Inflatable seals are a versatile and effective sealing solution used in a variety of applications, including door and window sealing, equipment enclosures, and industrial machinery. However, despite their popularity, there are still several common misunderstandings regarding their design, use, and effectiveness. In this article, we will explore the most common misunderstandings of inflatable seals.
1. Inflatable seals are fragile
A widespread misconception about inflatable seals is their perceived fragility and vulnerability to damage. Although inflatable seals might be more prone to punctures and abrasion compared to other sealing solutions like solid rubber gaskets, they can be remarkably durable when employed appropriately. The durability of an inflatable seal depends on factors such as material, design, wall thickness, reinforcement, and its application. Inflatable seals are usually crafted from high-quality elastomers, specifically engineered to endure numerous inflation and deflation cycles while preserving their sealing characteristics over time. For example, a seal made from a robust material like nitrile rubber (NBR) with a reinforced design and sufficient wall thickness can provide a durable and reliable sealing solution in applications with exposure to oils or chemicals. Understanding and selecting the right combination of these factors ensures that inflatable seals offer lasting and effective sealing performance.
2. Inflatable seals are difficult to install
A common misconception regarding inflatable seals is that they are difficult to install. Although the installation process may be more complex than some other sealing solutions, such as adhesive-backed gaskets. Advanced Sealing Technology has made significant strides in simplifying the process. With over 35 years of experience, they provide comprehensive and easy-to-follow installation instructions for their entire range of inflatable seals.
Additionally, Advanced Sealing Technology offers dedicated installation support to their customers, ensuring proper installation and optimal functionality. By providing guidance through each step of the process, they strive to make the installation of inflatable seals a more straightforward and accessible task, ultimately enhancing the user experience and the effectiveness of the sealing solution.
3. Inflatable seals are expensive
There is a common misconception that inflatable seals are more expensive than other sealing solutions. While the initial cost of inflatable seals may be higher than some other sealing solutions, they often provide superior sealing performance and durability, resulting in lower total cost of ownership over time. In addition, many manufacturers offer custom inflatable seal designs that can be tailored to meet specific application requirements, further enhancing their value. For instance consider, a chemical processing plant that chooses between a $200 rubber gasket needing replacement every six months, costing $400 annually, or a $400 inflatable seal lasting two years. Despite the higher initial cost, the inflatable seal saves money over time, with a total cost of ownership of $400 compared to the rubber gasket’s $800.
4. Inflatable seals are only suitable for low-pressure applications
Another common misunderstanding is that inflatable seals are only suitable for low-pressure applications. While inflatable seals are often used in low-pressure applications, they are also highly effective in high-pressure environments. Many inflatable seals are designed to withstand pressures of up to several hundred psi, making them suitable for use in demanding industrial applications.
5. Inflatable seals are difficult to maintain
Finally, some people may believe that inflatable seals are difficult to maintain. However, inflatable seals are relatively low-maintenance compared to some other sealing solutions. Regular inspection and cleaning can help ensure that the seal remains in good condition, and replacement of worn or damaged seals is typically straightforward.
In conclusion, inflatable seals are a versatile and effective sealing solution that can provide reliable sealing performance in a wide range of applications. While there are some common misunderstandings regarding their design, use, and effectiveness, these can often be overcome with proper installation, maintenance, and use. By understanding the true capabilities and limitations of inflatable seals, it is possible to select the right sealing solution for your specific needs and achieve reliable sealing performance over the long term.