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How Do You Identify an Old APV Homogenizer?

February 20, 2015
APV Homogenizer

APV Homogenizer

Some of the most interesting requests we get every day at Holland are about the piece of equipment we sell that tends to have the longest life span- an APV High Pressure Homogenizer. The APV Gaulin and Rannie type machines are the well-built work horses of many food, pharmaceutical, and personal care products where a stable emulsion or mixture needs to be created. Because they are so critical to the process (as well as the large upfront cost), it is not uncommon for homogenizers to be in service for 20, 30, sometimes even 40 years. There is also a sizeable aftermarket for high pressure homogenizers, so we frequently have customers who are not the original owners of their machine. Fortunately, the good folks at APV and SPX have made it easy for us to identify a machine and spare parts based on its unique serial number. This post will discuss the APV homogenizer serial number system and where to look on your machine to figure out which machine you have.

To begin, let’s talk about where you look on your machine to find the serial number. Generally speaking, on cast iron or painted frame machines (those old blue beasts), the serial number will be found stamped on the top frame edge, on the right hand side facing the cylinder block. The machine identification tag is located on the rear wall of the plunger well. Machines with a stainless steel or mild steel skin (newer machines), will have the serial number stamped on the left side of the base casting, just above the motor compartment. Many newer machines will also have a tag calling out the serial number.

So now that we know where to find the serial number, let’s talk about what those numbers mean. Since 1939, APV has been using a four digit serial number on all production scale Gaulin homogenizers. There are about 68 machines that are an exception to that rule from 1959 and all machines made at 1986 have had 5 digit serial numbers. That means the last 3, 4, or 5 digits are the unit serial number. The numbers preceding the serial number indicate the date of manufacture. For example, let’s say you pull the number 10757-927 off of your machine. That would mean that this machine was built on January 7th, 1957 and the serial number is 927. The month, day, and year were used until 1960, after that, only the month and year were used (for instance, 157-927).

So hopefully this helps you better identify your APV homogenizer or at least gives you an idea where to look. When order spare parts or making changes to your machine, the model and serial number are the two most important pieces of information you can provide a customer service person at Holland. If you have any additional questions or needs for your sanitary high pressure homogenizer, contact a Holland Sales Engineer today.

Service Reminder- Holland Applied Technologies now offers Sanitary Magnetic Trap Verification

February 16, 2015
Cesco Sanitary Mag Trap

Cesco Sanitary Mag Trap

We’re going to talk a little bit about a service Holland has been offering for some time- Magnetic or “Mag” trap verification and validation. In today’s blog, we’ll give you an overview of how sanitary mag trap testing is performed, why you should have it done, and our current service offerings.

To begin, sanitary magnetic or “mag” traps have been used in the food processing industry for quite some time to prevent two things- adulteration of product and process equipment protection. Keeping metallic objects out of your product not only protects consumers, but also brand name risk and costly recalls. Mag traps will also protect pumps, valves, and instruments from damage. This helps avoid downtime and other costly repairs. Because most customers are familiar with a Mag Traps and what they do, the rest of this post will focus on how we test them.

Historically, there have been two ways to measure magnet strength- the pull test and through the use of an electronic device known as a Gauss meter. The pull test method is used to determine the relative strength of a magnet by approximating the holding force through the use of a scale and spacers. This method is not quantitative, presents a pinch hazard for operators, and is generally not accepted by 3rd party auditors.

While the pull test method has been used since the 1960s, recent improvement in microelectronics have brought economical, portable gauss meters to market. A gauss meter is an electronic instrument that measure the number of lines of magnetic flux emanating from a magnet. A gauss, as alluded to previously, is the number of magnetic flux lines per square centimeter. Gauss meters are definitive, accurate, and repeatable. They can also be calibrated by instruments traceable to NIST and in accordance with accepted ISO standards. Gauss meters are also capable of taking measurements of over 10,000 gauss, which is common with the rare earth magnets used in modern Mag Traps.

