News & Tech Tips

FDA Compliant Gasket Materials in the Food Industry

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates products that come into contact with food during processing, packaging and manufacturing. This is important to prevent toxic chemicals or potentially harmful allergens from contaminating food supplies. Since this is such an important component of food processing, there is a clear need for gaskets used in these types of processing plants to maintain compliance with FDA standards.

For the most part, FDA compliant gaskets come in either rubber or plastic PTFE varieties.

Materials that are FDA Compliant for Gaskets

Types of PTFE FDA Food-Grade Gaskets

  • Durlon® 9000 Filled PTFE – Durlon® 9000 is used for process piping, chemical, pulp, food and beverage and pharmaceutical applications where resistance to highly aggressive chemicals is required.
  • Durlon® 9200/9200W Filled PTFE – Durlon® 9200 gaskets are designed for use in aggressive chemicals and heavy acids, but also acceptable in pharmaceutical FDA applications.
  • Durlon® 9600 Expanded PTFE – Durlon® 9600 is made with only pure PTFE resins and is used in process piping and equipment, chemical, pull and paper, and food and beverage applications.
  • Virgin PTFE Sheet — FDA approved and chemically inert.

Types of Rubber FDA Food-Grade Compliant Gaskets

  • Silicone – Silicone is often used in food processing where high heat is involved due to its ability to withstand a wide range of heat without deforming or degrading.
  • Nitrile – Nitrile gaskets are resistant to oil and are often used when oily foods are involved.
  • Neoprene – Neoprene rubber is a high-performance material that offers high wear-resistance, especially when placed under tensile stress.
  • EPDM – EPDM rubber is particularly useful in situations that involve exposure to outdoors or when a rugged gasket is needed.

Contact Us Today for More Information on FDA Gaskets!

If you’re looking for gaskets for food-based applications, contact us today. We provide quick turnaround, prototyping, and custom gasket design to fit the many needs of manufacturers.

What Industries Use Custom Gaskets?

With so many types of gaskets available for almost every type of machinery, you may wonder why any company would need a custom designed gasket. There is a whole world of commercial and industrial gaskets that are used in a wide range of equipment and machines.

Since a large amount of industrial equipment and machinery is proprietary and often custom designed, they may not be compatible with standard gasket sizes and are likely to require custom gaskets to match the needs of the complex machinery.

While a gasket is a part used in nearly all industries in some form, there are a few industries that tend to use custom gaskets more than others.

Industries that Use Custom Gaskets:

  • Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM): OEMs face a multitude of challenges designing equipment. From construction applications to marine applications, the equipment is often exposed to extreme environments requiring custom design and materials. Expert Gasket & Seal is the one-stop-shop for OEMs.
  • Food Production: Food production often requires specialty materials that conform to FDA requirements so that foods are not exposed to any potentially toxic chemicals or contaminants. We call these FDA Gaskets.
  • Pharmaceutical Industry: Similar to the food industry, pharmaceutical manufacturers adhere to strict quality control, along with full compliance with FDA requirements. More information can be found on our FDA Gaskets page.

  • Oil and Gas Industry: With the oil and gas industry dealing almost exclusively with fluids and gases, it’s only natural that they are a heavy user of gasket products. Gaskets used in the oil and gas industry often need to be capable of withstanding extreme pressures and exposure to corrosive substances.
  • Auto Manufacturing: Auto manufacturing features a wide range of machinery used for many different purposes along the manufacturing process. Plant machinery often requires more unique custom designed products.
  • Power Generation: Power plants come in a wide range of varieties, most of which involve fluids and turbines. The result is that gaskets are needed for the critical power generation equipment as well as many other parts within the power generation facility.
  • Paper Processing: Paper processing involves of the use of water and chemicals, requiring the use of pumps. This means that custom designed gaskets are an important part of keeping the plant running smoothly.
  • Wastewater Treatment: As one would expect when dealing with water, gaskets are needed to seal the many pumps that are used to move wastewater from one area to another. Much of this requires custom-designed gaskets.
  • Chemical Processing: Like the oil and gas industry, chemical processing requires management of potentially toxic and corrosive chemicals. As a result, gaskets are needed that can withstand exposure to a wide range of chemicals.

