How Silicone Rubber Is Used for Sealing and Insulation

Silicone RubberHow is silicone rubber used for sealing and insulation? Silicones have valuable properties, but engineers need rubber that meets specific requirements. If you’re wondering whether silicone seals, gaskets, or insulation are the right choice for your application, consider some of the uses for this versatile polymer.    The examples you’ll read about aren’t the only uses for silicone, but they’re representative. Continue reading How Silicone Rubber Is Used for Sealing and Insulation

How Elasto Proxy Supports the Stainless Steel and Food Equipment Industries

Learn how Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates seals and insulation for the stainless steel and food equipment industries. Our value-added solutions strengthen your manufacturing supply chain.

Stainless Steel and Food EquipmentElasto Proxy, an experienced provider of sealing and insulation solutions, strengthens supply chains in the stainless steel and food equipment industries. Through design assistance, compound selection, and custom-fabrication, we support projects from prototyping to production. Elasto Proxy also offers value-added solutions that speed installation and optimize inventory management. Our rubber and plastic parts arrive ready-to-install, and we can ship them on-demand or according to your sales forecast. Continue reading How Elasto Proxy Supports the Stainless Steel and Food Equipment Industries

Silicone Seals for Food Service Equipment

Silicone Seals for Food Service Equipment
Silicone Seals for Food Service Equipment

Learn how Elasto Proxy helped a manufacturer of food service equipment solve a sealing and insulation challenge with food prep tables.

Food prep tables and other food service equipment generally features stainless steel construction. Strong, durable, and corrosion-resistant, stainless steel is easy-to-clean and ideal as a food contact surface. Surface finishing treatments such electropolishing inhibit bacterial attachment and biofilm formation, which helps to prevent foodborne illness. Food prep tables with refrigeration systems also help keep ingredients at the proper temperatures for freshness and taste.

By following proper procedures, stainless steel surfaces can be kept shiny and clean. That includes metal surfaces where items like sandwiches and salads are assembled, as well as the pans and shelves that hold the ingredients. Yet food prep tables are built with non-metallic materials, too. Silicone seals fill slots and surround metal edges in food storage areas. They cover sharp surfaces, seal gaps, and support refrigeration. All silicone rubber is not the same, however, so it’s important to choose the right compound. Continue reading Silicone Seals for Food Service Equipment

High Temperature Seals for Commercial Ovens

High Temperature SealsIn this case study, you’ll learn how Elasto Proxy helped a commercial oven manufacturer solve a sealing and insulation challenge. By applying our technical design, compound selection, and custom fabrication expertise, we provide high temperature seals for bakery and pizza ovens. How can we help you?

Commercial ovens don’t just need to achieve and maintain the proper cooking temperature. In busy environments such as sandwich shops, bakeries, pizzerias, and convenience stores, a commercial oven’s cooking speed and ease-of-use are also important. Oven door seals aren’t as bright and shiny as a brand-new stainless steel oven, but these rubber parts can shine brightly in their own way.

When a popular restaurant chain began toasting its sandwiches, a commercial oven manufacturer faced a challenge with high temperature seals for oven doors. The manufacturer’s oven contained a moveable tray that held sandwiches during cooking, but that caught on the door seal whenever a sandwich was removed. Eventually, the overlap between the rubber seal and the metal tray caused the oven seal to loosen. Continue reading High Temperature Seals for Commercial Ovens

Design Considerations for Acoustic Insulation

Video - Acoustic Insulation Design Considerations
Video – Acoustic Insulation Design Considerations

Technical buyers and design engineers need to evaluate all of their application requirements when specifying acoustic insulation. Sound dampening and sound absorption aren’t the same, and some acoustic materials may not be suitable for specific environments or frequencies.

Noisy equipment can cause hearing loss and result in violations that carry fines and other penalties. In North America, regulatory agencies such as OSHA, NIOSH and the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) establish workplace limits for noise exposure. Yet the fact remains that noise and hearing loss are the second most prevalent self-reported work-related injury, according to the Hearing Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa.

Noise can also affect perceptions of product quality. That’s why some potential car buyers listen to how a vehicle’s door sounds when it closes. In a sports car, engine noise suggests speed and power. In a tractor, dump track, or military vehicle, loud engine sounds within the cab are unwanted. For technical buyers and design engineers then, noise mitigation can be about enhancing worker safety, ensuring regulatory compliance, improving the customer experience – or all of the above.

