Webcast: How to Select and Maintain Sight Glasses for Chemical and Pharmaceutical Applications

Improperly specified, installed or maintained sight glasses can represent the weakest link in a processing system.  The wrong glass or materials used will limit observation, require extra maintenance and replacements, and even fail under pressure with catastrophic results – since glass can fracture at 5 miles/second!

Before you choose your next sight glass, there are a variety of key specifications and glass material questions to answer, based on application temperature, how any chemicals used react to the glass, and the level of pressure involved. ​And, you’ll want to understand the differences between true borosilicate glass – its performance and certifications – compared to others that may be suggested as equivalent alternatives.

Watch this tutorial webcast from the process engineers at LJ Star to see how others are specifying and maintaining sight glass installations in their facilities.

Webcast: Best Practices in the Selection and Use of Sanitary Clamps

Keeping a Firm Grip on Sanitary Clamp Safety

For pharmaceutical and biotech companies, maintaining sterile process control is an ever-increasing challenge – one that can lead to cross-contamination, short term loss of product, long term drug shortages, lawsuits and even loss of life should sterile process be breached.

Sanitary clamps are crucial to keeping processing systems clean while allowing maintenance personnel to disconnect and reconnect piping quickly and securely. However, as simple as that sounds, making secure and sanitary process system connections consistently requires maintenance personnel to have the right clamps, the right tools, and the right training. A connection that isn’t properly secured can call the hygienic integrity of the whole processing system into question.

In addition to the risk of contamination due to manufacturing equipment issues, improper handling practices can be equally problematic. Pressure, temperature, and caustic process materials are all potential workplace hazards that can injure. When it comes to process equipment, maintenance and training are critical to ensuring reliability and safety.

This webcast, How to follow Sanitary Clamp Best Practices, shows how to help maintain sterile process control and offset the risk of improper connections from clamps, gaskets and ferrules by educating pharmaceutical and biotech workers on proper clamp assembly, inspection, installation and maintenance.

 

Webcast: The Top Three Steps to Ensuring Sight Glass Safety

Keeping an Eye on Sight Glass Safety

If improperly specified, installed or maintained, sight glasses can be the weakest link in a processing system because they can limit observation capabilities, require frequent maintenance or replacement, or make it difficult to illuminate the vessel in which they’re installed.

 

Additionally, sight glasses can fail, endangering workers and causing extensive destruction and system downtime. When glass fails under pressure, it is sudden and catastrophic. Glass can fracture at 5 miles per second which can cause irreputable damage to both your workers and your facility.

 

In systems made primarily of metal, such as pressure vessels or process piping runs, the weak spots are generally sealing joints and glass.  Typically, failure of an industrial sight glass on a piece of equipment, or within a piping system, will halt the entire manufacturing process and force downtime until the equipment can be repaired or replaced.

 

 In this webcast, How To Ensure Sight Glass Safety, you’ll learn how to choose the right sight glass for the application and applicable standards, how to install the sight glass correctly and how to routinely and carefully maintain sight glasses.

HEX NUT DESIGN IMPROVEMENT

In our efforts to continually improve our products we are introducing a change to the Domed Hexagon Nut used to tighten our range of clamps. These nuts are used to replace the Wing Nut in certain applications. The existing Domed Hexagon Nut, we currently supply, will become obsolete to be replaced by the new Hexagon Flat Nut.

The Hexagon Flat Nut has the following advantages over the Domed Hexagon Nut:

The contact point of the hexagon flat nut is only on the face of the clamp segment. This means the force is applied solely to a plane parallel to the nut face. This has benefits over the domed hexagon nut which has a contact point inside the legs of the clamp segment. In addition to the above, galling tends to be reduced as the thread at the tip of the nut is not deformed. This often results in a tighter thread which has been seen on multiple clamps. The hexagon flat nut also maintains the perpendicularity of the thread to the clamp body. This reduces the off collinear misalignment of the thread further reducing the tendency to gall.

You can read more on the entire LJ Star line of Sanitary Clamps, or contact us  for a quote and more information on product specs and performance.