Overall, Gaskets Are Used Everywhere

Gaskets are used in some way in just about every industry. While not all industries need to have custom gaskets produced for them, they always have the option to go the custom route if it suits the job better.

Expert Gasket & Seal can customize a gasket for your industry and application. Contact us today to learn more about our solutions and service.

Expert Gasket & Seal Fixes Leaky Filling Equipment, Saving Hundreds of Hours for Solvent Manufacturer

A solvent leak can become very costly, very quickly — not to mention dangerous, as it involves hazardous waste. Any leak not only presents risks to production and equipment, but it also puts the health and safety of employees at risk. So, when a solvent manufacturer was experiencing leakage during their filling process, they turned to Expert Gasket & Seal for a solution.

The solvent manufacturer was filling small quart cans with its product using precision filling equipment that filled by weight and volume. During production, the seals which regulated the flow of the solvent experienced a major leak resulting in underfilled cans, the loss of finished products and hazardous material exposure to the workplace.

Expert Gasket & Seal assessed the situation and recommended replacing the dynamic O-ring with an energized PTFE seal. The new seal was energized by a Perfluorelastomer O-ring for its chemical resistance, and the machined PTFE seal jacket provided a friction-free seal with wiping action and with little to no seal wear or leakage.

With the PTFE design, the seal was not wearing out like the plain dynamic O-ring and there was no longer a need to continually stop production to replace faulty O-rings. And this was all done with existing hardware without the need to retrofit the machined components of the equipment.

The filling equipment consisted of 24 filler heads. Expert Gasket & Seal’s expert sealing solution increased the life of each filler by hundreds of hours, allowing the manufacturer to extend the production schedule and cut downtime by at least four times over.

Don’t let a leak put your company at risk. Protect your assets and your people with a custom solution from Expert Gasket & Seal.
Call our experts today at 800.956.8766

3 Reasons Why Quick Turnaround Gasket Manufacturing Matters

The demands of a business may change daily but working quickly to meet customer needs is always essential. Continually improving processes and having quick turnaround time is key to meeting those needs.

Having an experienced team with comprehensive fabrication equipment and dedication to great service allows our customers to meet production expectations while still being able to exceed industry standards. Industrial organizations requiring quality sealed products to prevent leaks must be able to tackle challenges with speed and efficiency.

Here are three reasons why having quick turnaround gasket manufacturing matters.

Avoid Manufacturing Downtime to Save Time and Money

Every business has times where service or production must stop to allow for maintenance or upgrades. But when this happens as an unplanned event­ — and too many times — it can damage reputation and frustrate customers. High temperatures, for example, can weaken integrity of gasket materials and lead to increased downtime. The chances of this happening can be decreased by selecting the right material. Having more precise products with higher tolerance levels for equipment can lead to less downtime, leading to less operational waste.

Make Changes and Adjustments Quickly Without Losing Efficiency

One reason companies turn to custom gaskets for their equipment is that the customized approach allows for different materials to be tested to determine the best result and ensure efficiency. Making changes and adjustments is quick and easy with rapid prototyping. While traditional gasket production requires templates or steel dies, which can double the time for production, Expert Gasket & Seal can create prototypes from a digital file or an existing product sample. If a gasket doesn’t fit or changes need to be made, dimensions, thickness and materials can be rapidly modified and easily reconfigured. This allows for quicker testing, easier deployment and less time and waste spent designing before mass production.

Prevent and Reduce Production Bottlenecks

Inefficiencies created by bottlenecks are a source for delays and higher overall production costs. Maintenance professionals face daily problems including keeping machines running and scheduling and overseeing maintenance. For production related to gasket or rubber products this becomes a matter of having updated processes and technologies working alongside well trained employees. With a modernized approach and a focus on proactivity, machines can be kept running and bottlenecks prevented.

