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`World’s smallest` seals fit 1mm-diameter shafts

05 January, 2011

Engineers at the German seals specialist Freudenberg have developed an elastomer ring that can seal  shafts with a diameter of just 1mm, rotating at speeds of up to 10,000 rpm. The details on the seal – thought to be the smallest of its type in the world – are measured in hundredths of a millimetre.

Prototypes have already completed test runs of more than 5,000 hours without any visible signs of wear. In future, such seals will be used inside miniature devices equipped with complex mechanical systems. They could also be used in miniature motors for devices such as medical and adhesive pumps that are used to dose tiny quantities of liquid precisely.

The specialists at Freudenberg are working intensively on the future production of the miniature seals. The aim is to develop sophisticated vulcanisation tools to shape the minuscule parts, as well as machine tool systems and processes for producing micro-components with complex three-dimensional geometries.

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