Premature failure of hygienic valve diaphragms has been a commonly recognized problem for the bioprocessing and pharmaceutical industries for as long as this type of valve has been in use. Instances of premature diaphragm failure are all too common and incur significant unscheduled change-out costs with the replacement of all diaphragms and gaskets in the line. In addition, there is the potential loss of contaminated production batches and the administration tasks of root cause identification and reporting before production can recommence.
James Walker’s answer to this problem is Elast-O-Pure® Dynamic - developed with new materials and optimized product design, this new product has been subjected to exhaustive testing under simulated operational conditions to provide a solution that is reliable, predictable and offers longer operational life than existing options.
The James Walker product development program started with an investigation of the root causes for failures, helping to understand the reasons for unpredictable short life of diaphragms being experienced in the industry. Extensive Finite Element Analysis was used to identify the critical points in diaphragm designs and this information then used to re-engineer any weak sports.
In addition to extensive Finite Element Analysis work on diaphragm design, James Walker invested in a bespoke test facility capable of simulating the operational cleaning regimes found on biopharmaceutical production lines. This facility has been at the heart of the validation of designs and the development of a new elastomer compound capable of performing under the unique conditions experienced by a valve diaphragm.
New materials and designs were first screened on a steam-only rig before being subjected to the more demanding regime of hot water, steam and CIP chemicals. In order to benchmark the performance of new designs, a full range of current commercially available diaphragms was also subjected to the same test regimes.
The new Elast-O-Pure Dynamic designs demonstrated a significant extension of component life expectancy providing the potential to extend the time between seal change-outs and offering the benefit of more production batches per change-out.
Equally important to time between change-outs is the enhanced reliability in service offered by this new range of diaphragms. In comparison to other current diaphragm options available, the performance of Elast-O-Pure Dynamic has proven to be highly consistent throughout testing, making change-out scheduling more accurate and predictable
Elast-O-Pure Dynamic diaphragms for weir type valves are available in the five most-used sizes.