Reducing waste and improving processes and quality of materials will lead to higher customer satisfaction. Expert Gasket & Seal understands how manufacturing and maintenance projects require quick yet effective services. Our Flashcut system effectively creates custom gaskets in minutes without the need for tooling. Ultimately this yields greater results for our customers who keep choosing our proven sealing solutions again and again to help them excel in their industry.

Need a gasket fast? Contact us today to discuss how we can help you solve your gasket and seal needs.

Expert Gasket & Seal Replaces Faulty O-Ring With Custom Gasket to Protect Valuable Equipment

An O-ring can fail for different reasons. Maybe it’s made from the wrong material for the application, or it is not compatible with the O-ring groove design. When an international healthcare products company came to Expert Gasket & Seal with an O-ring that repeatedly fell out, we got to work to provide a customized solution.

o-rings

The company was using an O-ring in a groove to seal a two-piece cast aluminum electrical enclosure that protected a delicate circuit board from environmental elements — rain, snow and other potential contaminants. The irregular O-ring groove on the casting used a very small cross section O-ring that was difficult to install and often fell out after installation. After the enclosure was assembled it was impossible to see if the O-ring had become dislodged. Without the proper seal, the circuit board was no longer protected and was subject to premature failure.

Expert Gasket & Seal fabricated a new gasket from a closed cell Neoprene sponge (CCNS) with a peel and stick, pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) backing to bond the elements without the use of the groove. The PSA backing kept the gasket in place during assembly significantly decreasing installation time.

Our recommendation and the prototype gasket which was fabricated in-house were supplied in only a few days using our rapid Flashcut system.

With the new custom gasket, labor and installation time was decreased, and the risk of assembly failure was eliminated, providing a substantial cost savings to the healthcare products company.

If you need a custom solution to a sealing problem, and you need it fast, contact the experts at Expert Gasket & Seal today!

High-Temperature Gaskets and Why They’re Important — Can Your Project Stand the Heat?

When you’re working with extreme high temperatures, flames, steam, hot oils, exhaust or combustible fluids, you need a seal you can trust. Using the right gasket, tape or material can be the difference between the success or failure of your equipment.

Over time, high temperatures can gradually degrade and deteriorate some common gasket materials causing leakage which in turn can lead to downtime, and maybe even shutdowns. Expert Gasket & Seal can help you avoid these situations by finding the right material for your high temperature sealing needs.

We understand “high-temperature” is a relative term. If your application is below 500° F, there are several great rubber materials to consider, like:

Heat Resistant Gasket Materials

Silicone: With a superior temperature range from -75° F to 450° F, silicone good choice when the material will not be exposed to acids, alkalis, superheated steam (over 250 degrees F), aromatic hydrocarbons and certain fuels.

Viton®: An excellent choice for high temperature applications up to 400° F, Viton® has superior resistance to many chemicals, including acids, fuels, aromatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated hydrocarbons and not flammable hydraulic fluids.

EPDM: Considered the best rubber gasket for steam and hot water applications (up to 350° F), EPDM is capable of handling steam temperatures up to 400° F. Although EPDM is not compatible with petroleum-based fluids, it can handle many Glycol-based fluids up to 300° F.

Perfluoroelastomers: Most commonly available in O-rings, perfluoroelastomers, often known as Kalrez® or Parofluor®, are heat resistant up to 600° F and handle a wider array of chemicals than Viton®. However, they are very expensive and come in limited shapes and sizes.

If your application involves higher temperatures, up to or exceeding 750 degrees, you should consider other materials to enhance and extend your seal’s performance. Some considerations include:

Graphite: A natural mineral, graphite has thermal and electrical conductivity like metal and is resistant up to 875° F.

Compressed non-asbestos: An asbestos-free fiber made from synthetic fibers and an elastomeric binder, compressed non-asbestos gaskets provide improved torque retention, lowered emission levels and can handle temperatures up to 750° F.

Spiral wound gaskets: A low-cost solution, spiral wound gaskets are semi-metallic, consisting of multiple layers of metal and a filler that may include ceramic, graphite or PTFE. Spiral wound gaskets are suitable for temperatures up to 850° F.

