Wherever there is a requirement for high performance sealing, increasingly it is the name of Race-Tec that comes to the fore. With a proven background in the design and manufacture of low friction rotary seals and compact high strength CV drive shaft boots for demanding motorsport applications, Race-Tec, based in Hampshire, is now applying its expertise to an increasingly diverse range of industrial applications.
Growing numbers of customers are coming to appreciate the cost and time savings to be reaped from specifying seals that will last longer and protect engineering components more effectively, under even under the most arduous operating conditions.
Delivering bespoke seal designs for challenging applications where high performance, reduced size and weight saving are key has allowed Race-Tec to become an acknowledged leader in this field. Today its products are specified not only by the biggest names in Formula 1, Formula-E, and NASCAR, but its reputation for high performance under challenging conditions has seen other industrial sectors take notice. Some of these new fields can be seen as a natural and time-honoured trickle-down of Formula 1 technologies into other areas of engineering, but in other cases it has seen new customers asking Race-Tec if it can manufacture seals with alternative performance characteristics to meet the needs of entirely different applications.
As a result, the company has an expanding portfolio of products for sectors as diverse as aerospace, military, power generation and even high performance seals for domestic appliances including food processors.
Further, the company’s experience of elastomeric products and sealing has heralded its involvement in various marine applications and propulsion systems. As an example, when one boat builder approached Race-Tec with a sealing problem on a prop shaft, not only was it able to solve the sealing problem, but also to redesign the complete prop shaft assembly.
Race-Tec is also an important supplier of pharmaceutical seals, where the mixing of powders results in an extremely aggressive environment for rotating seals. And the seals also have to run without lubrication to prevent contamination of the powder. The Race-Tec solution is a dynamically loaded, self-compensated rotary shaft seal that uses an integrated PTFE liner as the only interface with the shaft. This sealing lip design reduces surface wear and running friction while accommodating significant radial and angular misalignment.
The design of Race-Tec’s PTFE seals differs to those of other manufacturers, with Race- Tec’s hybrid elastomer seal design allowing high surface speeds to be attained with significantly reduced power losses. Produced by forming and chemically bonding a layer of PTFE onto the seal lip, the hybrid seal retains the inherent flexibility of the elastomer and combines this with the low friction performance of PTFE.
This has proved a particular boon for compressor manufacturers, who are benefitting from reduced shaft and seal wear, a lengthening of service intervals, and potential savings in energy and replacement parts. As a result, as well as producing bespoke seals, Race-Tec has introduced a range of standard size rotary screw compressor seals.
Race-Tec has also supplied seals in a number of rail projects, many initiated through customers coming to Race-Tec to resolve sealing problems where other suppliers had failed. One example was the dirt excluder seals fitted on the bearing assemblies on underground rolling stock, overcoming a low temperature problem that prevented passenger doors from closing correctly during the winter months.
All Race-Tec products are designed and manufactured in-house in the UK where the company has invested heavily in FEA simulation and production technology. Using their nonlinear FEA capability, Race-Tec can simulate new seal designs to optimise their performance and deliver the most efficient and effective sealing solutions. The company has recently invested in new compression moulding machinery to produce larger components.
All equipment is controlled using state-of-the-art technology, and maintained through planned preventative maintenance to assure continuation of supply. The company operates a BSI/ISO 9001:2008 quality management system to ensure that all products are given unique batch references, ensuring full batch traceability of manufactured products.
Whether the requirement is for a reduction in frictional power losses, resistance to pressure or vacuum retention, reductions in size and weight, high angularity CV Boots or precision elastomeric components, Race-Tec has the ability to rapidly provide tailor made sealing solutions to meet the most challenging demands of industrial applications.