The Channel Seal (or Cap Seal, as it’s often referred to), was one of the earliest forms of Polymer or Teflon sealing in the seal industry.
The product is easily applied. It didn’t replace the O-ring, but instead offered improved life while reducing drag.
In doing so, hydraulic and pneumatic systems operated cooler and quieter, while improving overall performance of the product.
Evolution of the Channel Seal
Before the Channel Seal, the Backup ring was established. The first Backup rings started out as leather, as this material was readily available and could be easily formed into any shape with simple dies to stamp the Backup ring out.
Back up rings provided support for the O-ring, allowing the O-ring to operate at higher pressures, while closing off the Extrusion or “E” gap. This stopped the O-ring from being nibbled in the extrusion gap, therefore extending the life of the O-ring.
Teflon Backup rings were a big improvement, as they would better fill the gap and would stay put (as opposed to leather, which tended to shift in the groove). With the use of two Backup rings, an O-ring was well supported from pressure in both directions.
It was a simple matter to connect the two Backup rings with a thin membrane of Teflon, which removed the O-ring from the sealing surface. This change reduced drag and improved performance, while still maintaining an excellent mechanism for extrusion resistance.
This design was relatively simple to machine out of Teflon, but installation was a challenge, as the Backup rings were full depth. This caused the seal to become distorted during the install process. Today, we almost never see this type of design.
With CNC machining, the ability to nestle, and an O-ring design in a complex Teflon shape, it gave rise to what is referred to today as the Channel Seal, or Cap Seal.
This style seal offers an abundance of advantages over standard back-up rings and the early version of the Channel Seal, which was simply a Backup ring with the membrane of Teflon in-between. Continue reading The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Channel Seal