PTFE: Polytetrafluoroethylene is a reliable polymer material that can resist strong industrial chemicals and withstand temperatures above 500° F for extended periods.

Commercial Grade Fabrics: For the most demanding applications with extreme high temperatures, consider premium fiberglass cloth, rope, tape, and tadpole tapes with temperature ratings up to 1000° F or ceramic fiber papers, some with temp limits of 2300° F. Used in furnace linings, casting blow off tables, molten metal or anywhere you need to protect product and parts from high temperature or molten materials.

While it is important to consider high-temperature materials, there are many other factors to consider when selecting the most suitable gasket for your application, like the medium, system pressure and exposure conditions. The experts at Expert Gasket & Seal will work with you to identify these factors and help you choose the right materials and products for your project.

To learn more about high-temperature gaskets, contact Expert Gasket & Seal today at (330) 468-0066.

Expert Gasket & Seal Helps Client Combat Equipment Failure While Maintaining FDA Compliance

At Expert Gasket & Seal, we don’t just provide sealing products, we provide sealing solutions. Our customer’s success is our priority. So, when an international food manufacturer came to us with major equipment failure of one of their cooking vessels, we tackled the challenge with open minds and ready hands.

The large steam cooking vessel was designed to go from the ambient plant temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit steam. The steam was injected through a tube that also served as the shaft to which the seal was attached. Because the shaft we were sealing was also the heating element, the axial shaft would grow .250“-.375“. This expansion was causing almost instant failure of the mechanical seal from stretching, rolling O-rings and shattering hard seal faces.

Working with Advanced Sealing International (ASI), our experts designed a custom double mechanical seal, based on ASI’s Model 600, which allowed for the necessary shaft growth without destroying seal faces or damaging plant equipment. Designing the custom mechanical seal required focus on several factors other than the equipment failure. We needed to design a seal that would address factors like minimizing the use of water being wasted as the barrier fluid, frictional heat, the set up and crystallization of the sugars in the product on seal faces during downtime, product loss and waste, product contamination and of course the safety of plant personnel — all while maintaining FDA compliance.

This new custom mechanical seal increased the life of the equipment’s seal from around 2-6 weeks to 1-4 years — that’s an average increase of nearly 3,000 percent. Considering that it takes around eight hours to replace the drive end and thrust end of the vessel seals, increasing the seal life has resulted in a reduction in downtime, increased production, increased safety and decreased collateral equipment damage.

Expert Gasket & Seal can solve your gasket and seal problems too.
Just call and expert today at 800.956.8766

A Complete Guide to Rubber Gasket Materials

In our February blog post, we shared five common materials used to make gaskets, which included three types of rubber gasket materials: Silicone, Viton® and Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM). In this blog post, we will highlight these, and other rubber materials, their applications and their uses as a guide for choosing the right rubber gasket for your next job.

Rubber gasket materials vary in composition and functionality. When choosing a rubber gasket material, several factors need to be considered including temperature range, thickness, system pressure, application, industry and FDA grade to determine the right material for your intended gasket use. While rubber gasket materials may have similar temperature ranges and thicknesses, they are constructed for different applications and purposes.

This guide for rubber gasket materials is meant to highlight important material distinctions to help you make the most informed decision.

EPDM Rubber

EPDM rubber is typically used in hot water and steam conditions. It performs well when used with glycol-based brake fluids and is known for great resistance to ozone, aging and a range of weather conditions. EPDM rubber gaskets offer great resistance to heat, which is why these types of rubber gaskets are used for caustic service and mild acids.

  • Temperature Range: -50° F – +300° F
  • Thickness: 1/16” to ¼”
  • P Max (psi): 150
  • Applications: Water, steam, animal/vegetable oils and oxygenated solvents. Excellent with acid.
  • Typical Industries: Aerospace, construction
  • FDA Approved Compounds: Yes

 Silicone Rubber

You could say that silicone rubber is built for planes, trains and automobiles. Silicone rubber is a versatile material that performs well in low and high temperatures. A silicone rubber gasket prevents oxygen from penetrating and will resist potential problems, like ozone, UV rays and inclement weather. Silicone rubber is used in FDA/food processes, high temperatures and where electrical resistance is needed.