Acoustic insulation is essential, but what are some design considerations? In other words, what do buyers and designers need to know? Continue reading Design Considerations for Acoustic Insulation

FDA Approved Silicone Sponge for Custom-Fabricated Rubber Products

Silicone-3D-vdW

John Rye
Branch Manager at Elasto Proxy

Food grade silicones are used in food processing facilities and industrial kitchens to help keep food items from coming into contact with equipment surfaces. Products include non-stick baking molds, pads, and trays; sanitary door seals for refrigerators, freezers, mixers, and ovens; and protective rubber profiles for the sharp edges on stainless steel surfaces such as food prep tables.

A type of synthetic rubber, silicone is an inert compound that will not react with food products or food ingredients. This flexible, durable synthetic material doesn’t off-gas fumes either. Suitable for high and low service temperatures, silicone seals can be used with both ovens and freezers. Applications for silicone extend beyond the food equipment industry, so suppliers use the term food grade silicones.

Not all food grade silicones contain the same ingredients, however, and silicone sponge and solid silicone have different material properties. There’s also the matter of meeting standards such as those from the National Sanitary Foundation (NSF) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although the FDA’s regulatory jurisdiction is limited to the United States, FDA standards are used worldwide.

Food Grade, FDA Compliant, or FDA Approved?

Many suppliers offer food grade silicones, but some describe their materials as “FDA compliant” or “FDA approved”. Typically, these compounds comply with only the FDA’s extraction requirement, or contain only a subset of ingredients that are FDA approved. In other words, these silicones are food grade, but they’re not fully FDA compliant – and they’re not fully FDA approved.

What does this matter? In an article entitled Is It Really FDA Approved?, the agency explains how and what it approves. Materials such as silicone, which were once known as indirect food additives, are now called food contact substances (FCS) instead. If an FCS contains multiple additives (as compounds do), then all of the additives must be approved in order for the FCS to be fully-approved.

Technical buyers also need to understand the FDA’s extraction limit. CFR 21.177.2600 specifies multiple extraction test limits for rubber that comes into contact with food. Using distilled water and n-hexane, suppliers must prove that their rubber does not exceed allowable extractive amounts. Yet meeting this standard alone doesn’t make a food grade silicone fully FDA approved.

A Silicone Sponge That Fills the Gap

As an experienced custom fabricator with expertise in compound selection, Elasto Proxy offers sealing solutions that are made from fully FDA approved silicone sponge.  The sheets, rolls, and extrusions that we convert are made from a special silicone compound that meets the FDA’s extraction test, and also contains only FDA-approved additives.

Food and beverage equipment manufacturers, the pharmaceutical industry, and medical manufacturers now have a new option for meeting application requirements. Moreover, because this fully FDA approved silicone is a sponge, its features include excellent compression set and recovery. This is important not just for door seals, but also with baking mats where food products fall onto a packing line.

How Can We Help You?

Do you need help sourcing silicones for sanitary applications? For 25 years, Elasto Proxy has been working with partners in a variety of industries to solve sealing challenges. By listening to all of your requirements and analyzing all of your needs, our solutions providers can recommend silicone seals that are right for your application.

Please contact us for more information, or join the conversation on our social media channels. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has a YouTube channel, too. Finally, please subscribe to our free e-newsletters. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and they provide links to blog entries like this one.

Inflatable Seals for Powders and Material Handling

Inflatable Seals

Clyde Sharpe
President of International Sales at Elasto Proxy

Have you heard the old saying, “It’s just like riding a bike”? Some skills, once learned, are not forgotten. Without the right rubber parts, however, even the best bicycle can’t carry you along roads or trails. You may be able to maintain your balance for a while, but you won’t get far riding on a metal rim. A flat tire is no fun, and repairing or replacing a bicycle tube can be challenging.

Has it been a few years since you’ve ridden a ten-speed or a mountain bike? Even if it has, you can still appreciate the example of a bike tube and tire. When the rubber inner tube is inflated, the doughnut-shaped balloon expands and increases the tire’s pressure. In turn, this pressure supports the weight of the bike and rider. Air is added through a valve, and avoiding a flat means filling the tire (and tube) to the proper pressure. Otherwise, deflation can leave you stranded with a long walk home.

