Replacement Hydraulic Seals: Selecting Materials for Commercial Machinery

Hydraulic seals are critical in the operation of most modern commercial machinery, including industrial, construction and general warehousing equipment like forklift. These components are designed to prevent leaks between joints in the hoses, pipes and cylinders. If these are not secure, strong or are worn out, the operation of the machine will be compromised. This is because the working pressure of the hydraulic system will not be maintained. Therefore, you will need to purchase hydraulic seals to restore the integrity of the system. There are different factors that you must consider when buying replacement hydraulic seals, but the material is probably the most critical. Here are the primary hydraulic seal materials that you can choose for your machinery.

Natural and Synthetic Rubber 

Rubber is an ideal material for hydraulic seals because it has good elasticity. In simple terms, the substance can stretch and contract without deformation to a significant extent. Therefore, the material can withstand compression and expansion when the machinery is in operation. Natural rubber is produced from trees, and it is favourable because it is waterproof and highly resilient. It is expedient for hydraulic systems that utilise water-based fluids. Synthetic rubber is more advantageous compared to natural rubber when the hydraulic fluid is oil-based. The material is also more resistant to acid and will resist breakage. However, this type is less flexible and consequently, will be prone to distortion after expansion. Unfortunately, both rubbers will be damaged if exposed to high temperature.


Polyurethane is a valuable plastic in the fabrication industry, and you should consider choosing the material for your hydraulic seals. This plastic is more advantageous over rubber when dealing with high temperature hydraulic equipment. Basically, the material will not become deformed or melt when the hydraulic fluid or the machinery becomes hot. The surface of the polyurethane is non-porous, so they are less prone to degradation due to absorption of hydraulic fluids. In addition, this polymer is cheap to purchase which makes it ideal for machines that require constant replacements. On the other hand, polyurethane is rigid, so expansion and compression can cause easy breakage.


This material is commonly referred to as PTFE, and it is a resilient synthetic polymer. This material is a high density material, so this is tough and high strength. The material can also withstand high temperatures and remains in good condition in low temperature environments. In addition, PTFE is chemically inert, so it will not react with other substances. However, these seals are prone to creeping when exposed to high stress.