Being able to claim FDA food contact compliance is a major reason why Saint-Gobain's Versilon XFR is being marketed as a one-of-a-kind transfer hose for the food and beverage industry.
The product launched last year, following a rigorous two-year process to achieve food contact self-compliance based on Food and Drug Administration guidelines. Based in France but with its North American headquarters in Pennsylvania, the company said it believes this is the first transfer hose with full food contact compliance.
The Versilon XFR is lighter than traditional suction and discharge hoses, and offers a level of flexibility that facilitates pump and tank attachments. That flexibility also allows it to bend in tight spots, making it more versatile when attaching to pumps and tanks, given that it has a lower weight per foot than traditional suction and discharge hoses.
This suction and discharge rubber hose is made to custom lengths and adheres to customer configurations through a complex cutting process, which is important considering that it is designed for food and beverage transfer applications. The hose is compatible with many food product types, such as dairy, beer, wine and spirits, making the food processing market an ideal one.
Furthermore, it offers a variety of transfer and loading applications, and offers multi-ply fabric reinforcement that withstands pressure up to 150 psi, making it a stronger hose than those made from stainless steel. It is available in widths ranging from one to three inches.
Perhaps the most critical feature that allowed the company to achieve FDA compliance is that most hoses available within the food industry include a food contact layer. The XFR offers a non-food contact layer and prevents chemicals from migrating from one layer to another. This can significantly limit any associated health risks for employees at a client's manufacturing site and individuals consuming food or liquid that runs through those hoses before being distributed to retail stores.
"What's really unique is that there's no danger of migration to non-contact food areas," said Market Manager Diana Ohl. "We have tested the layers and the entire hose and have performed analysis on the sample after migration has taken place, so we know that the (FDA) compliance is valid."
To achieve the desired performance not only required by the FDA for compliance but to company standards, the Versilon XFR is constructed with a relatively complicated layer structure. These structures include an inner liner (in direct contact with food), one or more reinforcement layers, and an outer jacket layer (to reduce wear and tear), sometimes resulting in upward of seven or more layers.
"The testing we did (to qualify for FDA compliance) was not easy, and it took a full year until we were able to self-comply," said Senior Research Engineer Katie Morris. "Our team felt that getting that compliance would make it an even more important product for the food and beverage companies."