Many industries rely on pumps for their daily operations, including the dairy, brewing, food processing, beverage manufacturing, and personal care industries. Highland Equipment supplies various hygienic pumps for a wide range of applications. In this blog, we’ll take a detailed look at positive displacement, centrifugal, and high-pressure pumps, including their suitability for certain processing applications.
What Is a Positive Displacement Pump?
A positive displacement pump works by repeatedly taking a specific amount of fluid and mechanically moving it through the system. It uses cyclic pumping action driven by pistons, gears, rollers, screws, diaphragms, or vanes.
Positive displacement pump types include reciprocating and rotary pumps. The reciprocating pump relies on repeated back-and-forth strokes of a plunger or piston. These repeatable pumps are suitable for accurate dosing or metering applications.
Rotary positive displacement pumps use rotating gears to move fluids. The gears form a liquid seal with a pump casing, creating suction through the pump inlet.
What Is a Centrifugal Pump?
Centrifugal pumps use rotational energy from a motor to transfer fluid through a system. When the fluid passes through the pump, the rotating impeller adds velocity and pressure to the fluid as it is pushed toward a diffuser.
What Is a High-Pressure Pump?
High-pressure pumps have a conveying height of up to 1,200 meters. These pumps are common in high-rise buildings, which require sufficient pressure to supply the entire structure.
How Do These Pumps Compare?
Using a controlled amount of force, positive displacement and centrifugal pumps both transfer a set quantity of fluid from an inlet to an outlet. However, their mechanisms are different. Centrifugal pumps transfer kinetic energy from a motor to the liquid using an impeller, which rotates to pump fluid at a high velocity out of its discharge point. Positive displacement pumps displace fluid out of a cavity through suction.
These are some other ways in which centrifugal, positive displacement differ:
Performance: A centrifugal pump can vary the flow rate by changing its pressure. The flow rate is constant in a positive displacement pump, even during pressure changes.
Fluid viscosity: When dealing with highly viscous fluids, a centrifugal pump sees a decrease in flow rate due to frictional losses inside the pump’s cavity. A positive displacement pump’s internal clearance allows for viscous fluid handling and can increase flow rate as the viscosity increases.
Efficiency: A centrifugal pump’s efficiency peaks at a specific pressure, while the efficiency of a positive displacement pump varies according to the pressure.
Suction lift: Centrifugal pumps cannot create a suction lift, while a positive displacement pump creates a vacuum on its inlet to create a suction lift.
Shearing: The high-speed motor in a centrifugal pump can shear certain media. A positive displacement pump creates low shear, making it suitable for shear-sensitive fluids.
Which Pump Is Suitable for Your Sanitary Process?
The ideal pump for your sanitary process depends on the specific factors of your application. Centrifugal pumps are best for high-flow, low-viscosity applications, where you can take advantage of their high-volume capabilities. You can also customize them to move more gallons per minute than other types of pumps.
Positive displacement pumps generally run better in high-viscosity, low-flow applications. They allow you to control flow rate more flexibly, operate at lower speeds, and can prime themselves during “dry” periods where there is no liquid in the pump. Plus, positive displacement pumps can process suspended solids.
Consider the following specifications of your project to determine the best choice:
Desired flow rate
Fluid characteristics, such as corrosiveness, temperature, and viscosity
Positive Displacement, Centrifugal, and High-Pressure Pumps From Highland Equipment
Depending on your specific application, you can choose between positive displacement, centrifugal, and high-pressure pumps. They each offer different capabilities and strengths under particular processing circumstances. Highland Equipment is your ideal partner for high-quality centrifugal, positive displacement, and high-pressure pumps for sanitary processes. Contact us today to select a pump best suited for your application.
Highland Equipment has been building unmatched stainless steel tanks and equipment for various sanitary process applications since 1973. As the leading provider of sanitary process equipment, Highland Equipment has the tools and experience needed for various tank projects, from one-tank requirements, complex pressure vessels, skidded systems, and custom equipment to a host of customized tank projects. Our team of experts has the knowledge and professional background to provide custom solutions for all your equipment needs.
Overview of Stainless Steel Tanks
Sanitary stainless steel tanks are special containers used to store and transport a myriad of substances such as water, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, personal care, cosmetics, and other bulk materials. They feature superior flexibility and ease of use that make them ideal for various industries and applications. Stainless steel tanks are also known for their corrosion resistance and their ability to resist extreme temperatures. These attributes make stainless tanks the best equipment for storing sensitive materials.
