Thanks to all who stopped by to see us at the recent Interphex and Craft Brewing shows. We hope you enjoyed talking to our process observation experts and learned a few things about our products, as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Michael 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Compare the perceived color produced by halogen lights (left) with the more true to life color when LED luminaires (right) are used.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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® 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.