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O-rings suitable for the pharmaceutical industry

O rings are widely used across various industries to support a variety of different pieces of equipment and applications.  They provide an essential function and are ultimately moulded and manufactured to ensure they provide a continually high level of quality through...

The Best Chemical Resistant Gaskets for Sulfuric Acid

If you are using sulfuric acid on a regular basis within your industry, you might be aware of how corrosive it can be. While it can be useful for dyes, explosives, fertilisers, and many more applications, finding a chemical resistant gasket can often be one of the...

Different elastomers for o rings and various applications

An elastomer is a primary raw material used for most o rings. They are typically manufactured as gum rubber or manufactured synthetically, and surprisingly today, there are approximately over 32 different synthetic rubbers now available.  Elastomer compounds will...

Spiral wound gasket thickness – what’s best?

It is often recommended that using a thinner gasket type/material will result in better sealing performance.  Why?  Because thinner gaskets tend to require much less gasket stress to provide applications with the perfect seal, they also have an excellent response to...

Choosing the correct oil seal application

Choosing and using the proper sealing devices within oil and gas applications can be vital when preventing dirt, dust, water, and other debris from potentially getting inside and contaminating products.  Of course, all rubber materials and seals will provide a range...

Nitrile rubber, NBR, and Buna-N – how well do you know your o ring materials?

A widely used elastomer, Nitrile, Buna-N, or NBR rubber, are all oil and fuel resistant and provide a great level of strength, making them a popular material for seals across various industries.  Suitable for a range of applications, this versatile rubber material,...

Optimum squeezing force for an o ring

It is true that the more squeeze you place on an o ring, the tighter the seal it will provide. In essence, the more squeeze (compression) you apply, the greater the force between the o ring and its mating hardware.  And ensuring you have the perfect seal is all...

O Ring Squeeze

The squeeze and shrinkage on an o ring are vital to understanding as these factors stand in the way of your application either experiencing a perfect seal or your application suffering from leaks.  You can measure the shrinkage of an o ring during...

Keeping your o rings bonded

EMI o rings. Those seal ring gaskets are made of silicone compounds, combining environmental sealing with electromagnetic interference protection.  Consisting of metal or metal-coated particles, silicone o rings are filled with silver, silver aluminium, or nickel...

The importance of mechanical seals when reducing water consumption in mining

Environmental considerations are at the top of most industry's agendas in the 21st century as companies evaluate and improve operations, processes, and systems.  Conserving water in mining is one such area that is now being investigated further with the rotation of...

Designing seals for the food industry

food industry sealingsThere’s a number of factors to take into consideration when designing seals for the food industry. That’s because seals used within this sector need to work exceptionally hard in all food processing environments where hygiene and health and safety are of the utmost importance. 

When designing, or indeed looking at the design of a seal for food applications, you must take into consideration: 

Operating conditions 

For example, what application is the seal intended for? Does it experience any movement? What is the makeup of the piece of equipment being sealed, etc.? 

You also need to consider the temperatures, speed, and pressure that the application will be operated at. As well as the maximum and minimum pressure levels, temperature, and speed. 

Knowing how the application will be operated will ensure that the correct seal is chosen and used. 

The fit of the seal 

Knowing how the application is to be assembled allows you to understand exactly where the seal will fit and its role within the appliance. Addressing any fitment issues from the start can save you time, money, and a lot of headaches in the long run. 

Where the seal will be housed 

Knowing where the seal will be housed is vital. 

For example, aluminium housing will require a different choice of material compared to that of stainless housing. 

Seals manufactured using PTFE materials need to be passivated when used with stainless steel, preventing stainless surfaces from pitting. 

Cleaning methods 

Within the food industry, cleaning is critical. A sterile environment is a must, and as such harsh and stringent cleaning methods will be used. Because of this, some seal materials may be eliminated, leading to replacements being required or seal gaskets in need of vital repair. 

Testing seals against cleaning solvents and methods need to be conducted in order to test the seal’s overall performance and robustness. 

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Movement 

Movement plays a big factor in seal design. For example, long or short strokes or even strokes and frequent strokes can lead to the seal becoming starved of lubrication, which will result in excessive wear and tear on the seal. This is known as a linear movement (back and forward). 

Alternatively, the mixed movement will require the seal to handle challenges linked to temperature fluctuations, extreme heat, as well as being able to function during the transition from one motion to another. 

If a rotating motion is in play, then the seal required needs to be able to create low friction, due to the issue of a build-up of heat in these applications. From a design perspective, heat dissipation away from the seal contact area should always be incorporated in order to reduce the heat gradient. 

Static movement is found in many food applications, and this requires no voids to be present in order to avoid bacteria from growing and spreading. For these types of applications, specialist seals need to be designed to bulge, reducing the need for welding joints. 

Stationary stability needs to be considered as it is known that many foodstuffs can solidify if they remain stationary for a period of time. For example, solids like sugar can have a negative effect on many seal materials, and seal designs must bear this in mind. 

Seals must be compliant 

Food hygiene and quality are of high importance, and seals should be FDA approved and compliant at all times. If providing applications outside of the UK, you also need to consider the European Commission food regulations and Good Working Practices. 

Ultimately seals that are designed for the food industry should demonstrate a broad chemical compatibility profile, be resistant to high temperatures and abrasions, and have the ability to withstand aggressive cleaning methods. 

To ensure the seals that you are using are designed to be FDA compliant, safe, and effective, speak to Specialist Sealing Products today. 

The sealing experts in Leeds. 

Read the next article: Gasket manufacturing explained 

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