From Bike Rides to Manufacturing Operations

Inflatable seals are similar to bicycle tubes and tires. Like inner tubes, they’re made of rubber materials and inflated with air. Like bike tires, they’re also made of rubber, but reinforced with fabric or fiberglass for greater abrasion and wear resistance. Compounders add different chemicals to the rubber to impart specific material properties, including color. Product designers and manufacturers, including custom fabrication specialists, then transform stock profiles into application-specific solutions.

Unlike bicycles, however, inflatable seals are used mainly in manufacturing environments. These industrial rubber parts are ideal for covering a gap when there’s little room and no friction on the gasket. Inflatable rubber seals expand when they’re needed and then contract when an operation moves to the next step or level. Standard seals made of materials such as sponge EPDM may work for a while, but lose the gap after a few uses. When rubber seals aren’t tight enough, they can crack and fail.

Inflatable Sealing for Manufacturers

For manufacturers then, inflatable seals are used during operations such as the movement of powders between drums or barrels. The sealing action that these rubber parts provide helps to prevent the loss of bulk solids, ensure product purity, and protect personnel. Waste reduction is important, of course, but manufacturers must also prevent unwanted admixtures of different types of powder materials. In high enough concentrations, too, some powders can be explosive.

Applications for inflatable seals include the powdered metals industry, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and food processing. To help contain metal powders, reinforced seals made of EPDM and neoprene are used since wear and abrasion resistance are important. In the pharmaceuticals industry, FDA-approved silicones may be required. Because of their high service temperatures, silicones are also used in ovens, where inflatable seals support robotic fingers that grab and move containers or products.

How Can We Help You?

Do you need to source inflatable seals for these or other applications? How can we help you? For 25 years, Elasto Proxy has been working with partners in a variety of industries to solve sealing challenges. By listening to all of your requirements and analyzing all of your needs, our solutions providers can recommend inflatable seals that are right for your application.

Please contact us for more information, or join the conversation on our social media channels. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has a YouTube channel, too. Finally, please subscribe to our free e-newsletters. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and they provide links to blog entries like this one.

Sanitary Seals for Food Equipment and Medical Equipment

Sanitary Seals | Food Equipment
Sanitary Seals | Food Equipment

Elasto Proxy supplies sanitary seals to the food equipment industry as well as to medical equipment manufacturers and the makers of medical assist devices. Our solutions providers understand your regulatory environment and how some plastic and rubber materials must meet requirements from organizations such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Sanitary Foundation (NSF). As your supply chain partner, we also understand that when health and safety are at stake, there’s more to business than the bottom line.

Food Safe Seals

For over 20 years, Elasto Proxy has designed, manufactured, and installed replacement seals for vats and tanks at food and beverage processing facilities. By listening to all of your requirements and analyzing all of your needs, our solutions providers can recommend material compounds that meet your pressure, temperature, and sanitary requirements. Food equipment suppliers also trust Elasto Proxy to design and fabricate high-quality rubber components that help keep kitchen employees safe. So whether you need rubber gaskets for refrigerators, high-temperature door seals for restaurant ovens, or protective edges for sharp stainless steel surfaces, you can count on us to provide the right sealing solution.

Medical Seals

Medical equipment manufacturers and the makers of medical assist devices also operate in a highly regulated environment where health and safety are on the line. As a trusted supplier to manufacturers of durable medical equipment, Elasto Proxy designs and custom-fabricates plastic and rubber parts such as medical tubing, diaphragms, and gaskets. Our capabilities also include components such as rubber seals for handicap accessible walk-in bathtubs and foam grips for bed grab handles. With the knowledge and expertise to meet the needs of doctor’s offices, hospitals, and home-health care settings, Elasto Proxy serves suppliers of dental equipment, too.

Specialty Seals

Earning your trust involves more than mastering food-contact requirements or the latest specifications for medical materials. To meet all of your business needs, Elasto Proxy can also supply sanitary seals that match your product’s colors. For example, if you need a rubber gasket to match the color of a medical assist device, we can source the compound from an extruder who uses pantone color matching. Our solutions providers can also design rubber seals that complement color schemes for kitchen equipment such as refrigerators, ovens, and mixers. By listing to all of your requirements and analyzing all of your needs, Elasto Proxy seals-in safety for food and medical equipment.