Sealing Shielding

A Guide to Selecting the Proper Sealing Material for Food Applications

Leitfaden zur Auwahl des Dichtungswerkstoffes fuer Lebensmittel-AnwendungenThe substances used in the food and in the chemical process industries are identical in many cases, whether they are of natural origin or synthetically produced.   Irrespective of their type and occurrence – be it in process media, in raw materials for products or in finished products – the materials for seals and engineered components used in production equipment coming into contact with diverse chemical substances have to meet specific purity requirements and be resistant to chemicals under the given process conditions. Purity and stability are therefore basic prerequisites for materials in the chemical process industry and the food industry. The challenge lies in selecting the proper sealing material for an application.


Top priorities: Consumer health and safety

Consumer health and safety are of paramount importance in food, beverage and pharmaceutical production processes. Therefore, the materials have to comply with specific legal requirements and standards, depending on their application. The harmlessness of the materials for the intended uses, such as applications involving contact with foodstuffs and drinking water, must have been certified by relevant approvals and conformities. Equally important to consumer safety is that the materials are free of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), phthalates, mineral oil based plasticizers and animal derived ingredients (ADI). 

In addition, qualitative aspects such as neutrality with respect to taste and odor generally have to be ensured whenever materials are utilized in food and beverage production. In the production process, the sealing compounds must not release any components which – even if not harmful to human health – would affect the quality of the final product in any way that could be perceived by the senses or otherwise.  

Process diversity

As particularly the processes in the food and beverage sector are as wide and varied as the products themselves they make special demands on the seals and sealing compounds used in them as well – be it in terms of resistance against chemical substances and various process media, temperatures, pressures and mechanical loads or special sanitary requirements. Of particular relevance here are CIP/SIP processes for cleaning and sterilization involving disinfectants, superheated steam and acids. The reliable functionality and durability of the seals has to be ensured even in harsh application conditions.


Material diversity

This wide range of requirements can only be covered by a wide range of materials and material groups. The appropriate selection from Parker Prädifa’s extensive portfolio of sealing compounds is made based on the required properties profile in combination with the necessary approvals and conformities existing for the respective material. With pure to ultra-pure materials optimized for the respective applications in the material groups of EPDM, NBR, FKM, FFKM, TPU, PK, PTFE and metal Parker Prädifa offers precisely this diversity of possible choices and combinations, for example:

  • EPDM
    compounds for highly sensitive production processes in the food and beverage industry, biotechnology and medical device technology
    Properties: very good media resistance in hot water, steam, lyes and acids, in polar CIP/SIP media and resulting long life even in cleaning and sterilization processes
    Approvals/conformities: FDA, USP Class VI, 3A, (EC) No. 1935/2004

  • EPDM
    compounds for drinking water applications
    Properties: very good mechanical properties, outstanding compression set, good low-temperature performance down to -50 °C
    Approvals/conformities: FDA, WRAS, W270
  • NBR
    compounds for food applications
    Properties: very good media resistance in media containing oil and grease, very good wear resistance
    Approvals/conformities: FDA, (EC) No. 1935/2004.
  • FKM- and HiFluor®
    compounds for the food and beverage industry, biotechnology and medical device technology
    Properties: excellent media and temperature resistance
    Approvals/conformities: FDA, 3A USP Class VI, (EC) No. 1935/2004, BNIC
  • Parofluor® FFKM
    compounds for the food/beverage and pharmaceutical industries
    Properties: pure high-performance compounds with extended service life and suitability for extreme chemical and thermal requirements
    Approvals/conformities: FDA, (EC) No. 1935/2004, USP Class VI.
  • Ultrathan® TPU
    compounds for food industry applications including food gases and household appliances
    Properties: high wear resistance, good hydrolysis resistance and good permeation properties
    Approvals/conformities: FDA, (EC) No. 1935/2004.
  • Polon® PTFE
    compounds for the food industry
    Properties: best media resistance and widest temperature range, excellent friction behavior
    Approvals/conformities: FDA, (EC) No. 1935/2004, USP Class VI.
  • PK compound nobrox®
    for sealing elements and other engineered components in the food industry
    Properties: outstanding wear resistance, chemical resistance and resilience
    Approvals/conformities: FDA, (EC) No. 1935/2004, USP Class VI.
  • Metal
    seals for harsh application conditions, outside the application range of polymer materials.

More information:

Materials for the chemical process and food industriesA new brochure from Parker Prädifa provides comprehensive information about the various material families for seals and engineered components in the aforementioned industries, their property profiles and applications, plus the national and international standards and regulations on wich the approvals and conformities are based.

Download PDF





christine stehmansArticle contributed by

Christine Stehmans, marketing communications manager, Engineered Materials Group Europe





Related content on sealing solutions:

Modular Seal Kit for Pneumatic Cylinders Covers All Kinds of Applications

New Material nobrox Increases Design Freedom for Seals and Engineered Components


Have a question about Parker products or services? We can help: Contact Us!

Comments for A Guide to Selecting the Proper Sealing Material for Food Applications

Please note that, in an effort to combat spam, comments with hyperlinks will not be published.

Leave a comment