• Industrial
  • Mining

Thordon Extending Seal Life in Tough Mining Environments

Thor-FlexThordon Bearings, a Canadian manufacturer known for its award-winning water-lubricated non-polluting marine shaft bearings and seals, is gaining considerable traction in the global mining sector with its Thor-Flex seal in pneumatic cylinder applications.

One recent success story is the replacement of conventional rubber seals on 28 pneumatic cylinders which had been sent for refurbishment to RMH Industries, Thordon’s authorized distributor in Quebec, Canada.

The cylinders are used for unloading mining dump wagons. Typically, each wagon is equipped with two pneumatic air cylinders on each side. In this application, the cylinders operate at a pressure of 861 kPa (125 psi), under highly abrasive conditions. Each cylinder relies on two seals for operation, one 711mm (28in)  in diameter, and the other 635mm (25in) diameter.

The seals were previously made from a rubber material, but having used Thordon’s Thor-Flex seal in similar pneumatic cylinder applications, the distributor suggested that the life of the seals could be significantly extended if Thor-Flex was specified for these mining wagons.

Nicolas Rioux, Quality Control Manager at RMH Industries said: “Replacing the previous rubber seals with Thor-Flex seals ensures that the cylinders will offer a considerably longer service life before the customer needs to refurbish them again, while at the same time offering better sealing than conventional materials.”

Thor-Flex is an elastomeric polymer material with high mechanical strength, along with  self-lubricating properties making it highly suitable for cylinder seals in challenging environments. Thor-Flex offers superior yield strength to other seals on the market, and have a high resistance to permanent deformation. They can safely operate in temperatures from -50°C to +90°C (-60°F to 195 °F), and at pressures up to 103,421 kPa (15,000 psi). They are able to work in abrasive, corrosive environments at high levels of humidity and can resist high impact loads.

“We have been designing and producing custom Thor-Flex solutions and products for over 30 years,” said Scott Groves, Thordon’s Regional Manager – Americas. “Years of custom formulation and elastomer design experience allows our technical experts to provide our customers with solutions that meet or exceed the technical requirements of the application. These include high performance elastomers for non-bearing applications, offering extremely high resistance to abrasion and vibration, high cut and tear resistance, increased shock absorption and reduced noise when replacing other materials. We can offer lightweight replacements for metals, which, in many applications, can be easily bonded to metal or other polymers, or can be custom formulated to suit specific applications.”