Protective sleeve prevents abrasion and avoids need for expensive repair of seal-worn radial shafts
SKF have introduced the Speedi-Sleeve, a thin, metallic protective sleeve that prevents abrasive damage to radial shafts and costs just a small fraction of the potential repair bill – in the same way that a low-cost screen protector prevents damage to an expensive mobile phone.
In order to work efficiently, radial shaft seals must run against the smooth, round surface of the seal counterface. If the counterface becomes worn – such as when a contaminant works itself under the sealing lip – the sealing system will begin to leak.
In such circumstances, simply replacing the seal will not be enough; the shaft will first have to be repaired so that it is flush with the new seal – at a cost of around £600.
The SKF Speedi-Sleeve combines a proprietary stainless steel material and manufacturing process into a protective sleeve that can be installed over the shaft to prevent damage – though it can also be fitted over a shaft that is already slightly worn.
The sleeves are thin walled (0.28mm) and the contact surface has a finish of Ra 0.25 to 0.5 microns – a better counterface than can often be achieved on a shaft.
Installation takes a few minutes, as it is simply slipped into place. A removable flange on the SKF Speedi-Sleeve simplifies the process and can be left in place provided it does not interfere with other components or reduce lubricant supply to the seal.
Tiny pockets on the sleeve’s surface help to trap lubricant to prevent dry-running of the seal, which can cause excess wear.
SKF say the average cost of a Speedi-Sleeve is around 2.5% of the estimated £600 cost of repairing a worn shaft. The product can be used across a range of industries, including off-highway, mining and cement production, and on appliances including industrial pumps, gearboxes and motor shafts.
Also available is the SKF Speedi-Sleeve Gold, which promises higher abrasion resistance thanks to a thin surface coating on the device that increases durability – and imparts a gold colour to it. It is aimed at environments where there are abrasive contaminants and is particularly effective when combined with SKF Duralife filled-PTFE seals.
The SKF Speedi-Sleeve range is available in shaft diameters from 12mm to 203.2mm, although non-standard sizes can be made for diameters from 211mm to 1,143mm.