As a supplier of critical process equipment to the world’s largest food & beverage manufacturers, performance and reliability are fundamental to this customer’s value proposition. However they experienced problems with very short lifetime of gaskets installed in hygienic connections within their PET bottle filling machines. Silicone seals were failing prematurely during both process and cleaning cycles, and were being replaced on a weekly basis - thus impacting machine reliability, maintenance costs and increasing the risk of contamination.
Not only does the acidity of most fruit juice cause problems for conventional rubber seals, the greatest stress is in the cleaning and sterilization of the equipment, in this case using PAA (peracetic acid). PAA is an oxidising agent which attacks both natural and synthetic rubbers, and will make the seals brittle and susceptible to mechanical failure.
Through in-depth discussion and collaboration with the customer’s engineering team, it was determined that the best solution was to design a customized profile of GYLON BIO-ECO® gaskets for the hygienic screw couplings. This supports the required level of compliance to industry standards, and the modified PTFE structure of the GYLON® Style 3504 material provides compatibility with both chemical and mechanical demands of the application. The OEM is extremely satisfied that Garlock was willing and able to modify a standard design to create a truly bespoke sealing solution. The outcome is that the seal reliability has been extended from 5 days to 6 months, and the end-user response has been so positive that they have implemented the product across their facility to enjoy the benefits of more effective and safer process sealing.