Retaining is its duty
April,1 ,2014 -Although often circular and made of spring steel, retaining rings encompass a multitude of specially shaped units which all perform the same task.
The scope includes sealing rings, suitcase handles, rabbit ear baffles or wedding rings, Euros, half-moons or Halloween rings. What they all have in common is their technical deployment in a housing bore or on a shaft, to axially secure an attached component, for example a grooved ball bearing.
Around 65 years ago, Seeger-Orbis, a company producing retaining rings, circlips and shims and support washers, relocated production from Frankfurt to Schneidhain, where it has since been producing over 1.5 million rings per day with a workforce of around 300 staff. The range is huge, encompassing around 20,000 different products, most of which are tailored specifically for customers’ requirements. Thanks to the in-house product development and toolmaking facilities, there is scope to swiftly develop and produce orders based on customer wishes, whereupon the finished parts are exported to customers in over 40 countries of the world, including the largest automotive manufacturers as well as construction machines, machine-building, renewable energies and shipbuilding.
In purely monetary terms, each Seeger ring is worth around 8 cents. The record diameter for a ring produced by Seeger-Orbis was 3.0 m, while it goes down to only a few mm at the other end of the spectrum. Rings are made of spring steel, stainless steel and bronze; with various surface coatings and finishes. The slimmest are under a millimeter thick, while the thickest are in the order of centimeters.
It all got underway at the start of the last century: A time when piston pin circlips were unknown and the piston to conrod connection in the engine seemed to have a will of its own, the piston pin was prone to lateral movements in both directions and left deep marks on the cylinder wall due to the piston’s up and down motion. The then cylinder grinder, Seeger & Co., based in Frankfurt, hit upon a brainwave in 1927: to develop a retaining ring made of spring steel, which could be pressed together with a gripper and assembled in a surrounding, ring-shaped groove, within which it expanded, securing the piston pins against the lateral “movements”. The invention was patented and can today be considered the birth of the Seeger-Orbis company.
Nowadays the range also includes many standard parts and an even larger number of special shapes, which we are all using constantly and unknowingly in the background: in car gears and clutches, trucks or buses, in washing machines or computer fans: all of which accommodate the retaining rings of the company, which will celebrate its centenary in 2017.
Caption: Its true strength: one of the largest rings ever produced. As early as the 60s, rings with diameters exceeding 2 m were produced