Stainless Steel Capabilities
Stainless steel tanks come with either a drum-like, rectangular, or cylindrical shape with thin walls made of stainless steel material. The stainless steel tanks offered by Highland Equipment are equipped with heat transfer capabilities to meet the needs of your specific applications.
Depending on your objectives, our experienced engineering team and technicians can also equip the tanks with mixing components that come in various sizes. We also offer a range of atmospheric tanks that allow our clients to choose from different options, including dished tops and bottoms, flat tops and bottoms, and/or conical tops and bottoms.
We can also custom-make your exact specifications for your stainless tank depending on several factors, including your specific application, the product to be stored, how often the tank must be cleaned, and other considerations.
Stainless Steel Mixing Tank Fabrication
Stainless steel comes in different grades designed to handle various substances and chemicals. These grades offer varying levels of corrosion resistance, strength, toughness, and high/low-temperature performance. During the fabrication of stainless steel, the following grades are widely utilized:
304/304L: Stainless steel 304 comprises 18 to 20% chromium, 8 to 11% nickel, and 2% manganese. It offers adequate corrosion resistance for most applications. It is also less costly compared to other options.
316/316L: 316/316L comprises 6 to 18% chromium, 10 to 14% nickel, 2 to 3% molybdenum, and 2% manganese. The addition of molybdenum adds an extra layer of corrosion resistance to make 316/316L more resistant to chemicals than stainless steel 304.
Duplex: Duplex stainless steel is a blend of ferritic and austenitic metallurgical structures. It contains 20 to 28% chromium, 2 to 5% molybdenum, and 5 to 8% nickel. Austenitic stainless steel is superior to ferritic in terms of corrosion resistance and mechanical properties.
Highland Equipment provides end-to-end stainless steel tank fabrication solutions from equipment design and manufacturing to system integration, installation, and ongoing technical support. We practice comprehensive quality control throughout all phases of fabrication, and our team undertakes extensive weld inspections to guarantee flawless joints. We leverage our premier fabrication shop fitted with the latest technologies and tools to provide high-quality orbital welding services.
Industries/Applications that Use Stainless Steel Mixing Tanks
Stainless Steel Mixing Tanks are a common sight dotting the landscape across the country. They are integral equipment among several industries that need dependable containers to store and transport substances. As mentioned earlier, stainless steel resists corrosion and extreme temperatures. It is also easy to clean and disinfect. These attributes make stainless steel ideal for a range of applications. Some of the industries that leverage stainless steel tanks to store valuable materials and substances include:
Food and beverage
At Highland Equipment, we apply a range of finishes to your stainless steel to guarantee optimal performance. Stainless steel is usually smooth and slightly reflective, but there are instances where its surfaces are brushed or bead blasted. The varying roughness calls for surface finishes to prevent moisture retention and material adhesion. Some of the stainless steel tank surface finishes that we apply include mill finish, mechanical finishes, electropolished, and more.
Highland Equipment Solutions
At Highland Equipment, we have the resources, capabilities, and tools to complete any of your stainless steel tank fabrication projects both in our workshop and in the field. As the industry leader in the design, fabrication, installation, and service of stainless steel process equipment, Highland Equipment is committed to providing exactly what you need, when you need it, and even where you need it. Contact us today to request a quote.
For nearly 50 years, Highland Equipment Inc. has provided stainless steel design and installation of sanitary process equipment for clients in a range of industries, including pharmaceutical, food and beverage, cannabis, cosmetics, brewing, and more. From complex pressure vessels to skidded systems and a variety of customized tanks and equipment, we approach each project with the personalized attention it requires and deserves.
Every application is different, which is why they all require consideration of an array of factors when choosing your stainless steel grade, design, and more. When you request a quote for a custom solution, you should be specific about what you need. Here are the primary considerations:
An Overview of the Design Process
Our in-house engineering team collaborates with you on the stainless steel storage tank design that best suits your application. They work to meet ASME Section VIII Div. 1 Code and other industry standards while ensuring your design is both safe and cost-effective. In our years of experience, we’ve designed and constructed vessels of up to 18 feet in diameter and more than 65 feet in length.
The right design requires consideration not only of the size and shape you need, but how it fits in the space, how it can be accessed for maintenance and repair, and what environmental conditions it will face. You’ll need to choose a stainless steel grade based on machinability, corrosion resistance, and more.
