The 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.
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.
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.
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:
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
A 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.
Article contributed by
Christine Stehmans, marketing communications manager, Engineered Materials Group Europe
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