Due to increasing food safety concerns and requirements by 3rd party auditors, third party mag trap verification has become an increasing request from out customers. In response to this need, Holland has incorporated gauss meter testing and mag trap verification into our already robust quality and calibration programs. Holland offers digital gauss readings and verification both on at our facility or at our customer’s facility using our in-house DC gauss meter.

Verification starts with visual inspection of trap elements for and signs of pitting, cracking, or other wear to ensure the magnets are intact, followed by measurement of all magnetic probes with a DC gauss meter. Due to our close relationship with several mag trap OEMs, including Cesco, we’re able to reference our readings to the measurements taken when the unit shipped to ensure the magnets are still performing like new. Following testing, we provide a certificate of verification and include meter calibration certs in the turn over package as well.

As mentioned above, we are proud to offer this service both at our facility or our customer’s and we’ve traveled as far as Trinidad and Tobago to do on site testing. If you have any additional questions about our Magnetic Trap verification service offerings, please contact a Holland Sales Engineer today.

Sanitary Spring Check Valves- Seal Type Options

February 6, 2015
Sanitary Disk Type Check Valve

Waukesha Sanitary Disk Type Check Valve

Today we’re going to revisit a topic we’ve discussed previously on this blog- spring check valves. A check valve is a device that is used to prevent reverse flow in a pipeline. Check valves come in a variety of types, with the two most common in the sanitary process industry being the ball and spring check types. Today we’re going to specifically focus on selecting sanitary spring check valves and some unique features you may want to keep in mind for your next application.

One of the most common sanitary check valves we use on a day in and day out basis is Waukesha Cherry Burrell’s W45 spring check valve. We like to use this valve not only because it is available with a variety of springs, elastomers, and surface finishes, and also because it offers two different seal designs for the spring loaded seat- a standard O-ring seal and a Tri-ring seal option. So which seal type should you use for your application? Let us explain.

The O-ring seal design is ideal for general purpose applications that require cracking pressure and pressure drop across the valve to be as low as possible. This is a general duty seal designed for a wide range of products and laminar flows.

So what are you to do in more violent applications, you might ask. What kind of seal should you look for if you have high flow velocities, such as those found in CIP applications, or if you are trying to prevent backflow of thick, viscous, or sticky products that tend to crystalize on sealing surface? Well, we have an answer for that- the Tri-ring seal design. If you order your Waukesha W45 check valve with a Tri-Ring stem, it is supplied with a heavier spring. The heavier spring is ideal for applications where the fluid velocity exceeds 5 ft./second. The geometry of the Tri-Ring stem also makes it ideal for liquid sugar applications where sticky products can have a negative impact on valve performance.

So which one should you use? Well, it depends largely on your process application. Fortunately, if you pick the wrong seal type initially, or even if you have an existing W45 check valve with O ring seal, Tri-Ring replacement stems are available from Holland Applied Technologies and supplied as ready to install cartridges.

So there you have it- one more tool you can use to fine tune your high purity process to achieve optimal performance. As we’ve focused on throughout this blog, selecting the right product- as well as the right product features-for your application is essential for success in the challenging sanitary fluid handling industry. While the correct products sometimes come with a higher upfront cost, by using high quality products specifically designed for your application, you can maximize both service life and performance, as well as minimize total cost of ownership- saving far more than the high initial investment in the long run. For more help with your next sanitary check valve or high purity processing need, contact a Holland Sales Engineer today.

Beer Pumps- Graco Saniforce Pumps and the Counter Pressure Canning Systems

January 30, 2015
Graco SaniForce Double Diaphragm Pump

Graco SaniForce Double Diaphragm Pump

At Holland Applied Technologies, we are actively involved in most corners of the sanitary and high purity fluid handling industry. We have a great deal of expertise and application knowledge ranging from pet food to bioreactors. One niche we have been working with more and more is the craft brew industry. This really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise- in 2013 the craft brew industry accounted for $14.3 billion of the $100 billion beer market and has continued to grow through 2014 and into 2015. As we continue to deal with craft and microbreweries, we found the same questions coming up. This post will be the first in a series of posts focusing on applications and common questions we have helped our craft beer customers with.