Stainless steel is prized for its strength and durability, but different grades of steel offer different qualities. You’ll need to consider these factors:
Machinability: Stainless steel in general isn’t as machinable as some other metals, but grades Ugima 304 and Ugima 316 were developed to be more machinable without losing formability and corrosion resistance.
Corrosion Resistance: Grades 303 and 416 offer enhanced machinability, but some corrosion resistance is lost. Grade 316 is a common choice for applications where corrosion resistance is of the utmost importance.
Formability: Austenitic and ferritic stainless steels, like 304 or 430, are commonly chosen for their formability. Martensitic steels, on the other hand, are more brittle.
Weldability: Stainless steel welders face challenges like intergranular corrosion, hot cracking, and stress corrosion cracking; austenitic grades 304L or 347 and ferritic grades 430 or 439 are typically the best options for successful welding.
Stainless steel is an alloy of iron and at least 10.5% chromium. Its corrosion resistance comes from passivation: the metal is not responsive to oxidation because of the thin film of chromium oxides that forms at the surface. The passivation process includes exposing the stainless steel to the air, submerging it in a bath of nitric acid, removing contaminants, and neutralizing it in aqueous sodium hydroxide.
Different grades of stainless steel get their qualities from different amounts of chromium and additional materials, like nickel, manganese, or titanium. Molybdenum is often added for additional corrosion resistance, but that will make the stainless steel more brittle, requiring additional nickel to reduce that brittleness.
Specific types of welds are used depending on the desired results. Orbital welding, for example, is an automated process that is highly precise and reliable. Fusion orbital welding, or automatic GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding), is an orbital welding process where the settings stay the same for the entire weld. Another option is wire feed orbital welding (or semi-automatic GTAW), commonly used for applications with thick wall pipes or materials that require fillers.
Some industries, such as food and beverage, dairy, brewing, medical, and others, require sanitary welding that meets stringent standards. These welds are inspected to ensure they are:
Smooth and impervious
Free of cracks and crevices
Nonporous and nonabsorbent
Durable and maintenance-free
At Highland Equipment, we offer steel tank design and engineering, fabrication, installation, orbital welding, passivation, inspections, and more. With years of experience serving diverse industries, our team of professionals can help you with the many considerations required for your custom project. Contact us if you have any questions or request a quote today.
Aseptic mixing tanks help keep contents consistently free from contaminants using either a nitrogen barrier or highly pressurized air to maintain a sterile environment. Highland Equipment provides aseptic tanks tailored to the specific needs of your application. In this blog post, we’ll review some of the primary industries that use aseptic tanks, as well as considerations for selecting an ideal solution.
Industries and Applications for Aseptic Mixing Tanks
A wide range of applications and industries use aseptic mixing tanks to keep contents sterile. The industries that regularly use these tanks include:
Food and beverage
Carton-based food products (broth, soup, alternative milks)
On a more specific note, aseptic mixing tanks are essential for mixing food-grade epoxy coatings and for blending vaccines.
What Is Aseptic Mixing?
Aseptic mixing entails blending disparate ingredients while protecting them from airborne pathogens, as well as the air itself. This process allows manufacturing companies in various verticals to remain compliant with any relevant standards and regulations while also increasing the shelf life of their products. Aseptic tanks facilitate sanitary mixing by closing contents off entirely from outside elements. Depending on the product, it’s also possible to install a tank with internal pressurization or vacuum capabilities to facilitate heating or cooling.
Aseptic tanks normally feature stainless steel construction and a vertical cylindrical shape. They also typically feature a conical or dished bottom and a cooling jacket fitting. With the right aseptic mixing tank installed, manufacturers can make sure their products remain safe to consume and resistant to the early spoilage caused by unexpected bacteria or contaminants.
Considerations for Aseptic Mixing
The versatility of aseptic tanks makes them quite versatile. In addition to safely storing certain products such as milk and other dairy products at proper temperature settings, aseptic tanks can also serve as surge tanks that work to neutralize pressure charges.
There are a couple of key benefits gained by implementing aseptic mixing tanks. These include:
Minimal Maintenance Requirements
Aseptic tanks require little effort when cleaning. Clean in Place (CIP) Steam in place (SIP) effectively cleans aseptic tanks, which helps ensure that workers don’t spend too much time on this task. The sterile nature of aseptic tanks further reduces the need to clean them. Mechanized and automated systems also minimize the need for general maintenance.
