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case study

Re-designing FBD gasket for perfect fit

A simple change in the design made a considerable improvement in performance.

Recently, Western Rubbers had received a request from an established pharmaceutical OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), to manufacture 3 silicone inflatable seals to seal the chambers of a Fluidized Bed Dryer machine (FBD).

Customer requirement: Inflatable Seals for Fluidized Bed Dryer Machine

Issue

The image below shows the section of the profile of the existing seal.

1. Our cliet, the OEM, was receiving complaints from its end users, the drug manufacturers. The end users complained that their existing inflatable seal would fall off from the groove over time with machine usage, especially the downward facing seal i.e. the seal for the top chamber.

2. Once pressurized, the seal would expand to inflate axially downwards and seal the bottom chamber of the FBD. However, after a few cycles, it was observed that due to the pressure the seal began to fall out of its groove, hanging downwards.

3. Every time this happened, operator intervention was required to fit the seal securely in the groove before continuing machine operations.

In short, the end user was not only suffering on account of increased production times but increased machine downtime costs as well.

Solution

Western Rubbers understood the problems being faced by the end user and was asked to offer a solution for the same. After some Research and Development, the engineers at Western Rubbers suggested some design changes.

The inflatable seal was manufactured in the following profile (with the design modifications):

– Notice the ridges that have been provided on either side of the seal, on the seal walls.

– These ridges ensured that the seal is held in place at all times, through the inflation and deflation cycles, without compromising on the sealing functionality of the seal.

The result

The modified profile design was successful. The seal functioned as desired. The machine downtime costs reduced, and the customer was very satisfied with the new design suggested by Western Rubbers.

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