About 18 months ago, we were contacted by a local OEM provider of counter pressure beer canning systems. Dealing almost exclusively with craft breweries who pride themselves on making (and canning) the perfect beer, this OEM was having a foam issue. The problem was occurring as beer from transferred from the brew kettles into the fill bowl atop the machine. Traditionally, machine manufacturers have used centrifugal pumps for this transfer operation. The C series pump has long been the work horse of the beer industry. But what this machine manufacturer was finding was that the centrifugal pump-which by definition uses rotational kinetic energy move fluid- was causing excessive foaming within the fill bowl. This resulted in partial can fills and the loss of a significant amount of product at the start of every canning run.

To help solve this problem, Holland suggested the use of a Graco Saniforce air operated double diaphragm pump. Instead of imparting so much rotational energy that can result in foam, the AODD uses compressed air which alternates between chambers to create a partial vacuum and cause the diaphragm in the opposing chamber to create suction. Coupled with a series of ball check valves, this results in the fluid being pushed and pulled through the pump chambers- a much less torturous path for the beer. Other benefits to Graco’s Saniforce pumps include great suction lift, stainless steel construction, 3A compliant surface finishes, the ability to handle a range of viscosities, high efficiency, and good self-priming capabilities.

After extensive testing, the OEM found that the Graco Saniforce largely mitigated the foaming issue. In doing so, the counter pressure canning systems were more efficient, resulting is less waste and higher throughput. And because the only utility required to operate them is compressed air, we no longer needed to worry about what kind of electric power the end user had on site.

So for your next beer transfer or filling application, remember- you have choices outside of the trusty old C114. The AODD Graco Saniforce pump is great for applications that require suction lift, low shear, and high differential pressure applications. That’s not to say that centrifugal don’t have a place in a brewery- they most certainly do. In fact, we’ll elaborate further on their application, as well as other pump technologies used in craft beer applications in future posts. But if you can’t wait for the future posts and you have a question now, please contact a Holland Sales Engineer today for more help with your next beer pumping application.

What is a Hydrophobic Sterile Tank Vent and Why Does it Need to be Heated?

January 26, 2015

In the high purity fluid handling industry, there is no such thing as a “typical” plant. Layouts and installations vary from plant to plant, company to company. That being said, certain pieces of equipment, such as pumps, sanitary diaphragm valves, gaskets, and flexible hose assemblies are ubiquitous throughout all facilities. We’ve talked extensively about those on this page before. One piece of commonplace equipment we haven’t spent as much time emphasizing are tanks. This post will take a closer look at pharmaceutical storage tanks, specifically tank vents and common considerations that go in to selecting the right one for your application.

To begin, why do we need a tank vent filter? Well, let’s start by thinking about why we’re using a tank in the first place. Tanks are expensive, so it makes sense that they are commonly used to store valuable product or utilities- such as water for injection or buffer media. And the whole point of having a sanitary, clean system is protecting this valuable product form microbial or particulate contamination. Seems easy enough, right? Let’s just seal the tank, don’t let anything in or out, and call it a day- no problem. Well not so fast.

When liquid is added or removed from a tank, air must move in or out of the tank to fill or adjust to the changing airspace above the liquid. Unlike solids and liquids, gases can expand and compress easily. This means that as we pump into a tank and fluid takes up a larger part of the tank, the gas will compress, increasing the pressure of the tank.  And when we pump out of the tank, we will create a vacuum, assuming there is no airflow in or out of the tank. Remembering the ideal gas laws, we also know that temperature swings can affect the volume of gas in a tank. During an SIP cycle, for example, cool down following 140 C steam can result in a huge temperature swing and the rapid collapse of the volume of gas/fluid within the tank. This can lead to problems ranging from a rupture disc blowing, to a catastrophic collapse of the tank if the vacuum created exceeds the vacuum rating of the tank.

So if sealing the tank is not going to work, we need to figure out how to allow air to flow in or out of the tank without contaminating the contents. So how do we accomplish this? Usually it’s done with the use of a 0.2 micron hydrophobic sterilizing grade filter cartridge. As the name implies, hydrophobic filters don’t like water.  Hydrophobic filters will not “wet out” like hydrophilic filters that are used for liquid filtration. Because of this hydrophobic filters will readily let gas pass through the membrane.  Usually made of Teflon, these hydrophobic filter membranes eliminate significant microbial contamination risk.

