By switching from gasket seals of PTFE to custom gaskets of DuPont™ Kalrez® perfluoroelastomer parts in the sensor head of a process instrument refractometer used by the food, pulp and paper and chemical industries, process instrument manufacturer K-Patents Oy, Vantaa, Finland, was able to dramatically extend instrument service life, increase reliability and safety, and reduce costs for the company and its customers.
Through permanent in-line fluids immersion, K-Patents’ “PR-01-S” refractometer is exposed to temperatures from –20 ° to +220 °C, pressures from –0,7 to +25 bar, and some 500 process fluids and chemicals, many of which are extremely aggressive. Delicate digital detector circuits and fiber optics in the sensor head are sealed by two gaskets from attack by aggressive fluids. Because of inherent inelasticity, the original PTFE gaskets could not withstand the dynamic temperature fluctuations of many food, pulp and paper and chemical manufacturing processes, creating a leak path allowing process media to enter and damage the device. As a result, costly replacement of the PTFE seal became necessary approximately every 6–12 months.