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Conformance and performance

Hygienic seals for food and pharma enter the spotlight

Innovations are often born from limitations. This is certainly the case in the highly regulated food and beverage (F&B) industry, where legislative bodies tend to have the final say on how products are farmed, processed, and packaged – and which parts can be used. The same applies to pharmaceuticals.

If you aren’t already aware of some of the regulations that F&B stakeholders have to adhere to when it comes to seals, we recommend you get informed through this article.

Making the law

Both industries are characterized by a number of intense processes involving the use of specialist industrial machinery, as well as potentially toxic and corrosive materials. Therefore, environmental and personal protection are of top priority for lawmakers who aim to ensure that engineering components, such as bearings and seals, adhere to certain specifications.

After all, any risk in manufacturing medicines or foodstuffs is inherently passed on to the consuming public. This means that failure to act on these regulations can lead to expensive product recalls and seriously damage a company’s reputation. But that doesn’t mean that seal performance is hindered by these standards. Quite the opposite.

Eleven heaven for food and pharma

SKF – especially since the acquisition of industrial seals manufacturer Economos in 2006 – has engineered sealing solutions from proprietary materials which are Food & Drug Administration (FDA), EU 10/2011, and EU 2023/2006 approved, as well as resistant to common Clean-in-Place and Steam-in-Place media.

One of these solutions is the R11-VL, which has been optimized for applications in F&B and pharmaceutical production. Located in mixers and agitators, centrifuges and decanters, kneaders and mills, this radial shaft seal is a versatile, compliant, and high-performance SKF product. The PTFE 5858 compound from which R11-VL is made has excellent dry-running properties and helps ensure a long service life as it is highly wear-resistant. Stainless steel clamping rings ensure firm sealability and each ring is designed with an insertion chamfer and additional groove for easy assembly and disassembly. Furthermore, it is possible to order food-grade seals in a unique blue color, allowing for easier optical detection.


SKF has developed a range of standard and customizable high-performance seals for demanding food and beverage applications

Machined seal capability

R11-VL seals are available off-the-shelf in a standard range up to 125 mm in shaft diameter, although larger sizes can also be promptly manufactured using the innovative production system SKF SEAL JET. Our seal production capabilities enable everything from rapid prototyping to serial production.

So, whether you are an OEM who needs to create R11-VL prototypes for testing, or an end-user who needs a replacement part in a hurry, both are made much easier with the SKF SEAL JET system.

If you want any more information about hygienic seal design for food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and other critical industries, leave a comment for one of SKF’s experts below.