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Benefits and Uses of a Profile Ring

Profile Ring | KB Delta

When people think of packing and sealant rings they usually envisage the traditional O-ring design, however, things are starting to change with the profile ring.

While the loop-shaped gasket is still one of the most common seals employed in the design of machinery, there is a growing trend for more intricately designed seals to be utilized within modern engineering solutions. But what benefits and uses do a sculpted profile ring provide?


Back to Basics

Like many smaller, peripheral components in engineering, the O-ring is an essential element, yet also an easily overlooked part of a valves build. Similar to many other great designs and inventions, the O-ring benefits from a simplistic approach, to solving a problem by using a mechanical stress to seal a fluid within a set area of a contained system. The design of the O-ring is popular for many reasons, including:

  • Easy to manufacture
  • Inexpensive to produce
  • Reliable and durable
  • Comfortably perform under extreme pressure conditions
  • Easy to install and replace

In addition to this, it’s worth noting that these seals are identified primarily by their size with two important measurements used to convey their specifications. The inside diameter of the ring and the thickness of the rings cross-section can both be labeled in either metric (cm’s) or imperial (inches). Great care should be taken when placing an order to ensure you receive the appropriate size.


What is a Profile Ring?

While O-rings utilize a circular loop in their design, the cross-section of a profile ring varies in shape and size as needed for their application. These new shapes are also able to incorporate angular design features. These features could include a square, X-shaped, and in particular, L-shaped rings are becoming increasingly popular.

As the shape of the overall seal is still circular in design, the measurements in specifying a profile ring by size are the same as the more traditional O-rings. The cross-section of the seal, however, requires precise accuracy as they need to be tailored to a bespoke design to allow them to perform as desired.

By shaping the material that provides the ring in the gasket, it’s possible to create more specific seals suitable for complicated interfaces between two separate mechanical bodies. In addition to creating customized forms in the shape of the ring, hollowed cross-sections are also a possibility for some non-standard, O-ring applications including light-weight and over-sized gaskets.



While many profile rings are intended for use within a bespoke purpose or application, quad rings offer a direct alternative to an O-ring seal. They are so-called a quad ring as their profile can be viewed as the merger of four separate circular rings to provide them with an X-shape. However, they’re composed entirely of one solid piece of material like any other O-ring.

This sculpted shape has many similar advantages to other types of a profile ring. They offer more stable positional grip due to the ring not being able to roll out of place. Flash lines from molded rings are kept away from the contact point between sealing surfaces providing a more reliable design, and increased retention of lubrication and, therefore, less maintenance needed in the upkeep of the equipment.

Because there are more points of contact between the surfaces being sealed, this results in less compression force required to hold the seal intact. It has also been proven that they create a minimized amount of friction. This gives them an extended lifetime in comparison to O-rings used in matching scenarios. While they are a more expensive option than an O-ring, quad-rings offer increased service, durability and reliability. For heavy-duty and safety-critical tasks, this is an option which provides more value despite the additional cost.


How They’re Created

While there’s a small extra cost for the design and testing, the main reason for the price difference between an O-ring and a profile ring is due to the manufacturing stages. It is crucial to the performance of the ring that they’re constructed from one solid piece of material. This prevents any weak spots in the construction that occur in joints between individual components. While injection molding is possible for some types of materials such as plastic and rubber seals, these too have a slightly higher cost. This is because of the lower volume of profile rings produced relative to the mass-produced O-rings.

With metallic components, the O-rings are much simpler to create as the shape can simply be rolled during a quick process, however, profile rings require much more work to achieve their more complicated designs.

While forging the rings can be simplified for some profile shapes, there is also still the problem that these designs are not as commonly used. There’s still the relatively higher cost associated with producing fewer products from a specialized piece of equipment.


Realistic Alternative Uses of Profile Rings

With a number of advantages for their additional cost, profile rings are becoming more widely used throughout many industries. L-shaped profile rings have now been extensively used in construction machinery, such as within the drive-shafts of heavy plant vehicles. While other vehicles also use similar profile rings, Power Plants too can benefit from these gaskets in areas where large inner-diameter seals are required.

Although their initial major benefit is in their use within non-standardized grooves and slots in machine parts, another major benefit derived from a profile ring is in the low tension required to form and maintain the waterproof seal. As such, they’re now commonly being used in waterproofing outdoor equipment and devices that require protection from the elements. Cases to are employing these seals as they offer a reliable method of forming a temporary barrier.

Their low friction also provides a unique advantage over a traditional O-ring and they’re, therefore, highly suited to low-energy systems. While pistons are commonly associated in this area, their use can also be greatly beneficial in more precision equipment as less friction results in a greater degree of control over the mechanical actions.

The main area in which the profile ring is developing though is in the way that they can now be used in place of a standard O-ring. As the usage rises, financial costs will begin to fall. This makes them an even more attractive proposition. This is true especially for use in regular situations that could see a sweeping change in many industries over the coming years.

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