Seal Stuff In, Seal Stuff Out Part 1 – Sealing Boots & Bushings
Industrial mechanical equipment must reliably perform essential tasks, even while operating in challenging conditions. The slightest error or malfunction can lead to time-consuming and costly maintenance or repairs. A lack of appropriate or complete sealing can cause failure in industrial machinery, so using appropriate sealing solutions and checking them regularly during maintenance operations can help to avoid unexpected downtime.
Improper sealing of critical elements, such as switches, circuit breakers, and control panels, can leave them vulnerable to adverse environmental conditions. Corrosion, contamination buildup, and electrical malfunction can arise from unwanted indoor or outdoor environmental exposure.
Sealing boots and bushings are employed by numerous industries to preserve the reliability and longevity of various tools, equipment, and their components. These elements act as barriers to protect sensitive components by sealing them from the external environment. Sealing boots are elastomer-based covers that are placed over various types of switch configurations, while bushings are specially designed to protect the mounting holes.
Eliminating the Risk of Contamination
Sealing products can be used in a broad range of industrial applications to form an impenetrable seal that either keeps contaminants in or locks them out. Boots and bushings are typically used to protect equipment against numerous indoor and outdoor contaminants including:
- Extreme temperatures
Extremely high temperatures can cause overheating, which can damage sensitive electrical components in switches. Conversely, extremely low temperatures can result in the formation of ice in the actuator wells if moisture isn’t kept at bay. Sealing boots and bushing seals can prevent these issues by providing effective insulation against extreme hot and cold environments.
- Oil and chemicals
Oils and chemicals resulting from leaks in HVAC systems, elevators, security systems, and other industrial machinery can travel down mounting holes and negatively affect internal circuitry. Sealing solutions, such as boots and bushings, are designed to form a 360° airtight seal around the switch, base, and mounting hole to prevent the intrusion of unwanted fluids. This form of protection also applies to spilled food and beverage items.
- Environmental contaminants
Contamination from the environment occurs as a result of both indoor and outdoor exposure. Rain, snow, dust, and sand are just some of the environmental elements that can seep into the vulnerable areas of electrical equipment and cause a multitude of problems. The presence of salt in the environment can also be especially damaging to various mechanical equipment and components. Salt-rich environments, which can be found near seawater and on roadways with deicing chemicals, can promote or accelerate corrosive processes.
Sealing solutions protect against contamination by forming a hermetic seal which shields sensitive components from these undesirable contaminants and conditions.
Common Industrial Applications
As technology continues to advance, so too does the reliance on electronic and automated mechanisms. These sophisticated systems, however, are highly sensitive to adverse external conditions and prone to frequent malfunction and failure.
Some electrical components also have interdependent systems where the malfunction of one element can impact the entire system. Sealing boots and bushings may be used to protect numerous interdependent mechanical and electrical systems including:
- HVAC systems
- Security systems
- Circuit breakers
- Communication switches
- Vehicular components
- Instrumentation panels
- Aircraft control panels
- Emergency systems – fire, ambulance, EMS
- Utility systems – electricity, gas, water
- Drilling systems and drilling monitoring systems
APM Hexseal Sealing Solutions
APM Hexseal offers a broad range of sealing products to help protect almost any mechanical or electrical device. Our seals are specially designed to extend the life of a wide array of switch configurations in the most demanding environmental conditions. Some of the sealing solutions offered by APM Hexseal include:
- Toggle boots: These seals are ideal for switches that are actuated in a back and forth motion.
- Pushbutton boots: Our pushbutton boots are engineered to protect switches that are operated by a push or press motion.
- Rotary boots: These boots are designed to accommodate the rotational motion of rotary switches and can also withstand friction without impeding actuation movement.
- Circuit breaker boots: Circuit breaker boots help to seal and protect breaker switches, preventing short-circuits and potential fire hazards.
- Rocker boots: These seals protect rocker switch panels while accommodating their unique actuating movements.
- Busing seals: Bushing seals complement sealing boots by protecting vulnerable mounting holes.
Our engineering team can also provide customized engineered solutions to meet the requirements of any unique application. If you are interested in using our sealing solutions to protect your electrical or mechanical equipment, feel free to contact us or request your quote today.