Zimbabwe-based earthmoving-equipment hire business Replants Africa Investments attests that Vesconite Hilube seals are performing well on the company’s bulldozer’s hydraulic shift transmission.
The company maintains and repairs its own equipment and even makes its own components in some cases so, when the seals between the transmission housing and the rotating clutch housing on its bulldozer began to fail, Replants Africa Investments made its own Vesconite Hilube ones.
Replants Africa co-owner Doug Bawden, who has experience repairing equipment at different sites as well as a background as an apprentice fitter and turner, notes that the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts he replaced were made of bronze, although another OEM manufactures the same part from hard plastic.
Bawden was inspired by the hard-plastic design of the other OEM. He also appreciated the ease of manufacturing seals from Vesconite Hilube compared to brass or mild steel and that the 90˚C temperatures that are common in bulldozer transmissions fell within the polymer’s optimal temperature operating range.
The former apprentice fitter and turner, turned earthmoving-equipment-hire business owner, made the seals on a one-metre lathe. He turned the outside diameter to the same size as the inside diameter of the housing and bored the inside diameter out to 2mm larger than the outside diameter of the inside of the groove in which the seals fitted. He parted the seal off around 0.2mm narrower than the groove and, lastly, split the seal with a Stanley knife and a sharp blow.
“I installed the seals in May and so far they are working well,” says Bawden.
“During the compressed air test to actuate each clutch to see if there are any leaks, they sealed better than the brand new OEM parts did,” he adds.