Why is FDA-approved Silicone Rubber Chosen for Gaskets and Seals in the Food Processing Industry?
The food and pharmaceutical industry follows stringent standards when it comes to gasket and sealing materials used in food production machinery. The material chosen for these applications must meet the FDA guidelines for purity and hygiene. There are various FDA-approved material choices available when it comes to gaskets for the said industry. EPDM, fluorocarbon, neoprene, nitrile, and silicone are a few materials that are widely preferred in the food processing industry. Among these, silicone has gained immense popularity in recent years, owing to several distinct advantages that it offers. What makes it a popular choice for gaskets in the said industry? Read the post to find answers.
What is Silicone?
Silicones are elastomers with a silicon-oxygen backbone. During the chemical reaction, silica and carbon are heated together at elevated temperatures to produce silicone. Being formed from the organic compounds of carbon and hydrogen, the material is often referred to as hydrocarbon.
Beneficial Features of FDA-approved Silicone Rubber
FDA-approved silicone rubber is widely used in the food processing industry owing to its several properties such as the ones mentioned below:
- Temperature Resistance: This is one of the important requirements in the food processing industry, where the temperatures may vary from boiling to freezing. FDA-approved food- grade silicone can withstand temperatures from -80°F to 450°F. Silicone maintains its integrity at high temperatures, and it remains flexible at low temperatures.
- Flexibility: The food processing industry is one of the most demanding industries in terms of hygiene and mechanics. Apart from the temperature factor, the gaskets and seals must be made from durable, yet flexible materials. Silicone rubber assures excellent flexibility, elongation, and low compression set. A low compression set means the rubber can return to its original position even if additional pressure is applied onto it.
- Chemical Resistance: Silicone is known to resist strong chemicals such as acetic acid, ammonia gas, fish oil, corn oil, tartaric acid, sodium sulfate, and vinegar. All this means, the gaskets made of this material will not be tainted by greases or oils used in cooking.
- Food Safe: Food-grade silicone material is petroleum free. It features no fillers, BPS, and BPA – which makes it safe for use. This means the food products that come in contact with these silicone rubber gaskets will be safe.
- Water Repellant: FDA-approved silicone is a water-repellant material, and is also resistant to fungal decay.
- Resistance to Environmental Elements: Ozonation, aging, and weathering are major concerns for manufacturers in the food processing industry. They can be assured of silicone rubber seals and gaskets because they can resist them. The rubber variant is durable and they remain in good condition even if exposed to ultraviolet rays and harsh working conditions.
A Few Examples of Silicone Rubber Gaskets in the Food Processing Industry
FDA-approved silicone rubber is widely used for making the following types of gaskets:
- FDA O-rings
- Food grade beverage gaskets
- Commercial oven gaskets
- Water purification tubing
- Dairy fluid handling tubing and seals
- Food safe BBQ, smoker gasket
- Food grade oven doors and seals
- Water filtration system seals
- Small appliance seals and tubing
After understanding the relevance of FDA-approved silicone materials, you may want to partner with a company that has immense experience working with the material. SSP Seals is one of the well-known providers of gaskets and seals for the food processing industry. SSP silicone seals and gaskets are widely used in static applications over dynamic applications owing to their proven success. These gaskets and seals can withstand a maximum service temperature of 392 deg. F and minimum service temperature of -76 deg. F. Among various benefits, SSP silicone assures excellent cold flexibility and has a compression set value of less than or equal to 8%.