Elastomeric sealing components for industrial use are expected to perform reliably in the face of some extreme operating environments. High temperatures and pressures are key markers of oil and gas exploration and production, with chemical processing facilities exposing elastomer seals to highly aggressive chemical compounds — all of which can have significant impacts on the lifetime and performance of these seals.
In dairy production, the degradation of a sealing element can greatly increase the risk of contamination. But by following the STAMPS method, dairy processors will be able to minimize this hygiene risk to dairy products by ensuring the safest possible process lines. STAMPS is a helpful mnemonic for the six key considerations in sealing for dairy process applications:
- Size. Create detailed drawings of the seal area and surrounding interfaces.
- Temperature. Determine all of the temperature parameters for the seal, from minimums and maximums through to typical running temperatures and thermal cycling.
- Application. Confirm the type of dairy process equipment being sealed, as well as the expected movement the seal will face. You’ll also need to establish the cause of any previous seal failures on the application, and how frequently they occurred.
- Media. Identify the materials/products with which your seal will be coming into contact in the dairy process line (hint — it’s not just milk!) Which chemicals are you using to clean and sterilize your equipment, and how often?
- Pressure. Does your dairy process line operate under any notable running pressures? And how about pressure cycling? Consider whether you need a more robust sealing material that is up to the challenge.
- Speed. How fast will your seals be moving in the assembly? Surface contact speeds, shaft speeds and diameters are all critical measures in specifying the proper sealing material.
There are specialist sealing engineers who can guide you through this checklist and ensure that for any dairy application, you select the optimal combination of seal profile and seal material to deliver reliable hygienic sealing performance. Paying closer attention to your seals will give better protection against contamination for your consumers, increase your maintenance windows and reduce your cost of ownership. If you’ve not applied STAMPS to your process line, there’s no better time to start!