There are a plethora of choices when it comes to gasketing material. But if you are in the food processing, it is crucial that every item that makes contact with the gasket is left unaffected. And although silicone is inherently non-toxic, only a specially formulated food grade silicone is fit for use with consumables.
Silicone is an ideal elastomer to use if you require FDA-approved rubber. Since there is an emphasis on rubbers being suitable for repeated use in the food processing industry, silicone is ideal being that the material is not susceptible to harmful microbial agents or other contaminants. Food grade gaskets and seals should be able to function for long periods of time without falling prey to harmful contamination, or degradation.
One of the prime qualities of food-grade silicone is temperature resistance. This is especially important in food processing where temperatures can range from freezing cold to boiling hot. Food grade silicone can normally operate in temperatures ranging from -80°F to 450°F. In cold temperatures, food grade silicone remains very flexible and in hotter temperatures, the food grade rubber maintains its form and integrity without suffering any heat-related damage.
The food processing industry can be physically demanding. The materials used in such applications have to be tough, durable, and flexible. Food grade rubber is often employed as seals and gaskets in areas that require enhanced flexibility. Silicone makes great FDA-approved gaskets and other various types of food grade seals because it has a low compression set along with superior levels of flexibility and elongation. A low compression set means that the food grade rubber is better able to rebound after physical pressure is applied to it. Both flexibility and elongation is key for tasks that involve food containers because the food grade rubber needs to be flexible enough to cover the dimensional requirements of different types of containers.
Food grade silicone gasketing material comes in many durometers and thicknesses. Our 40,000sq.ft. manufacturing facility in East Longmeadow, MA can fabricate any shape and size gasket you need, from a standard ANSI gasket, to an intricate CAD drawing.
Food grade silicone can also be used in applications other than gasketing, such as seals, extrusions, tubings, and many more. Not sure if food grade silicone is right for your processes? Our Engineering Department can help specify which material would be best for your application. Contact us today for assistance.