When sizing a vent filter, there’s usually several unknowns, but there are a few pieces of information to focus in on and that we can use to a make educated guess at the correct size. The first is to identify the air inflow rate. If this is not available, it can be determined by using the liquid flow rate (gpm), multiplied by the conversion factor of 7.81. This will give you CFM, or cubic feet per minute of air flow, a standard measurement used in the sizing of tank vent filters. Next, we want to identify the maximum vacuum rating of the tank. All ASME pressure vessels will have this stamped on the side of the tank. Other bulk storage tanks won’t carry the ASME stamp, indicating it is not a rated vessel.

Finally, we want to identify the maximum operating pressure of the tank. In tanks that contain fluid at an elevated temperature, the fluid has a higher vapor pressure, resulting in water “carryover” with air at the top of the tank during fill. Why is this important? Well if the temperature of the vent filter is not maintained, this water vapor can condense on the membrane of the filter. This results in blinding, decreasing the available membrane filter area and the possibility creating of a vacuum during tank drawdown. For this reason, it is common to see sterile vent filter housings equipped with steam jackets or electrically heat traced to not only keep the temperature of the housing elevated, but also maintain and control the temperature at the filter, extending membrane life.

So there you have it- why tank vent filters are so important and why it is important to heat them. For your next sanitary vessel application, keep in mind that when liquid is added or removed, we need to allow air to move in and out of the vessel to compensate. If you have any additional questions about your next tank venting application, contact a Holland Sales Engineer today.

What is a Mill Test Report (MTR) and Why is it Important?

January 8, 2015
Typical Markings on an ASME BPE Sanitary Fitting.  The 835877 Number is the Heat Number

Typical Markings on an ASME BPE Sanitary Fitting. The 835877 Number is the Heat Number

At Holland, we understand the importance of quality assurance. Whether we’re manufacturing a vessel or an adapter, using the assurance that you’re using the material you think you’re using is critical. While previous posts have focused on the importance of PMI for quality assurance, in this post we’re going to take a closer look at what a mill test report is, what information they provide, and why they are so important in the high purity processing industry.

To begin, a Mill Test Report (MTR) in the world of sanitary process is a quality assurance document that records the chemical and physical properties of the stainless steel (or other alloys) used in the fabrication of hygienic process components and equipment. MTRs go by a variety of names, including Certified Mill Test Report (CMTR), Mill Certification, or Metallurgical Test Report. When a heat (lot) of steel is generated at the mill, it is assayed.  The results of that assay are recorded and an MTR is generated.  Whether the lot of steel is then processed into plate used to manufacture vessels, strip used to make fittings and tubing, or larger shapes to be used in machining valves or pumps, that heat number and its accompanying MTR are tracked throughout the manufacturing process.

Finished products normally have the heat number (or numbers) stamped onto the outside surface to maintain the traceability of the part. This process is followed for all 316L stainless material and higher grade alloys.  Normally the heat numbers of 304 stainless steel are not tracked.  At Holland, it is our receiving and quality control groups’ responsibility to inspect and match received goods to their corresponding MTR to ensure that the components received meet the purchase specifications.

To begin understanding the information that an MTR provides, we need to start by understanding how material is labeled for identification. There are a variety of ways that material manufacturers can do this, but they all usually loop back to a Heat Number. When matching an MTR to its raw material, all accompanying paper work, and in most cases markings on the part itself, must match the heat number on the MTR.

So now that we know how to match a part with its MTR, what information does it provide other than the basic material type? First, the MTR provides the specific material grade of a material (316 or 316L). The MTR will also certify that parts meet appropriate ASTM and ASME specifications. Compliance with ASME guidelines is especially important when fabrication pressure vessels that are to receive an ASME stamp.

