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Tips for best o ring maintenance

If o rings are not maintained, leaks can occur, and water and other fluids can enter the appliance or application, and even product in the mix!  If this happens, damage can occur to internal parts and mechanisms, causing deployment failings, potential false readings,...

What you need to know about O Ring Lubricants

Silicone grease and lubricants aren’t just a nice to have for o rings, but they can quite often be a must-have.  However, with so many greases and lubricants to choose from, it can often be a minefield choosing the best ones and the right ones for your o ring and...

O Ring Replacement

Replacing an O Ring in pressure washer wands is probably one of the most common replacements you'll find when working with seals.  Unfortunately, O Rings don't last forever, and over time they do deteriorate, and you will require an O Ring replacement.  It's important...

Reasons behind seal failure and a look into seal replacement

Unfortunately, there are occasions where O-rings, in particular, fail.  The failure of these seals is not simply due to one factor, but various factors that can occur across a range of applications – hence why locating the exact cause of such problems is just that, a...

Gaskets and seals for Aerospace

Gaskets and seals used for aerospace applications and equipment must be of premium quality and to a substantially high standard.  They are used across a range of applications such as radars, antennas, lighting, access panels, electrical conductivity, pressure sealing,...

Finding the best sealing materials for Food Grade Applications

You will find rubber seals across various industries, providing an important element and operating as a vital fixing across a wide range of different applications and equipment.  However, these FDA gaskets must follow strict, set guidelines, in terms of their material...

The Evolution of Gasket Solutions

When we talk about gaskets and the history of a gasket, we must start at the very beginning.  What is a gasket?  Ultimately, a gasket is a manufactured seal that is used to fill the gap/space between two or more surfaces.  Gaskets are typically manufactured by cutting...

How to preserve your gasket

Gaskets and seals don’t last forever. However, they are designed, or they should be, last for a considerable period.  In this sense, it is vital to look at ways to preserve your gaskets in order to avoid any application downtime.  Downtime that involves additional...

Important Design Features of Rubber Sealings

When it comes to designing the perfect rubber sealing, there are a few design features to bear in mind to help achieve the optimum solution.  In this post, we explore these rubber sealing features further and provide information on the benefits and best uses for these...

Optimal Squeeze for an O Ring to be effective

A doughnut-shaped seal that is primarily used to stop liquids and air from escaping or getting into specific spaces is the function and role of an O Ring.  Also known as a mechanical gasket, O rings are designed to fit between a groove and a compression during the...

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. 

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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