With a view to ensuring continuous innovation and the improved mastery of our products, we at PXL Seals have been conducting research for several years in order to validate our products and materials, both by adopting a theoretical approach and also, above all, by carrying out testing. To broaden the research options and gain an even better grasp of the actual characteristics of our sealing systems, the PXL laboratory has recently received a boost in the form of several newly-acquired major pieces of equipment: specifically, measurement tools.
This means that we can now check and validate a large number of our materials’ properties and thus meet the expectations of our customers even more effectively.
The first – and maybe most significant – piece of equipment on this list is a Zwick Roell mechanical testing machine, commonly referred to as a “traction machine”, which we acquired at the start of this year. This equipment can determine the mechanical characteristics essential for the characterisation of a material, whether it concerns values obtained during traction testing (elongation at break, breaking strength, modules, tearing, etc.) or during compression or relaxation testing.
A laboratory oven was also acquired. This is used for testing viscoelastic aging, which then enables us to fine-tune our material characterisations. In fact, when time/temperature equivalence rules are used, the behaviour of materials can be extrapolated over a relatively long time by oven-heating them at a temperature much higher than the actual operating temperature (taking care not to exceed the material’s permissible limits).
A set of precision scales for testing the expansion and physico-chemical aging of our materials was also acquired. In particular, this can be used for validation testing of our elastomers which come into contact with the various fluids used by our customers (mineral oils, biodegradable oils, greases).
Another major investment made this year was a Keyence digital microscope, which is used for analysing 2D and 3D images. The numerous features of this microscope make it an extremely useful tool for testing not only our materials but our products too. Indeed, besides the ability to observe a given material by means of conventional methods (observation of a cross-section of a seal to ascertain the structure’s uniformity), the microscope can also be used to measure dimensions accurately and free of human error (which is not always the case when using a calliper gauge, for instance). Finally, it offers the option of 3D image acquisition, making for an accurate and rigorous analysis of the parts studied, particularly in terms of their relief (unlike a conventional 2D microscope, which can only ultimately provide a sample without relief).
Observation under the microscope of breakage zones on O-rings in the case of hot bonding under various bonding conditions. Thanks to the powerful lens and the moving camera, it is possible to observe the surface from many different viewpoints. This ensures that none of the sample’s peculiarities are overlooked.
Finally, various test benches were also acquired so that we can validate how well our products withstand pressurisation in scenarios with or without offset of the parts comprising the housing.
Although these various pieces of equipment represent a significant investment for a company such as ours, they reflect our genuine desire to ensure technical progress in order to keep abreast of the developments in the industry and therefore remain one of the key players in the heavy-duty sealing sector.
Take a look at this video of a Traction test – cross section Ø7, NBR 85, Sh A self-lubricating :
A view of part of the PXL Seals laboratory. You can see the mechanical testing machine on the left and the digital microscope on the right.