 

Surface Finish and 3-D Printing Are Big Topics at Recent BPE Meetings

Aarash Navabi, CPIP, Director of Research + Development, Research Dynamics, Massachusetts Division of L.J. Star, participates on several critical ASME Bioprocessing Equipment (BPE) Committees, the Surface Finish Subcommittee, the Polymers Subcommittee and is leading another Task Group for BPE. At meetings held in San Diego, California in May 2018, Aarash reported on a variety of committee discussions and decisions that drive the processing industry.

ASME Committee Updates Specs on Hygienic Clamp Unions

Gabe Montgomery, Engineering Manager, Tank Components Industries, an L.J. Star subsidiary located in Springfield, Missouri, is one of several L. J. Star engineers to serve on important ASME Bioprocessing Equipment (BPE) Committees. His work on the committee is part of the company’s contribution to advancing the technologies that shape our industry and to keep our customers informed on changes in the field. BPE held several meetings in San Diego, California in May 2018, and Gabe reports back on what he heard:

ASME Process Instrumentation Committee Makes Progress at Recent BPE Meeting

ASME LogoMichael Bosley, one of L.J. Star’s Product Support Specialists, took part in ASME Bioprocessing Equipment (BPE) Committee Meetings, held May 7-10, 2018, in San Diego, California. As a leading supplier to the biotechnology industry, we take our responsibility to participate in advancing the industry very seriously. By participating in the work of these committees, we hope to stay on the leading edge of evolving technologies; at the same time, we want to share updates on the topics these committees are weighing with you, so you can stay up to date on industry trends.

Mike participates in the Subcommittee on Process Instrumentation, part of the Bioprocessing Equipment Standards Committee and the Board on Pressure Technology Codes and Standards. Process instrumentation includes sensors, transmitters, analyzers, controllers, recorders, transducers, control elements, and supporting components such as light sources and sight glasses.

The Task Group on Optical Devices was formed to revise the language in the Optical (sight glass) section of the BPE Specification and move that content from System Design (SD) to Process Instrumentation (PI). The task group will be responsible for content related to sight glasses, fused glass, and lighting.

The four-year Task Group on Turbine Flow Meters is charged with adding new content to the BPE Specification on the use of Turbine Flow Meters in product contact lines. The section for Turbine Flow Meters has been written from scratch, balloted numerous times, revised and re-submitted, and is now undergoing final balloting. Non-mandatory content is also being developed while balloting continues.

The Subcommittee on Process Instrumentation has begun development of a template for use as an unofficial guide for developing new content. This template has been submitted to the Main committee and has been accepted for use. Process Instrumentation Subcommittee members have voted and approved the use of the template, and a formal ballot to the Main Subcommittee will follow.

Key Lighting Questions for Craft Brewing Success

A “Light” Recipe for Craft Brewing Success

 

Halogen lamps were once the standard choice for craft brewers’ vessel sight glass lighting. However, a new generation of LED luminaires is growing in popularity for this application. Consider these questions to decide whether it’s time for your brewery to invest in making the switch to LEDs.

  1. How hard is it to verify your vessels are thoroughly cleaned?

An improperly cleaned vessel can quickly lead to costly cross-batch contamination problems and unsellable products. LED luminaires can provide twice the light output of halogens or more, so it’s easier to confirm the effectiveness of your cleaning process.

  1. What are the hidden costs associated with your halogen lights?

The output of a typical halogen bulb is 15 percent light and 85 percent heat, with the heat coming from the infrared light the bulb produces, which can’t be seen by the naked eye. Unlike halogens, LED luminaires produce 55.6 lumens per watt of electricity consumed while producing little or no heat. In contrast with halogen lights, which have fragile filaments, LED lights are vibration and impact resistant, offering dramatically longer lifetimes for lower maintenance costs and fewer process interruptions.

  1. What color do you think your beer is?

The yellowish light that halogens produce can be problematic if you need to check the beer’s color to make process adjustments at various points. Their 2800K color temperature also approximates dusk and can cause eye fatigue. LED luminaires typically produce a white light with a cool color temperature that is optimal for illuminating stainless steel vessels.

On the left we can see the perceived color produced by halogen lights and on the right we can see the more true to life color with LED luminaires sight glass lights.

Compare the perceived color produced by halogen lights (left) with the more true to life color when LED luminaires (right) are used.

