Posted at 09 July 2020

Turn Your ‘Nose Seal’ up at Cylinder Failure in Aggressive Environments

If you operate a pneumatic actuator in an aggressive environment, you may think cylinder failure is part of the deal. A new nose seal solution from IMI Norgren proves it doesn’t have to be.


Wash-down fluids, cement dust, sugar, gypsum and similar substances can really get into the nose seal of your pneumatic actuator’s piston rod. Aggressive fluids can cause the seal to deteriorate and fail, and sticky substances can lead to it being pushed out of the end cover. In all cases, cylinder service life is reduced.

To add insult to injury, the use of aggressive wash-down fluids will almost certainly invalidate the cylinder’s warranty.

Because the cylinder has to be removed and taken away for repair, replacement is a time-consuming task. So extensive downtime means you’ll certainly have to fit a spare.


But a new solution from IMI Norgren can help to prolong cylinder service life, reduce maintenance, and maximise uptime.

Sacrifice the seal, not the cylinder

The problems start when the cylinder’s primary nose seal fails or is pushed out of the front end cover, for the reasons outlined above.

IMI Norgren’s solution is a pneumatic actuator with a small piston rod extension and a screw-on front cap, which holds a second “sacrificial” nose seal. This has three major advantages.

Firstly, it protects the primary seal from aggressive wash-down liquids and sticky dust and dirt. Secondly, it reduces the frequency of unplanned maintenance. Thirdly, when the seal does eventually need replacing, maintenance is quicker and easier, so downtime is reduced.

Instead of a complete cylinder strip down and removal of the rod to replace the failed primary seal, replacing the sacrificial seal is simply a matter of:

  • Disconnecting the rod from its connected equipment
  • Manually retracting the cylinder
  • Removing the seal carrier
  • Swapping-out the old seal
  • Reinstating the seal carrier and reconnecting the rod

This can all be carried out by a maintenance engineer in just a few minutes – Which can be as much as 90% faster than repairing a standard cylinder with a failed seal.

Seal the deal

This IMI Norgren solution is based on a standard pneumatic actuator with a small piston rod extension. To order, you simply need to specify the stroke length and choose the bore size you require (currently 80, 100, 125 and 160mm bore sizes are available).


If you are in any doubt whether the required 10mm piston rod extension can be retrofitted to your application, get in touch and an engineer from IMI Precision Engineering will be able to support.

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