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.