Seals face multifaceted tests in the manufacture of foods and beverages. At the same time, hygiene and the greatest possible cleanliness are always the top priority. In breweries, seals have to withstand wort, beerstone and the essential oils of hops. In dairies, they have to withstand fatty and protein-containing products long-term.
In the production of chocolate, fatty ingredients are sometimes heated to a very high temperature. Seals used in ice cream production cope with extreme temperature fluctuations. Pieces of fruit and crystallized sugar are a source of seal abrasion in the production of jams. When convenience goods are produced, seals must often offer substantial low temperature flexibility.
The specific requirements of this industry calls for segment-specific sealing materials. The compounds have to comply to all necessary regulations like FDA, EC 1935/2004 and NSF. In addition they have to withstand the partly aggressive process and cleaning media as well as production conditions like temperatures, pressures etc.
Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has developed numerous material variants of e.g. EPDM, Simriz®, FKM, VMQ, NBR, HNBR, POM, PU, PEEK and PTFE as well as special material groups like Fluoroprene® XPthat are suitable for those challenges.
Even if the great multiplicity of products, manufacturing processes and demands are given, one aspect is common to all the branches of the food and beverage industry: the cleaning of production and filling facilities with CIP/SIP processes. They involve high temperatures and aggressive cleaning media. The production of beverages especially involves the prevention of flavor transfer from one batch to the next, along with uncompromising hygiene.
Handling this challenging requirements profile first of all needs application-specific materials of the highest quality, along with an in-depth understanding of the processes that are employed. Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has a product and materials program especially designed for these different influencing factors. Fluoprene® XP is the mostly recommended material for hygienically demanding applications in the food and beverage industry. It has proven its suitability to minimize flavor transfer in numerous tests. In addition Fluoroprene® XP is characterized by an excellent resistance to a broad range of media, CIP/SIP agents and temperatures. It is resistant to polar and non-polar media at the same time. This in-depth material know-how is the basis for functionally reliable and durable sealing solutions.
Freudenberg Sealing Technologies offers specially developed seals and materials for applications conforming to Hygienic Design. A seal being designed to meet Hygienic Design standards is free of dead spaces to prevent contamination by microorganisms or residues from cleaning agents. This also results in a good cleanability and resistance to CIP/SIP cleaning media and conditions. Examples for sealing solutions for Hygienic Design applications are Hygienic Usit®, Radiamatic® HTS II 9539 VL, precision molded parts and many more.
One current example of many of Freudenberg’s hygienic solutions is the Hygienic Usit washer. Its outside sealing design prevents the formation of a breeding ground for bacteria under the screw head. The Hygienic Usit hermetically closes off the area between the screw head and the surface. Its geometry guarantees excellent cleanability of the connection. In this way, the washer provides the greatest possible safety in food production and minimizes the operator's service and maintenance work.
To meet all requirements, the Hygienic Usit is available in different materials. While the black EPDM 291 is the standard material, the white EPDM 253815 is mainly used for the pharmaceutical industry and the blue Fluoroprene® XP for the food industry.