 

  1. Are your halogen lights a pain to keep clean?

Halogen bulbs are installed in a wide range of fixtures, which may or may not be optimized for food and beverage production, complicating the cleaning process. In contrast, some of the latest LED luminaire designs have a wash-down-safe, crevice-free design that is dust and waterjet tight and are constructed of food-grade stainless steel.

  1. Does controlling your sight glass lighting require climbing a ladder?

Switching halogen lights on or off often requires climbing to the top of the vessel to access a manual switch on the light itself, raising the risk of injuries. A growing range of LED luminaires support remote control over a broader array of operating modes, such as momentary, short timed and long timed. A variety of factory-programmable options are also available, including timer duration, initial brightness, and LED on at power up.

  1. Do you customers prefer “greener” brewers?

LED luminaires provide optimal illumination while consuming just one-tenth of the energy of a conventional halogen light. Lowering your brewery’s carbon footprint by switching to LED luminaires helps reinforce the message that you’re serious about your operation’s impact on the environment.

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For more details on LED-based sight glass lighting options for craft brewing, download L.J. Star’s free informative white paper (pdf): Crafted for Success: Six Vital Questions for Brewery Sight Glass Lighting.

Why Metaglas®

Why Metaglas® Is Considered the Safest Sight Glass in the World

Since it was developed in the 1970s, Metaglas® has been known as the safest sight glass in the world. A number of chemical and manufacturing companies collaborated to create Metaglas, and to establish the standard with which it complies and by which all other sight glass is measured, a standard now called DIN7079.

Metaglas was created to improve safety conditions within plants that handled corrosive chemicals, chemicals worked at high temperatures and those worked under high pressures. The safety concerns became serious enough that competing companies joined forces to create Metaglas.

Sight Glass Accessories Increase Versatility and Improve Function

Using sight glasses is essential in the production of pharmaceuticals, as is maintaining the functionality and cleanliness of those sight glasses. The good news is that a wide variety of sight glass accessories are available to assist pharmaceutical manufacturing personnel in the production of pure, high-quality product in every batch.

Wipers

Sight glass wipers aid visibility by cleaning the inside glass surface of light ports and sight ports. Wiper assemblies must be constructed of high-grade stainless steel with either Teflon or silicone blades and work in conjunction with a spray ring or set of spray nozzles. They come in two types.

The Type I manual wipers require a bore-hole through the sight glass. They can operate at temperatures as high as 220 degrees F and under pressures as high as 90 psi.

When a higher-pressure sight glass requires cleaning, the Type II manual wiper, in conjunction with a DIN28120 sight glass, must be used. Type II wipers require a threaded bore hole through the sight glass cover and weld pad for proper installation. Type II wipers can operate at temperatures of up to 428 degrees F and pressures as high as 235 psi.

Sight glass wipers can be motorized and automated. Constructed in both explosion-proof and non-explosion-proof models, the explosion-proof models are rated to EEx d IIC T5 (Zones 1 & 2 and 21 & 22) and are able to operate in ambient temperatures ranging from minus 4 degrees F to 122 degrees F. Motors generally fit specific types, sizes, and brands of wipers, and operate on a variety of direct and alternating currents.

Spray Rings and Nozzles

Sight glass wipers operate together with a spray ring or spray nozzles to achieve effective cleaning. The spray ring must fit ANSI flange connections for use in intermittent or continuous pressure-cleaning operations. For versatility, the ring delivers a variety of spray media, including fluid or air. The rings can include varying numbers of spray nozzles depending ring diameter. They are also available in different materials and sizes for diverse applications. Materials used include carbon steel, stainless steel, Hastelloy, and other alloys. Temperature and pressure ratings vary depending on the ring material and ANSI-rating.

Timers

Sight glass light timers are convenient where illumination is limited to a specific period. A timer switches lights on and off automatically, reducing power consumption and heat build-up, and providing improved lamp life. Timers fit either externally to, or internally within the containment vessel, can operate in hazardous and non-hazardous conditions, within a wide temperature range, and at a variety of voltages.

Heating Jacket

The heating jacket is an additional accessory for standard (view through) sight flow indicators. Steam from the heating jacket prevents cool spots in the process line while allowing observation and preserving a clear view of the manufacture process.

Use of the wide variety of available sight glass accessories can significantly improve the drug manufacture process.