4 Types of Plastic Bearing Seal


Bearing seals are used for two purposes: to keep lubricant from spinning out of the bearing and to keep debris or liquid out. They can protect the bearing against debris ingress that can potentially reduce it’s operational life. We design different plastic bearing seal types for our customers, for a variety of applications. They can be simple designs using gaps and lips to keep out debris, or complex labyrinths for fine particles and liquids.

Our sealed plastic bearings are found in:

  • Photocopiers and printers – Seals ensure paper and toner dust do not stop the bearings freely rotating and cause paper jams, or, combine with the lubricant to create a paste that then causes the bearing to wear prematurely
  • Dishwasher basket wheel bearings – Seals keep food debris from clogging the bearings so the baskets slide smoothly on the tracks
  • Vacuum cleaners  – Seals prevent household dust from getting into the ball, brush or wheels, which can restrict their movement and causing strain on motors


These are some of the types of plastic bearing seal we design into our products:


Gap seal bearing design


Gap Seals

These have a small gap that allows lubricant this can build up in it, forming a trap for debris on the outside and recycling the clean lubricant into the bearing as it spins.




Labyrinth seal bearing design

Labyrinth Seals

These bearing seals are more effective and complex.  There is a winding pathway that particles need to travel through and more chance they will be caught before getting into the tracks. These complex designs require space.

We use two types of design. A collector labyrinth ejects the debris back out of the bearing whilst recycling the lubricant. A protector labyrinth spins the contaminants away using a helical form.



Felt contact seal bearing design


Felt contact seals

Felt contact seals are simple but effective. The felt can be pre-soaked or will soak up escaping lubricant, creating a barrier to stop debris getting into the bearing. They can be stacked for extra protection, but they can increase torque and heat.




Lip seal bearing design

Lip Seals 

Lip seals are effective at preventing the ingress of liquid and fine dust. These are designed to a greater dimension than the gap and sprung against the surface to create the seal. A lip seal can also be used as a pressure seal, which becomes loaded if the pressure changes, pushing the lip against the surface.




Read more about our shielded and sealed plastic bearings and other types of bearing design to keep out liquid and debris that can damage the bearing or product.