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“Strange” Advice, New UHPLC Seal Opening Doors to 20 KPSI+

Foothill Ranch, Calif. – U.S.A. – March, 21, 2013  Last year, at analytical and life science trade events all over the world, Bal Seal Engineering, Inc. offered some seemingly strange advice. The company, a supplier of seals to these industries for decades, said that its products alone would not take liquid chromatography pumps to the next pressure level. Achieving consistent operation at or above 20,000 PSI, the company warned, would require a “holistic assessment of both hardware and seal design.”

This bold announcement, coupled with Bal Seal’s release of an extensive technical article titled “Breaking the Barrier: Why Seals Alone Won’t Take UHPLC to 20 KPSI+,” triggered a flood of questions from LC pump manufacturers. They wanted to know more about Bal Seal’s design recommendations, and why a well-established sealing company would recommend, in its own words, “looking beyond the seal.”

“There were definitely some raised eyebrows,” says Bal Seal Global Market Manager Steve Twork, who co-wrote the article with veteran engineer Michael Binder and hosted a podcast on the topic in March of 2012. “But we felt it was necessary to say it. This was a challenge that couldn’t be met by just buying a seal. We were advocating a re-thinking of pump hardware design, and a partnership with the right seal supplier. I’m pleased to say that this approach led to some big advances in LC technology.”

Twork points to the fact that several major LC pump OEMs have reached – or are well on their way to reaching – the elusive 20 KPSI+ operating pressures by following Bal Seal’s playbook and refining their pump designs.

He’s also quick to add that his company hasn’t been watching the action from the sidelines. At this year’s Pittcon event, Twork notes, Bal Seal will roll out its Enduris™ UHPLC Seal, the first seal proven to deliver consistent, long-term performance in liquid chromatography pumps at pressures of 22,000 PSI and higher.

“As OEMs were addressing the barriers caused by hardware issues, we were working on new seal profiles and material formulations that could stand up to the higher pressures they would inevitably achieve,” Twork explains. “Enduris™ is the result of that work.”

Machined from blends of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene or PTFE, Enduris employs a Bal Seal Canted Coil Spring® energizer to promote more uniform wear and longer service life. Its metallic backup element features a design which supports the seal, and prevents extrusion along the inner and outer diameters of the groove. The backup also aligns and centers the seal, ensuring more balanced loading along the seal lips.

According to the company, Enduris offers OEMs the ability to increase LC throughput and sample resolution while significantly reducing equipment downtime. In independent testing, the seal performed continuously at 22,000 PSI for 2,000,000 cycles.

Bal Seal will mark the release of the new Enduris™ UHPLC Seal at Pittcon 2013, held March 18-21 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Penn. The company will demonstrate the seal’s performance and discuss new applications in its booth, #205.

Details about the Enduris seal are available at www.balseal.com/enduris and a brief animation featuring the new seal can be seen here on YouTube. Information about Pittcon 2013 can be accessed at the official event site, www.pittcon.org.

Bal Seal Engineering, Inc. is a leading global provider of custom-engineered sealing, connecting, conducting and EMI/RFI shielding and grounding solutions. The company’s products employ unique Bal Seal Canted Coil Spring® technology for enhanced equipment performance and reliability. For the latest news and information about Bal Seal, visit www.balseal.com/media, call 800.366.1006, or e-mail sales@balseal.com.

 

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