Home News How Metal Detectable O-Rings are used in the Food & Beverage Industry

How Metal Detectable O-Rings are used in the Food & Beverage Industry

Metal detectable O-rings are a metal and rubber combination that allows metal detectors to identify and locate contaminated products using metal separators easily and quickly. In the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical sector, specialized processing equipment degrades with continuous use. Elastomer seals also degrade, increasing the risk that rubber fragments could end up in the product being manufactured.

In the food and beverage industry, metal detectable o-rings, seals, and gaskets are tools that help manufacturers meet safety standards. The food industry must follow strict regulations about hygiene, and metal detectable sealing applications reduce the risk that a product will become contaminated by containing the threat if polymers end up in a finished product.

In some cases, it may be necessary to use Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved O-rings. Manufacturers using standard seals run the risk that those seals will degrade over time, increasing the risk that rubber fragments will enter the product. Detecting contamination of this sort could be time-consuming and expensive. Switching to metal detectable seals helps manage product and operational risk.

How do FDA-grade metal detectable O-rings work?

O-rings used by food manufacturing industries fit into a groove between two surfaces. During assembly, compression creates a sealing surface. Metal-detectable o-rings used in the food and beverage industry must withstand abrasion and corrosion while meeting FDA standards.

Metal detectable O-rings resist fungal growth and buildup of dangerous bacteria. They are non-toxic, non-marking, and non-allergenic and have the ability to remain intact even under harsh manufacturing conditions.

What are metal detectable O-rings made from?

Metal detectable seals are made from Nitrile, FKM, EPDM, and Silicone compounds that can be detected by specialized scanning equipment. The base material is filled with a proprietary combination of metal fillers, making them easily detectable by metal detectors and inline X-ray machines. If the scanner detects metal fragments, stopping production to remove contaminated products prevents bigger problems in the supply chain. Metal detecting scanners can identify metal fragments 2mm or larger.

Benefits of using metal detectable O-rings in the food and beverage industry

There are a few distinct advantages to choosing metal detectable O-rings. The FDA has strict requirements designed to prevent unwanted non-food and potentially harmful materials out of the food supply. Metal detectable sealing solutions can meet the FDA's requirements while making it easy to detect lost elastomeric fragments. Manufacturers can reduce production downtime in the short term and prevent expensive and time-consuming product recalls.

Using metal detectable O-rings also helps food and beverage manufacturers reduce product loss. Metal detectors can immediately identify the contaminated products, making it unnecessary to assume that an entire production run was compromised.

The FDA conducts extensive testing for reliability and safety on components like O-rings and seals for use in the food and beverage industry. O-rings must meet specific criteria before receiving FDA approval.

O-rings made from food-safe materials

Food and beverage packaging that comes into direct contact with the product may leak or leach into the product. O-rings are an important component in machines used in manufacturing plants. They may degrade over time, so the material must be food-safe. It's crucial to make sure that O-rings do not contain chemicals or substances that could contaminate the product immediately or long-term.

Durable and well-made O-rings

O-rings made to FDA standards can prevent unexpected failures and reduce the manufacturer's downtime. The 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is "transforming the nation’s food safety system by shifting the focus from responding to foodborne illness to preventing it." Metal detectable O-ring technology helps to greatly reduce the likelihood that plastic and rubber fragments could enter the food supply causing injury or illness.

When using metal-detectable O-rings in the food and beverage industry, the ultimate goal is to prevent contamination. If contamination occurs, metal detectors can quickly locate the fragments. This provides the manufacturer with the opportunity to repair the malfunctioning equipment, remove the contaminated product, and restart operations. It eliminates the need to dispose of large volumes of potentially contaminated product and ultimately reduces downtime after mishaps with production equipment.

Contact the Wyatt Seal team today to learn more.

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