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Bearing Housing Protector Seals for Gearboxes

By Chris Rehmann and Alan Roddis, Aesseal |

Lubricant contamination in gearbox bearing housings can substantially reduce gear life. In critical applications, dual-face, magnetic bearing-protector seals will keep contamination out (Figure 1). Dual-face, magnetic bearing protectors are preferred in many difficult applications, such as wet cooling tower gearboxes, while advanced rotating labyrinth seals are more universally applicable. Both users and gearbox manufacturers should consider peripheral shaft speed, shaft movement and lubrication method. However, all things considered, fully sealing a gearbox by retrofitting advanced bearing protector seals is highly cost-effective. Because many gearboxes operate in environments that are heavily polluted, traditional lip seals or labyrinth seals should not be considered. In these environments, even close-clearance, non-contacting rotating labyrinth seals, shown in Figure 2, may not be ideal. Rotating labyrinth seals have an open gap that allows communication between the housing-internal and external environments. Unless ambient air is excluded, the oil cleanliness condition in these gearboxes may be unacceptable. Therefore, bearing housings with closed vents and face-type seals employing mechanical seal principles and advanced metallurgy…
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