FTL Technology has been supplying sealing solutions into the food industry for many years, and this has given us a deep understanding of many of the unique challenges faced in critical food applications. The processing of fine powders, like cocoa powder, can be particularly problematic.
West Africa has been the centre of world cocoa cultivation for over 60 years and produces 70% of the world’s cocoa. With the global market for cocoa powder estimated to surpass $2 billion by 2022, the demand for sealing solutions able to stand up to the challenges posed by cocoa is ever increasing.
The transfer of powders around a premise is extremely hazardous. Equipment such as screw conveyors and overhead hoppers are widely used in the chocolate manufacturing process, but they can create a serious explosion risk when transferring the powders, as vapours and mists are easily ignitable.
Mixing and blending cocoa powder is also a potentially dangerous procedure, as this involves heat which causes the ingredients and processing equipment to expand. This in turn can result in leakage and loss of product.
Friction generated by a seal can also cause heat damage to the product, resulting in contamination.
What are the sealing challenges?
Many sealing materials and profiles cannot cope with the harsh challenges faced within the food processing industry. Simple changes in temperature, operating times or ingredient ratios can result in batch losses – along with severe financial implications.
On the primary process of cocoa production, there is the risk for dry contaminants to damage the bearings. Exclusion of these contaminants is key to maximizing bearing life, reducing downtime and maintenance expenditure.
Conventional seals are often ineffective at preventing this contamination. The stringent hygiene regimes that exist mean that frequent equipment cleaning and the use of high-pressure jet cleaning pose a serious threat of bearing contamination.
If you work with dry fine powders – like cocoa or other similar ingredients such as flour and sugar – you need superior, non-contaminating sealing solutions to protect both the products and your equipment.
What are the best sealing solutions for fine powders like cocoa?
MECO seals are one of the leading sealing solutions for food and beverage applications. Here’s a few reasons why:
- MECO seals outperform all other seal systems when it comes to abrasive media
- Split rotating shaft seals are a clean and cost-effective solution
- Process contamination is virtually eliminated
- As they’re cool running, MECO seals limit the damage to sensitive process materials
- Effective vacuum performance drastically reduces process times
- MECO seals are available with FDA-approved materials
For more information on the importance of FDA compliant materials, check out this guide.
If you work with fine powders and would like to speak to an expert sealing engineer about MECO seals, please give us a call on 0113 252 1061 or get in touch through our Contact page today.