  • Temperature Range: -75° F – +450° F
  • Thickness: 1/32” to ¼”
  • Maximum Pressure (P Max): 150 psi
  • Applications: High temperatures in air or water (excluding oil or steam)
  • Typical Industries: Aerospace, food and beverage and transportation
  • FDA Approved Compounds: Yes

Viton® Rubber

Viton® rubber has a broad range of chemical resistance making it ideal for most applications involving oils, fuels and acids. Viton® rubber boasts excellent resistance to oxidation, ozone and UV exposure. Viton® rubber’s fuel resistance means these gaskets can withstand high-temperature conditions and is widely used for its chemical compatibility.

  • Temperature Range: -20° F – +400° F
  • Thickness: 1/32” to ¼”
  • Maximum Pressure (P Max): 150 psi
  • Applications: Oil/aromatic fuels, mineral, animal and vegetable oils, solvents and hydraulic fluid; Excellent with petrol and lubricating oils, as well as solvents, caustics, acids, etc.
  • Typical Industries: Automotive, food processing and pharmaceutical
  • FDA Approved Compounds: Yes

 Neoprene® (Chloroprene) Rubber

Neoprene® is the most prominent synthetic rubber material. It performs well in low and high temperatures and is commonly used in water, refrigerants, some mineral oils and ammonia applications.

  • Temperature Range: -20° F – +225° F
  • Thickness: 1/32” to 2”
  • Maximum Pressure (P Max): 150 psi
  • Applications: Oil and gasoline, excellent weather resistance
  • Typical Industries: HVAC, automotive and electrical
  • FDA Approved Compounds: Yes

Nitrile (Buna-N, NBR, Acrylonitrile-butadiene) Rubber

Nitrile rubber is used in low and high temperature environments for petroleum-based fluids. This type of rubber is ideal for a majority of mineral oils, some fuels and petroleum-based oils and grease. It is important to note that Nitrile rubber does not match well with glycol-based brake fluid, phosphate-ester fluids and high aromatic content fuels.

  • Temperature Range: -25° F – +212° F
  • Thickness: 1/32” to 2”
  • Maximum Pressure (P Max): 150 psi
  • Applications: Oil/aromatic fuels, mineral, animal and vegetable oils, solvents and hydraulic fluid
  • Typical Industries: Military vehicles, mobile equipment, white FDA, general service and utility
  • FDA Approved Compounds: Yes

SBR (Styrene-Butadiene) Rubber

SBR rubber is the oldest synthetic rubber material and is durable and resilient. The most popular form of SBR rubber used to make gaskets is called “Red Rubber,” named for its reddish-brown color. SBR rubber performs well in low and high temperatures and is typically used in a range of wastewater and many other utility applications.

  • Temperature Range: -40° F – +180° F
  • Thickness: 1/32” to ¼”
  • Maximum Pressure (P Max): 150 psi
  • Applications: Air and hot and cold water; excellent abrasion and impact resistance, and resilience
  • Typical Industries: Interior plumbing and drainage systems
  • FDA Approved Compounds: Not typically used in food applications, however some specialized food-grade versions (white SBR) have been developed

There are many impactful characteristics and features to consider for your intended gasket purpose. When choosing a gasket material, the main objective is to pick one that will seal the deal. Let this blog post be your guide for making that decision.

To learn more about gasket materials, contact Expert Gasket & Seal today at (330) 468-0066.

 

Five Gasket Materials That Will Seal the Deal

There are a variety of materials that can be used to make gaskets. When preventing leaks is the objective, it’s very important for these materials to be reliable and long lasting. But before determining the right material for your project, you must first consider how your gasket will be used. Here are some things to think about before deciding what material to use:

  • What application will the gasket be used in?
  • What temperature range will the gasket be used in?
  • Are there any potential chemicals that may come in contact with the gasket?
  • What type of system pressure will the gasket need to endure?