The MTR will also identify the dimensions of the raw material. For most fittings, this is the tube or bar stock thickness and width. While this information is important, the part that most stands out are the actual measured properties for the material. In order to comply with the material the cert says it is, these properties must fall within the range limits of that materials specification. The carbon, sulfur, chromium, and nickel contents of the material are all listed in this section. This detail is similar to what our x-ray fluorescence analyzer spits out when we zap a piece of steel that isn’t properly marked. Finally, the MTR is certified with the signature of a responsible employee of the foundry or mill producing the raw material.

At Holland, we maintain MTR records of virtually every piece of traceable material that we supply.  If you need more help understanding what’s on your MTR, or even retrieving the MTRs from a component you purchased previously, contact a Holland Sales Engineer today.

New Service- Pre-Cut Single Use Tubing, Kits, and Assemblies

January 5, 2015
Cut C-Flex Tubing Prior to Packaging and Shipment

Cut C-Flex Tubing Prior to Packaging and Shipment

At Holland, we’ve built our business around being flexible and catering to the exacting needs of the high purity process industries. We’ve been successful doing this by not only catering to our customer’s current requirements, but also anticipating their future needs. We’ve talked a lot on this blog about the dichotomy between stainless and single use processing equipment that is developing in the high purity process industry. Today we’re going to highlight a new capability we are now offering and how it can help solve common problems our single use customers have every day.

Due to recent customer demand, Holland is now offering pre-cut single use tubing made to our customer’s exact specifications. How can this benefit you? Let us explain.

Most coils of single use tubing these days come in lengths of either 25 or 50’. So what do you do if you use 10’ or 20’ lengths of tubing? Well, for many of our customers we found this meant they would have to order standard lengths, cut it to length in house, and then pitch the excess. This can lead to a lot of wasted time and material if you can only get a couple of pieces of tubing out of each coil.

To help address this need, Holland recently acquired and implemented into our quality program an Azco PC-25 automated tube cutter. Coupled with our on hand single use tubing inventory, we’ve been able to help customers reduce on hand inventory requirements, eliminate down time, and better mitigate the risk of process interruption. As a distributor for Saint Gobain, and with access to almost any other material you could ask for, we’re able to purchase your specific size and formulation in bulk and cut it to length as you request. We’re able to cut a variety materials, including platinum cured silicone, C Flex, Tygon, Pharmed, StaPure, and even PTFE tubing.

Taking this a step further, we found that many of our customers wanted their tubing to come kitted, or a single package with a variety of different lengths. By automating the tube cutting process, we’re able to offer this service as well. Again, by providing tubing cut to a variety of lengths and prepackaged as a kit with a single part number, we’re able to help our customers reduce inventory requirements and keep their operators doing what they do best- making high value product.

The next natural request our customers have is, “well can you just put the kit together for me and ship it to me complete?”. The answer to that is yes. While we’ve been offering custom single use tubing assemblies for several years now, with the addition of an automated tube cutter, we’ve been able to drastically increase throughput and minimize the cost passed along to our customers. The same engineering capabilities that have made us successful with our stainless customers allow us to customize assemblies for your specific needs and requirements. And our business relationships with almost every component supplier in the industry allows us to incorporate almost an endless combination of tubing and fittings to meet your exact specifications.

The linchpin of all these offerings is the robust quality system we’ve developed in our 60+ years catering specifically to the high purity process industry. We understand our customer’s unique needs and have skilled sales engineers that know what questions to ask upfront to prevent problems down the road. In accordance with standard operating procedures and written work instructions, we keep detailed documentation of each job and any maintenance performed on our equipment, including machines dedicated to single use components like our automated tube cutter and pneumatic assembly tools. As a critical component supplier to so many large pharmaceutical customers, we don’t have a choice but to continuously improve our quality systems to meet our customer’s increasingly high expectations.

So whether it’s 1500 pieces of one tubing length, or 10 assemblies, at Holland we are now equipped to help you with your precut tubing needs. We’re able you reduce inventory requirements and better manage your inventory. Whether its cut tubing lengths, kits, or even assemblies, Holland can help solve your single use challenge. Contact a Holland sales engineer today for more information.


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