The SoftSlide Project: A New Dynamic Sealing Generation

Introducing the SoftSlide project: an innovative powerhouse that is entering the fore of the moulded parts industry – and it is going to change the world of dynamic seal manufacturing with ground-breaking technology. ReAgent are playing an important role in this exciting undertaking; but before we get into that, what is the project all about?

Dynamic Seal Manufacturing

Dynamic seal application is where there is motion between a hardware component and the sealing element. They are most commonly used in reciprocating devices like motors, valves or compressors. While they are crucial for containing pressure, separating fluids, and many other applications, these seals have one major drawback.

Standard dynamic seals cause high levels of friction in rotating, moving, and reciprocating devices. Not only does this friction damage the seal surface and reduce its lifetime, it also causes massive energy losses that represent up to 25% of total energy consumption. This inefficiency is what the SoftSlide project is tackling by introducing low-cost and low-friction textured dynamic seals.

Tribometer test rig for friction measurements

In the SoftSlide project, a tribometer is used for friction measurements.

What is the SoftSlide Project?

SoftSlide are embarking on a project that will improve the efficiency and durability of industrial equipment. They will achieve this by substituting standard dynamic seals with a textured alternative.

The implementation of the SoftSlide project will put an end to the inefficient method of seal manufacturing once and for all. By utilising their cutting-edge mass production process, SoftSlide are able to transfer micro-patterns on the seal contact area. By transferring these micro-patterns onto the area of the seal that is in contact with the moving mechanism, the possibility of friction is dramatically lowered. This leads to a much more durable, long-lasting product.

SoftSlide Project Aims

“The overall aim of this project is to introduce and deploy to the moulded parts manufacturers a new textured plastic parts mass manufacturing process for the production of low price textured seals for industrial application […] in order to increase industrial equipment energy efficiency and durability”

Textured Dynamic Seal

Unlike other, costly processes that engrave micro-patterns onto individual seals at a later stage of manufacturing, SoftSlide are able to carry them out during the moulding stage. The Texturing During Moulding (TDM) process has been verified as an efficient technique for the mass production of textured, low-friction dynamic seals.

During this process, moulds are engraved with a textured micro-pattern. They can then transfer this pattern from the mould surface to the seal. This achieves low friction, extends durability, and reduces energy losses.

This means that seals produced by the SoftSlide project are not only high-performing and energy-efficient, they are also cost-effective. Therefore, dynamic seal manufacturers will be able to adopt this process for a virtually insignificant cost increase.

Benefits of the SoftSlide Project

The SoftSlide project will revolutionise seal manufacturing with these innovating techniques. They will also bring many benefits to the industry. Among these are the energy savings the textured dynamic seal is estimated to bring.

Once these devices have been fully implemented, energy savings have been estimated to reach €3315m per annum. The European dynamic seals market sales revenue is also expected to increase by 30% within the first 5 years of the commercialisation of SoftSlide’s textured seals.

Preview of a textured dynamic seal that the SoftSlide project are aiming to mass produce

Above is a preview of a dynamic seal with dimpled texture.

There are many benefits that the SoftSlide project will have on the seal industry. To read more about what this exciting company has to offer, and the objectives they have set themselves, head over to their website. 

ReAgent Are Getting Involved

ReAgent is pleased to announce that we have been invited to take part in the SoftSlide project. Together with ML Engraving and SKM, we join SoftSlide to complete the industrial supply chain required for the mass commercialisation of these textured seals. Stay tuned to hear more exciting news about ReAgent’s role in this!

While you’re waiting on an update on this, why not read about the other chemical adventures we’ve been invited to participate in? From supplying medical training programmes with crucial equipment, to fuelling the fastest car on the planet, ReAgent are constantly leaving their mark on the world of science. Check out our blog to keep up to date on what we’re up to!

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