Users can tailor aseptic tanks based on their changing needs. For instance, tank systems can easily connect with other tanks to create a single, larger aseptic tank system that accommodates business growth. Aseptic tanks are also available with various valves, toxicity measurement gauges, alarm systems, and ventilation systems, among other modifications. Installers may also fit tanks with bottom-mounted agitators for products that tend to separate when still.
Reliable Aseptic Tank Designs from Highland Equipment
If you’re in need of high-quality aseptic tanks, Highland Equipment can provide you with the right solution for your specific requirements. We offer end-to-end project management, including design and fabrication of your custom system, integration with your existing systems, installation, and ongoing support services. Our aseptic tanks feature an innovative mechanical sealed design and provide mixing, storing, and packing capabilities for a broad spectrum of industries and use cases.
To learn more about our stainless steel tanks, please visit our product page. For additional questions or concerns, please contact us today.
The aesthetics or physical properties of metal may often see improvement by the application of various finishing techniques. For example, in custom metal basket applications, applying an appropriate finish will impact the functionality of the basket as much as the base material does.
Two of the most popular finishing methods used for stainless steel include electropolishing and passivation. At Highland Equipment, our customers often ask: Is electropolishing the same as passivation? While both finishing methods improve the material’s durability and resistances, there are distinct differences to consider when choosing between electropolishing vs. passivation.
Electropolishing is a common finishing technique for the food and beverage, medical and dental, pharmaceutical, electrical, and semiconductor industries. The electropolishing process leaves a smooth, near-flawless finish. Manufacturers often use this method to impart non-stick qualities onto goods and components, making them easy to clean and ensuring process materials don’t stick to them during production.
The process uses a temperature-controlled chemical bath and an electric current to dissolve the metal’s outer surface layer. Electropolishing removes microscopic surface imperfections and eliminates discoloration from spot welds. It is a fast, cost-effective solution, even for parts with complex geometries.
Electropolishing is compatible with most stainless steels and a variety of other metals. Metal alloys that are good candidates for electropolishing include:
Passivation is similar to electropolishing in that it uses a chemical bath to remove contaminants acquired during the manufacturing process. However, passivation uses an acidic solution that does not require an electrical current. Passivation won’t change the material’s aesthetic appearance, but it will improve the oxide layer that protects stainless steel.
Passivation requires a thorough understanding of the type of alloy and how the chemical bath solution will interact with it. An inexperienced finisher using the wrong passivation solution could strip much more from the surface than intended and damage the workpiece beyond repair.
The passivation process provides an excellent way to remove free iron and other contaminants from the surface of many stainless steel grades. Some stainless steel materials aren’t appropriate for this finishing method, however. When the steel has low chromium and nickel levels, or if the parts have been welded or brazed, passivation is typically not the appropriate finishing method.
Choosing the Right Finishing Process
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When selecting stainless steel electropolishing vs. passivation, consider the following application-specific factors:
Offers an ideal solution for removing microscopic contaminants or imperfections
Strips the entire outer layer of metal
Will remove heat tinting and oxide scales
Suitable for parts with complex geometries
Does not require electrical current
Removes free iron and other surface contaminants
Won’t remove heat tinging or oxide scales but strengthens the oxide layer
Gentler than electropolishing
The choice comes down to the application for the stainless steel. For a flawless finish or to finish components with complex shapes and angles, electropolishing offers an ideal solution. Passivation is a less complicated and gentler technique used to remove surface contaminants and enhance corrosion resistance without peeling off the material’s outermost layer.
Working with Highland for Sanitary Stainless Steel Process Equipment
At Highland Equipment, we offer passivation as one of our many value-added services. Our staff can help you to determine if passivation is the right finishing method for your project. For more information about our passivation capabilities, please contact us today.
Both Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) and Site Acceptance Testing (SAT) involve extensive testing of systems or system components to determine or verify compliance with the preapproved specifications. While there are similarities between the two, they are distinct processes. The following blog post outlines the key differences between FAT and SAT.
What Is a Factory Acceptance Test?
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Factory Acceptance Testing occurs at the vendor’s test facility before the completed equipment proceeds to the customer site. These tests verify whether the equipment meets all functionality and performance requirements as detailed by the User Requirements Specification (URS) document written by the manufacturer and executed by the customer or customer’s representative. They also provide vendors with an opportunity to identify issues and customers with an opportunity to make modification suggestions prior to shipment, both of which reduce the amount of time and money spent on resolutions and ensure the equipment is ready for use upon arrival.
