duty jobs and to ensure reliable performance even in the most stringent and demanding environments.
That’s according to André Weyers, SKF Product Manager: Seals, who said wheel-end bearings in agricultural and construction equipment often endure intensive and long operational hours as front and rear wheel axles are constantly being exposed to a host of contaminants like water, mud, dust, grass and cement.
“These gruelling operating conditions can lead to seal failures that allow contaminant ingress and lubricant loss, which eventually result in premature bearing failures and subsequent unplanned machine stoppages,” he warned.
“Farmers and contractors are under increasing pressure to maximise production while driving down operation expenditure (OPEX).”
But, said Weyers, heel-end bearing failures can be extremely costly for these end-users in terms of reduced productivity and high maintenance costs, especially if one takes into account that farmers have only a very limited planting and harvesting window so the breakdown of equipment like tractors presents a huge problem.
“Contractors also cannot afford stoppages as they face penalties if they fail to meet construction deadlines.” He said that from an Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEM) perspective, these failures can result in increased warranty claims while customer relationships and brand reputations can be tarnished.
SKF believes its MUD11 seals present the perfect multi-lip, cassette sealing solution for off-highway, oil-lubricated applications.
“We subjected our new generation SKF Mudblock cassette seals to a series of punishing performance tests. The results showed that the seals lasted up to 50% longer and operated with up to 20% less seal friction compared to an alternative product, while offering superior oil retention and contamination exclusion under extremely harsh conditions,” said Weyers.
“For end-users, superior performance, improved reliability and prolonged wheel-end service life mean reduced maintenance and extended uptime, and thus a more productive and profitable operation.”
The SKF Mudblock sealing lip material consists of a unique nitrile rubber compound as standard. This advanced material, which is compatible with most synthetic oils, is specially developed by SKF to help reduce wear and ageing. The seals are also available in other elastomeric materials to meet diverse temperature and rotational speed requirements.
The unit’s half-metal / half-rubber OD (outside diameter) improves static sealing, heat dissipation and retention in the housing while the full rubber ID (inside diameter) contributes to effective static sealing and helps reduce the assembly force required for installation.
The seals feature an integrated wear sleeve as the main lip counter-face, which eliminates the need for expensive shaft machining operations like grinding and hardening. The spring-loaded main lip is supported by pre-greased auxiliary radial and axial lips for maximum protection against liquid or solid contaminant ingress.
The main sealing lip also keeps the sealing lips lubricated and promotes sealing ability regardless of rotation direction. The seal and sleeve are unitised with a curled design feature which promotes easier installation and dismount thus preventing seal disassembly that could damage the critical surfaces during transportation, handling and installation.
Available in a 25mm to 250mm shaft size range, the SKF Mudblock cassette seals are fully interchangeable with alternative seal designs available in the market, conveniently offering a range of extensively tested pre-validated sealing retrofit options.