Once you have determined the use for your gasket, the next step is figuring out the type of material that will best serve this purpose.

There are many types of materials we use at Expert Gasket & Seal to make gaskets. Here are a few popular materials to consider for your next project.

Rubber Gasket Materials

  • Silicone rubber is a versatile material that is effective in high and low temperature environments. A silicone rubber gasket will prevent oxygen from penetrating as well as resist a lot of potential problems, like ozone, UV rays and inclement weather.
  • Viton rubber has an exceptionally broad range of chemical resistance making Viton a perfect option for most applications involving oils, fuels, acids, this material boast excellent resistance to oxidation, ozone, and UV exposure.
  • Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) rubber is used in hot water and steam conditions. EPDM rubber is also used with glycol-based brake fluids and is known for great resistance to ozone, aging and a range of weather conditions.

For compressed gasket materials, here are a couple of frequently used materials in this gasket category.

Durlon Gaskets

  • Durlon® 8500 is a green colored NBR binder/Aramid-Inorganic fiber compressed sheet. This would be a great choice for steam, natural gas and a number of petroleum-based fluids. It will perform in temperatures as low as -100 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 700 degrees Fahrenheit. The continuous max temperature is 548 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Durlon® 8400 is a gold colored NBR binder/Phenolic fiber sheet. This type of material is a popular choice when a wide pH range is needed. It’s an excellent choice in chemical, pulp and paper and other industrial applications. This material will perform in temperatures as low as -100 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 800 degrees Fahrenheit. The continuous max temperature is 554 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Durlon 9000 is extensively used in chemical, pulp and paper, food and beverage, and the railroad tanker industry.

There are many considerations to make when determining which material to use to make a gasket. Once you settle on the type of material you need, Expert Gasket & Seal’s sealing professionals will provide you with the precise gasket you need from our state-of-the-art facility using a traditional die-cutting process or a computer-controlled, die-less, Flashcut process.

To learn more about gasket materials, contact Expert Gasket & Seal today at (330) 468-0066.

Is CAD Needed to Prototype Custom Gaskets, Seals and Other Parts?

Traditional manual gasket production requires creating templates or steel dies, doubling the time to manufacture the gasket. When gasket designs are computerized and run through CAD software, small alterations to gasket designs take much less time and do not require dies or re-tooling, making them ideal for prototyping and perfecting your design before mass production. For prototyping purposes, having CAD designs ready to go for the parts you need is ideal. But what if you dont have a CAD file or drawing to start with?

Maybe you have a product sample and need to prototype two-dimensional gasket from the sample, or maybe you created a gasket manually, without a CAD file, that you need to duplicate. Expert Gasket has a solution that is both fast and accurate at replicating products without design files.

Gasket Prototyping Without CAD Files Via Optical Scanning

Along with our Flashcut technology, we utilize a high-tech optical scanner that allows us to make a 3D scan of the product or component sample and build a computerized model (CAD file) from the physical sample.

This scanner enables you to capture your object’s shape and geometrics quickly and accurately through millions of XYZ data points and provides thorough measurement data of the entire surface of your object, creating a complete digital representation of your part and verifying that the part matches your CAD model.

Once your CAD model is complete, your prototype can be created with our die-less Flashcut system. This entire process allows for fast, accurate results while shortening your time to market and reducing labor and material costs.

Rapid Gasket Scanning and Prototyping for Any Application

Expert Gasket & Seal provides cost-effective, rapid prototyping for most flat gasket non-metallic applications. Our Flashcut machinery’s computer-controlled, high-speed knife cutting system produces precise, close tolerance parts on soft materials. This allows us to design and quickly prototype custom gaskets made from rubber, cork, PTFE, compressed non-asbestos and many other materials.

This cutting-edge technology fabricates accurate gaskets and other products from your CAD file or from your original .pdf drawing, and it is die-less, so there is no need to tool new dies for each new design – plus, it’s simple to reconfigure new settings, so you get a finished product faster.

To learn more about Prototyping, with or without a CAD file, contact Expert Gasket & Seal today at (330) 468-0066!