While FAT operations range from short and simple to comprehensive and complex, they are generally more rigorous than Site Acceptance Tests since vendors want to ensure the equipment fully complies with the terms of the contract. The tests conducted vary depending on equipment, customer, and vendor requirements. However, they generally cover the following:
Inspection: Does the equipment conform to the final design and drawing specifications?
Contract Audit: Are all contractual obligations fulfilled?
Water Testing: Does the equipment operate as intended?
Some of the typical issues uncovered by factory acceptance testing include:
Quality or craftsmanship problems
Improper labeling and guarding
Lack of sanitary design
What Is a Site Acceptance Test?
Site Acceptance Testing occurs at the customer’s test facility after the completed equipment is delivered to the customer site. These tests verify whether the equipment meets and/or exceeds the functionality and performance requirements written up by the customer themselves. They occur after all commissioning tasks for the equipment are completed but before installation.
SAT operations typically involve running the equipment for one to two weeks to see if it performs as expected and if any major problems occur. If the equipment does not perform as expected or a problem arises, the vendor and customer must discuss how to resolve the situation. If the equipment does perform as expected and no problems follow, the customer can have peace of mind that the system does its job effectively and safely.
Highland Equipment: Ensuring Equipment Quality With Comprehensive Testing/Inspection Procedures
At Highland Equipment, we do our part to assure our customers that our equipment does what it needs to do. Our team employs a variety of non-destructive testing (NDT) methods to carefully inspect our systems and verify they comply with the highest standards. To learn more about our testing and inspection capabilities, contact us today.
Untreated stainless steel has a chemically reactive surface and can rust over time. However, the process of passivation — chemically washing the body of a stainless steel part — protects the surface and results in a longer-lasting item that better resists corrosion and rusting. Passivation removes free iron from stainless steel surfaces, which is highly advantageous for newly machined and manufactured parts. Some of the benefits of passivation include:
Resistance to the elements: The iron in stainless steel is the reactive component in the alloy. Chromium and nickel (the other metals in the alloy) are much less reactive to air, moisture, and water. Because the acid wash removes the surface iron, only the passive chromium and nickel oxide layer get exposed to air.
Reapplication: Stainless steel parts can undergo the passivation process multiple times without weakening or adverse reactions, allowing operators to deal with iron exposure from physical impact or damage. Regular passivation processes extend the lifespan of the item.
Reduced maintenance costs: Passivation reduces the risk of broken parts, contamination from rust, and unscheduled downtime.
The Passivation Process
Passivation is a three-step process that can happen immediately following fabrication and machining.
Technicians thoroughly clean the stainless steel part to remove grease, dirt, debris, and shavings. This step ensures that the acid wash reaches every inch of the surface to dissolve any unwanted free iron. It also reduces the risk of flash attacks—dark spots and deposits that stain the passivated surface.
The parts are placed in a passivating bath of either nitric acid or citric acid. The components sit in the bath until all of the iron in the surface layers has dissolved.
Testing verifies the removal of all iron from the surface, after which passivation is complete. Different grades of stainless steel may undergo slightly different testing methods. The most common test involves swabbing a test part with copper sulfate to see if plating copper develops.
Considerations for Tank Passivation
Passivation experts can carefully balance different factors to tailor the passivation process for each batch of stainless steel products. Some of the unique characteristics that can change between batches include:
The chemical composition of the passivation bath: The bath will use nitric or citric acid, depending on the stainless steel grade, the application specifications, and the environmental concerns of the company.
Submersion duration: Different parts need to be submerged in the acid for different lengths of time to ensure all iron gets dissolved.
These factors and others will play a role in the efficacy of the free iron removal process and the final surface quality, which affects the service life and aesthetic appeal of the final product.
Choose Highland Equipment for High-Quality Stainless Steel Passivation
At Highland Equipment, we specialize in thorough passivation processes that result in high-quality, aesthetically pleasing stainless steel components. We offer a full suite of passivation surfaces to meet the finishing needs of numerous product types. Contact us or request a quote to see how our passivation services can support your project.
