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Speedi-Sleeve avoids need for expensive repair of seal-worn shafts

18 April 2016

Protective sleeve from SKF fits over radial shaft to prevent abrasion – in the same way that a screen protector prevents damage to an expensive mobile phone.

A thin, metallic protective sleeve from SKF prevents abrasive damage to radial shafts, and costs a small fraction of the potential repair bill.

In order to work efficiently, radial shaft seals must run against a smooth, round surface of the seal counterface. If the counterface becomes worn – such as by a contaminant working itself under the sealing lip – the sealing system will begin to leak. Simply replacing the seal will not be enough. First, the shaft will have to be repaired so that it is flush with the new seal – at a cost of around £600.

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 slightly worn. The sleeves are thin walled (at 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 installation, and can be left in place as long as 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 that creates excess wear.

The average cost of an SKF Speedi-Sleeve is around £15 – just 2.5 percent of the estimated £600 cost of repairing a worn shaft. A screen protector on a mobile phone works on the same principle: it is inexpensive, easy to replace, and prevents costly damage to the screen itself.

It 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 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 12 to 203.2mm, though non-standard sizes can be made for diameters of 211 to 1,143mm.

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