Which O-ring is the right one
for the food industry?
If you work with foods, you want to be sure that the materials you use in your process are safe. Not every type of O-ring can be used for applications where there is (direct or indirect) contact with food. If the O-ring comes into contact with food, it is wise to pay attention to the material so that you don't influence the smell or the tast of the food. In this article we give advice on the most commonly used materials for the food industry so that you find the right O-ring for your application.
The rubber material of the O-ring can contain harmful substances which may be released during use. If such an O-ring comes into direct contact with food, it is possible that these substances are being transferred from the rubber to the food. For this reason, not all O-ring materials are suitable for food applications. By choosing the right material of the rubber compound, you ensure that your O-ring does not dispose of harmful substances and that the food is not affected or contaminated by dangerous substances.
In order to stay ahead of the risk of food contamination, clear guidelines have been set up for the use of food-safe materials. These guidelines have been laid down by the FDA (American Food and Drugs Administration) and in Europe in the European directive EC 1935/2004. To ensure food safety, we recommend the use of ERIKS rubber compounds that are in accordance with the requirements of both the FDA and the directive EC 1935/2004. For example materials such as EPDM, NBR, Silicone and Viton® are suitable for food applications and fulfil the requirements of the FDA and the European Directive EC 1935/2004.
The food-safe materials from ERIKS are subject to the mandatory extensive extraction and migration tests to ensure a safe application for our customers. You can submit the results of this in a statement. Tip! You can recognize the food-safe rubber compounds by the following logos.
Choice of material
For food applications, the materials EPDM, NBR, Silicone or Viton® are the most common choices. However, it is also necessary to make a choice between the different suitable materials that suit your application. We are happy to explain which of these compounds are most suitable for your application.
EPDM (compound 559270)
EPDM O-rings are suitable for hot water and steam applications, furthermore it is resistant to many solvents and acids. EPDM is resistant against ageing but is less suitable for oils (vegetable, animal and mineral) and fats (in high concentrations). O-rings made of EPDM are useable at temperatures between -50 to 150 degrees Celsius.
NBR (compound 366470)
Are you looking for a rubber that is suitable for oils, greases and water? Then consider choosing NBR. This rubber compound is suitable for applications with temperatures from -30 to 110 degrees Celsius. However, make sure that this material does not come into contact with sunlight.
Viton® (compound 514641)
O-rings made of Viton® have a broad chemical resistance and are also resistant to age. You can use Viton® for oils and greases, but less for hot water and steam. The temperature during application can vary from -20 to even 200 degrees Celsius.
VMQ / Silicone (compound 714177)
Silicone is a material that is suitable for high and low temperatures, but preferably from -60 to 230 degrees Celsius. Furthermore it is useable in applications with air, oxygen and hot water or steam. We do not recommend this material for dynamic applications.
Do the above materials not fit your specific application? There are also different materials available that might suit your application. These can also be safely used for food, but the choice depends very much on your application. ERIKS also sells materials such as Kalrez®, HNBR, Fluorosilicone, Teflex and PTFE. Our specialists can help you find the right O-ring or find the right O-ring yourself by browsing through our assortment of O-rings.
+ Hot water and steam
+ Many solvents and acids
+ Restistant to ageing
+ Wide temperature range
- Not suitable for oils and greases
+ Oils and fats
- Not ozone-resistant
- Limited temperature range
+ Very broad chemical resistance
+ High temperature range
- Less suitable for hot water (< 70°C) and steam
|VMQ / Silicone
+ Very wide temperature range
+ Air, oxygen, hot water and steam resistant
- Dynamic applications
For example Kalrez®, HNBR, Fluorsilicone, Teflex® or PTFE. Let us help you find the right O-ring!
Are you not completely sure about your choice, can you not find the right size or material or do you have other questions? Then contact us. Our specialists are happy to help you!