Processing plants need rotating mixers that can handle different compositions and materials to meet a desired endpoint. When mixing impellers rotate in a batch, they generate shear, or stress, on the materials, to mix them together. The viscosity and other properties of liquids, as well as the presence of solids, determine the force needed to combine the materials. The amount of shear is dictated by the blade design and rotational speed. Mixers can use either high shear mixing or low shear mixing to incorporate the disparate materials into one mixture, depending on your needs.
High Shear Mixing
Shear forces are caused by one force pushing part of a mixture while another force pushes a different part of the mixture in the opposite direction in a parallel field. The higher the shear force is, the better the materials can incorporate together, even mixtures with viscous liquids and solids.
High shear mixers have a high-speed rotor that forces the mixture outward against a stator to generate shear. These mixers mix, rotate, and agitate the batch. One particular type of high shear mixing, called dispersion, uses high levels of horsepower to create even higher levels of shear. In addition to combining the mixture, high shear forces also ensure the materials are evenly distributed within the batch.
Low Shear Mixing
Low shear mixing is a gentler, less forceful mixing process. This process is ideal for miscible materials that don’t need a lot of energy or force to combine. It also can handle delicate materials—including adhesives, polymers, and structured food products—and materials with large particle sizes that shouldn’t be broken down during mixing. If the shear rate gets too high, the materials can start to suffer from shear degradation.
Low shear mixing processes feature a wide variety of different rotor blade designs, and they use the flow and turbulence in the tank to help incorporate the materials.
Applications for High and Low Shear Mixing
High shear mixing and low shear mixing each meet the needs of different applications. High shear mixing equipment uses include:
Emulsifying and homogenizing liquid-liquid compounds
Dispersing powders into liquid compounds
Mixing liquid-liquid mixtures with materials that have different viscosity levels
Dispersing and suspending solids in liquids
Reducing particle sizes in mixtures
Low shear mixing processes are reserved for mixtures that need gentler handling or require less force to achieve the desired result. Popular applications include:
Combining miscible liquids and fluids
Increasing the efficiency of heating mixtures
Maintaining suspension of particles
Mixing liquid chemicals
Working With Highland: Leveraging Software to Optimize the Mix
The key to optimal low and high shear mixing isn’t just the hardware—it’s also the software. High-quality shear mixing software can model the different factors that impact sanitary mixing processes, including heat transfer, reactions, and turbulence.
Using this modeling, Fluent software can present a wide range of industrial functions, such as airflow over aircraft wings, semiconductor manufacturing, and more. New iterations of software are also user-friendly, in that they can easily be used by new and experienced operators. Users follow task-based workflow guides to speedily create simulation processes with accurate results based on different meshes, different blade radius and shape parameters, and more.
Fluent also uses a Mosaic meshing technology as part of its patent-pending high-speed system. This technology combines different boundary layer meshes to create a unique mesh. This ensures faster and more accurate flow resolution based on the models.
With this software, Highland can test different mixing scenarios and blade configurations to optimize the process and time requirements for every batch, design blades with the right radii and shapes to speed up mixing, create better consistency, and create customized equipment for each of our customers.
Contact Us Today for High Shear and Low Shear Mixing Solutions
High shear and low shear mixing processes each play an important role in manufacturing. Different mixtures may need to be homogenized, while others need consistently suspended solids. High shear, or very forceful, mixing processes uses high-speed impellers, and low shear mixing processes use flow, turbulence, and rotational force to combined miscible goods.
At Highland Equipment, we specialize in testing and designing high shear mixing and low shear mixing equipment. Every product is customized and thoroughly modeled to create the optimal shear mixing force for each of our customer’s needs. Request a quote today to get the customized mixing tools your facility needs.
Borescopes are optical instruments that facilitate visual inspection of hard-to-reach spaces, such as the inside of narrow pipes or tubes. They consist of a lens or camera on one end, a flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid tube and/or fiber assembly, and a display on the other end. Industry professionals utilize them to inspect a wide range of industrial parts and products during manufacturing operations and maintenance and repair work. By detecting defects in components—e.g., cracks or leaks in welds—that need to be resolved, they help improve ROI and extend component life.
What Is a Borescope Inspection?
Borescopes are commonly used in non-destructive testing (NDT) operations involving components with hard-to-reach cavities. Some have lights on the lens end to enhance visibility within the component during inspection operations, while others (video borescopes) have a recording function that makes it easier to maintain comprehensive documentation of inspections. Regardless of the design and configuration, they serve the same function: helping technicians inspect component areas that are difficult or impossible to reach without damaging or dismantling the object. These instruments allow for fast and easy diagnosis of component issues, such as blockages, corrosion, cracking, erosion, or weak welds.
