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While the food & beverage industry might not be under the same pressures as other sectors, such as that of power generation or oil & gas, the industry has unique challenges that must be overcome. The stringency of multiple compliance legislations, combined with consumer expectations for ever-increasing variety, provides a complex landscape that rivals or exceeds that of virtually any other industry.
At the heart of food and beverage processing lies one, small – yet vital – component: the humble seal.
When it comes to plant production, the major challenge to overcome is meeting hygiene demands. Seals play a major part in ensuring impeccable segregation of a variety of materials. They must be able to achieve this no matter what size, temperature, application, media, pressure or processing speed is required.
Risk Identification and Worst Case Scenarios
To provide effective and robust sealing solutions it’s first necessary to identify the risks involved. Such challenges include:
- The need for aggressive cleaning fluids to flush systems
- Contamination of products
- 24/7 workload
- Increasingly automated processes
- The use of industrial lubricants
- Harsh conditions: pressure, extremes of temperatures, water, corrosion, chemicals
- Changing regulations
Why Sealing Solutions must Conform to a Dynamic Landscape
The complexity of a sealing system requires engineers to utilise ever-advancing technology, thus bringing upgraded solutions that conform to the strictest of regulatory standards. These include the use of:
- Fluorocarbon plastics
- Drinking water seals
The food and beverage industry comprises a vast array of processes. From beer to chocolate, ice cream to convenience foods, the stresses a seal undergoes is determined by the type of production being carried out.
Selecting the right profile and material for sealing equipment is based on:
- The process it will be exposed to (what is being produced)
- The environment and conditions it will work under (temperatures, lubrication, cleaning fluids, speeds, pressures and operation)
- The length of time it’s expected to last
Of course, the material and seal must also conform to international, national and regional health and safety requirements.
The key takeaway is that the right sealing solution begins with talking to a seal manufacturer. Determining the engineering specifications is only the start. Variables must also be accounted for, both the seen and unforeseen. This will allow for the appropriate selection of the initial seals and, further down the line, the replacements that guarantee integrity and longevity.
Visit Chesterton Customseal to discover more about the world of sealing solutions for the food and beverage industry.
Maintenance and Industrial Lubricants Shouldn’t be an Afterthought
When it comes to the lifespan of plant equipment, the seals – while crucial – should not be considered in isolation. Lubrication is an essential element in food processing equipment, as are the use of ongoing maintenance products.
The type of lubrication used has a direct bearing on the lifespan of seals, making it imperative to use the highest grades to prevent premature wear. Oils and lubricants used within food and beverage applications should (dependent on the individual use):
- Be free from ketones, aromatics and chlorinated solvents
- Contain no heavy metals
- Be able to work effectively in extremes of temperature
- Be water and chemical resistant
Chesterton’s high performance greases offer extended bearing life and reliability even under the harshest conditions of load, temperature, water, and corrosion.
Maintenance speciality products must also be the right type and of the highest quality. For instance, sealant tape should be adjustable, high-density, mouldable and tear-resistant. It should also have the ability to be used with virtually all chemicals and be proven effective in extremes of temperature. PTFE packing should be non-reactive to chemicals, work in a wide pH and temperature range, and able to withstand extensive pressures.
Chesterton Packing solutions for Food and Beverage include:
- Chesterton 425 Food Process Packing
- Chesterton 1765 White ePTFE Chemical Packing
- Chesterton 1725A Food Process Packing
Thriving in the evermore competitive landscape requires organisations to undertake regular re-evaluation of their manufacturing processes. Technology is advancing at lightning speed, meaning those who fail to keep up; risk falling behind their competitors. When it comes to seals, partnering with a company that is forever pushing the boundaries to bring innovative and effective solutions is a key component of forward planning. Time spent making the right sealing choices directly impacts production, output and baseline profits.
Looking for the Ultimate Food & Beverage Sealing Solutions? You Need Chesterton Customseal
Chesterton Customseal is a joint venture between A.W. Chesterton Company and Customseal Australia. Chesterton Customseal provides clients with innovative solutions in high-performance seals, combining the strong capabilities of two brands in one product.
Since 1884, Chesterton has been successfully driving at the forefront of technology to meet the diverse needs of its customers. With a global reach, their sealing specialists and technicians offer a local service for Australian operators, partnering with them to determine the ultimate solution to increase equipment reliability, reduce downtime, and ensure compliance with local, national and international requirements.
Download our latest Chesterton Customseal Food and Beverage brochure.
Visit Chesterton Customseal and speak to one of our experts to discover the right sealing solution for your business.