Advancements in the use of compounds continue to improve both the operation and lifespan of equipment in countless applications in every field of endeavor. The ongoing improvement of prototypes is an endless expedition of how things can always be made better. When we take the simple O-ring into consideration, we are given yet another opportunity to expand on perfection with the next generation of X-rings. What’s the difference? You shall see in this explanation that follows:
Whether you know it or not, you have likely come across many an O-ring in your experience. From cameras to cars, in a wide range of sizes, these doughnut-shaped plastic rings are easily dismissed, yet their significance is revolutionary in the realm of mechanical engineering. This crucial component has allowed for the invention of new precision-engineered devices that are better and safer products in working environments.
O-rings are crucial components within devices where a reliable precision seal is necessary to prevent the escape of liquid or gas. Made from a variety of elastomers, or polymers, these circular seals are essential for their propensity to withstand extremes while returning to their original shape following the exertion of temperature and pressure. It was only a matter of time before an improvement was made to the lowly O-ring; enter, the X-ring.
Also known as the Trefoil or Quadruple Gasket/Seal, the X-ring has four points of support technically exceeding the simple O-ring’s capabilities. These quad ring seals, or X-rings, are distinctive in their unique design having parting lines between four separate lobes that create the “X” shape to the cross-section of the ring. It is this build that reduces friction while improving the durability of the seal. Rothkopf X-rings are custom-designed to conform to the unique requirements critical to the performance of your product. The specifications consider stringent regulatory requirements, agency approvals, and extremes of temperature, pressure, or pH values.
Naturally springy O-rings are known for their desire to retain their original shape. Some applications for their use that naturally come to mind are engines, boilers, compressors, and refrigerators. Expanding on their valuable presence, we can find O-rings in scuba gear, dental implants, paintball guns, and even in the tap that delivers your favorite brew. Expanding further, you will find them within the aerospace and defense sectors, chemical processing, energy and power, food and beverage, general industrial, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, and transportation sectors of industry and manufacturing.
In a general sense, it is advisable to use X-rings only where an O-ring is insufficient for its purpose. Whether static or dynamic processes, such applications could include reciprocating rods and plungers, on shafts and spindles that undergo rotating or spiral movements, axial-static seal for flanges, or radial-static seal for bushings or pipes, just to name some examples. In fact, the X-shaped cross-section of the X-ring that allows for tension twisting while maintaining smaller surface areas makes them ideal for motorcycle chains. Fitting between the plates and over the pins, the results are more sealing surfaces, better lubrication, and better performance.
Manufacturers and assemblers looking for O-rings that are unique to their purposes can get either customized or standard precision-molded rubber components built to their exacting specifications. Parts are manufactured using the necessary compounds (NBR, EPDM, FKM, FVMQ…) in compliance with industry and agency regulations (GPL, NSF, and FDA, UL Listed, and OEM). You can even get your O-rings in the colors you specify.