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High performance seals extend process equipment operating times by 6000%

15 June 2017

DuPont Kalrez Spectrum 6375 perfluoroelastomer O-ring seals have been chosen by a major European manufacturer in the AgroSciences marketplace to replace PTFE sealing products previously utilised in its manufacturing equipment.

Plant processes included aggressive solvents, surfactants and concentrated herbicides at temperatures ranging from 10 to 45°C, and operating pressures from 1.5 to 3.5 bars Efl. Filling machine valves on the line were previously fitted with dynamic PTFE O-ring seals, while the machine hoses were equipped with static seals, also of PTFE. Each time seal replacements or clean-in-place procedures were performed at 80°C, this resulted in mechanical damage to PTFE seals. Subsequently PTFE O-ring replacement was being undertaken on a daily basis.

In addition the effect of steam on FKM O-rings generated product embrittlement and volume swell, causing surface cracking, reducing tensile strength and leading to premature loss of sealing force and eventual process leakages. The costs in loss of productive time and increased maintenance became unacceptable, coupled with the need for a more resilient sealing material that would withstand frequent cleaning and product changes, while providing extended seal lifetimes.

As a result of adopting the 6375 product, the previously daily procedure of seal replacements for their filling line equipment has been extended to an average of a two monthly procedure. This has achieved a 6000 percent improvement for its filler machine equipment, while a similar replacement of FEP/FKM seals on other equipment has extended plant operating times from an average eight hour period to a substantially higher MTBF period of between 8-12 months. Since switching the Kalrez Spectrum 6375 custom O-rings, the manufacturer has substantially increased its operation uptimes for filling machines, as well as achieving improved overall reliability of packing lines. A significant result in the reduction of O-ring replacements has also led to increased production with accompanying improvements in safety and reliability, as well as reducing general plant maintenance requirements.

Kalrez perfluoroelastomer parts are available in the UK from the official DuPont licensee company Dichtomatik Ltd. Kalrez Spectrum 6375 components have been designed specifically for applications in the chemical processing industries. These products also combine innovative polymer and cure technologies to ensure outstanding performance with an extensive selection of chemicals and operation at excessive temperature levels. The range of aggressive fluids handled includes acids, bases, amines, steam, ethylene oxide and many other even more hazardous chemicals.

These once problematic fluid mixed streams encountered with chemical processors can now be safely and effectively handled by the 6375 compound, which enables an upper service temperature of 275°C (527°F). This level is approximately 100°F higher than competitive products that also claim suitability for broad chemical resistance applications. The high temperature stability achieved with the 6375 compound range is also applicable even where short duration temperature excess also occurs.

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