Borescope Inspection Procedure for Piping and Tubing
One of the most common applications for borescopes is the inspection of pipes/tubes and fittings. They are used to determine and/or verify the integrity of longitudinal weld joints in manufactured pipes and tubes and orbital weld joints in connected pipe and tube assemblies.
Common issues found in tube/pipe interiors include weld irregularities (which can lead to corrosion and buildup), gaps or light (which indicate an incomplete weld), and cracks or damage (which can cause malfunction). Catching these defects early on allows welders to rectify them before they cause more significant problems.
Once pipes and tubes are thoroughly inspected and approved for use, they are employed in a wide range of industrial applications and processes, including, but not limited to, the following:
Brewery and Beverage Systems
Aseptic Dairy Processes
Any Piping System that is welded
Highland Equipment: How We Use Borescopes to Ensure Quality
At Highland Equipment, we are fully aware of the important role borescopes play in inspection operations. By utilizing these tools to inspect the hard-to-reach areas of our piping system fabrications, we ensure the quality of each weld and the integrity of the overall system. To learn more about how we use borescopes to ensure fabrication quality, contact us today.
A sanitary weld is fully penetrated, which means the weld accesses the ID of the tube and that it creates a 100% structural joint. This type of weld has a smooth surface where it will contact any product, ensuring easy and reliable cleaning with no crevices or oxidation that could possibly harbor bacteria and other contaminants.
To ensure a sanitary design, and be compliant with standards and regulations, all food-contact surfaces, including welds, should be:
Free of cracks and crevices
Durable and maintenance-free
When you are creating a sanitary weld with stainless steel tubing or pipe, the weld must be purged with a highly pure inert gas to remove the hazardous gases released and built up during the welding process, which can otherwise pool and cause discoloration, contamination, and oxidation.
The last step in creating a sanitary weld is a final inspection. A borescope is used to verify that the weld is fully penetrated and to identify any defects or contamination. Other NDT methods can also be employed. Weld defects include a lack of fusion to the base metal, root-pass cracking, and incomplete penetration.
Types of Welds
GTAW or TIG Welding
The AWS D18.1/D18 Specification for Welding of Austenitic Stainless Steel Tube and Pipe Systems in Sanitary (Hygienic) Applications establishes that all sanitary welds for austenitic stainless steel tube and pipe are to be done using the gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) process.
The GTAW process, also known as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, is a clean, high-quality welding process, often used when a precision weld is required. GTAW outperforms other processes because it offers greater accuracy over the heat input to the weld area, producing a higher quality weld with a smaller heat-affected zone.
The GTAW process works by creating an arc between a non-consumable tungsten electrode and a metal component to be welded. An inert gas, typically argon or helium, is used to shield the tungsten electrode from oxidation or contamination during the process. GTAW is suitable for most metals, including stainless steel, and produces a high-quality weld with little or no finishing work required.
The food and dairy industries are under increasing pressure to ensure the safety of their products by adhering to higher quality standards than ever before. This mounting pressure has increased industry demand for clean, smooth product contact surfaces, which has, in turn, led to technological advancements for the fabrication of process piping systems.
One of the technological advancements to come from the growing needs of the food and dairy industries is orbital welding, now considered to be the standard for joining stainless steel tubes used for food processing. Orbital welding is an automated process that helps to minimize the risk of operator error in GTAW processes. The method uses a computer-controlled system to direct the arc current, feed, and speed, while allowing the orbital welding head to rotate around the assembly to produce consistent and repeatable weld profiles. At Highland Equipment, our team employs orbital welding to ensure consistent welds whenever possible.
Employ Sanitary Welding Capabilities
The sanitary welding process is thoroughly standardized and codified to ensure the safety of the public. Poor quality welds can create an environment in process piping systems that increase the risk of contamination in food and beverage processing facilities.
Welding is an art that involves a great deal of science and requires a great deal of knowledge and skill. At Highland Equipment, our team of engineers, welders, and technicians are experts in the sanitary welding process. All of our welding procedures as well as welding personnel conform to requirements of 3A, ASME BPE, AWS D18.1/D18 and ASME B31.3, and are qualified according to ASME Section IX Code and registered with T.S.S.A. To learn more about sanitary welding and the capabilities of Highland Equipment, contact us today.