Guest Column | August 25, 2010

CSI Guest Column Series: FlowGeeks Speak


Each month from August 2010 through July 2011, CSI will publish an article on a topic related to hygienic processing. These articles will be written by members of the panel at is a collaborative space dedicated to the free exchange of ideas dealing with hygienic processing equipment and the industries where it is used. You can read articles, watch videos, and participate in discussions with other industry experts.

Food Online is pleased to present this series of guest columns on topics related to hygienic processing. Each installment tackles a different topic and how it can impact your organization. Following are the columns that have already been published and are now available in Food Online's archives:

Cut the Hastle: Hastelloy C-22 vs Hastelloy C-276
By Yogini Dhopade, CSI

Material selection can be a difficult decision when you don't understand the differences between two different materials with almost the same cost. For example, have you ever asked for Hastelloy C-276 material and been recommended Hastelloy C-22 instead?

About The Author
Although is new to CSI, by no means is Yogini Dhopade new to the field. With a Bachelor of Technology degree in Metallurgy and Material Technology, a Master of Science degree in Material Science, and a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing, she possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience. As a specialist in alloys, she helps customers choose the right material for their application. She also serves as part of CSI's Quality Assurance team.

Criteria For Selecting Equipment In A Hygienic Environment
By Bryan Downer, CSI
Obviously, selecting equipment that is adequate for your specific application is important in every instance — hygienic or not. However, when selecting equipment for a hygienic application, there are some important criteria to consider. Let's examine some of those factors a little more closely.

Benefits Of Skid Systems
By Bryan Downer, CSI
A skid system is any process implement, operational device or system that can help a customer save time and money, or increase flexibility by assembling a group of modular pieces together as a single unit. CSI has been building self contained, mobile or modular process systems for more than 30 years, including: pump carts, bio waste deactivation systems, CIP systems, and even multi-story process systems that are completely modular.

About The Author
Bryan Downer has held positions ranging from Senior Process Engineer to Director of Corporate Engineering. He is an expert in the disciplines of mechanical, chemical, process, structural, and control engineering. As Vice President at CSI, Bryan is responsible for business development and product management. He also serves on the 3A Sanitary Standards Committee Subgroup and is a member of EHEDG.

The Right Hands For The Job: Alloys
By Stuart Coutchie, CMC Letco Industries
Many of our customers are now seeing the benefit of building equipment with specialty alloys designed for higher corrosion resistance than stainless steel. Typically these alloys are more expensive, both in material and production costs, than stainless. However, that increased cost can be offset by longer service life, reduced maintenance, and improved corrosion resistance.

About The Author
Stuart Coutchie is Division Manager at CMC Letco Industries. CMC Letco is a manufacturer of tanks, pressure vessels, and processing equipment, specializing in stainless steels, nickel alloys, and exotic materials.

Chloride Stress Corrosion Cracking Of 300 Series Stainless Steel
By Dr. Hira Ahluwalia, Material Selection Resources Inc. (MSR)
Stress corrosion cracking (SCC) is the unexpected, sudden failure of normally sound materials when subjected to tensile stress in a corrosive environment. The conditions necessary for stress corrosion cracking are: suitable environment, tensile stress, and sensitive material.

Focus On Stress Corrosion Cracking
By Dr. Hira Ahluwalia, Material Selection Resources Inc.
Unexpected or premature failure of chemical process equipment constitutes a serious hazard in terms of personnel, plant, and environmental safety. By weakening reliability, such failures also adversely affect productivity and profitability. Modern experience in chemical plants has been that failures due to environmental cracking are among the most serious of such problems, making up about 20 to 30% of all corrosion failures. The purpose of this article is to discuss in simple terms some of the pertinent information.

About The Author
President of Material Selection Resources Inc. (MSR), Dr. Hira Ahluwalia holds a Ph.D. in materials and corrosion engineering, and his areas of expertise include material selection, corrosion testing, metallurgy, and failure analysis. A member of ASM and NACE for 23 years, Dr. Ahluwalia has served as chairman of the NACE Annual Conference Program Committee and section chair of the ASM Corrosion Handbook. He is also a Nickel Institute consultant and Materials Technology Institute (MTI) consultant.

Elastomers: A Beginner's Guide
By Liz Braden, Technical Service Representative, CSI
Whether for a gasket, valve seat, or O-ring, the choice of elastomer might seem like a minor decision, but it can have a major impact. If a seal material is a poor fit for the application, you could run into any number of problems, from swelling to peeling or cracking. Needless to say, these could be a big deal in a sanitary process. But how to you decide what elastomer to use?

Flow Meters Vs. Load Cells: How Do They Measure Up?
By Liz Braden, Technical Service Representative, CSI
While flow meters and load cells are two very different technologies, their paths may sometimes overlap. In fact, it is not always easy to decide which technology would be best suited for a certain application. For instance, when outfitting a tank for batching, you must select a method for measuring the amounts of each ingredient added. A flow meter may be the first device that comes to mind. However, the load cell might actually be the better solution.

Pump Cavitation Giving You a Headache?
By Liz Braden, Technical Service Representative, CSI
If you've ever heard what sounds like gravel running through your pump, you've probably experienced the problems that come from cavitation. Cavitation, the formation and implosion of bubbles inside the pump head, causes more than just an obnoxious noise. Those tiny bubbles can result in thousands of dollars in repairs due to pitting on the impeller and casing, or collateral damage from the vibration of the pump.

About The Author
With a degree in Manufacturing Engineering, Liz Braden has experience in the food processing industry, managing production and working to improve plant processes. Currently she works as a technical service representative at CSI, where her background gives her insight into understanding customers' needs and finding solutions to their problems.

When Will I Benefit From Piping With AL-6XN Alloy Material?
By Mike Woods, CSI
Products containing chlorides and other salts can attack the tubing and fittings used to transport the products throughout a plant. Systems fabricated from 304 or 316 stainless steel can become leaky after prolonged contact with salty food and beverages, e.g. sports drinks and soy sauces. If the product is also acidic, like salsa, tomato sauce, or barbecue sauce, the attack is even more aggressive. Some reagents and products encountered in pharmaceutical production, e.g. hydrochlorides, can also contribute to pitting, crevice corrosion, and stress-corrosion cracking.

About The Author
With a Bachelor's in Chemistry and a Master's in Business Administration, Mike Woods has worked as a bench chemist and supervisor in a materials testing and environmental chemistry laboratory. At CSI he has served as a technical service representative, specializing in the corrosion resistant alloys program. He presently works as Director of eCommerce.

A New Solution To An Old Problem
By Ilana Goldberg, CSI
For decades, the method to make a tube or pipe penetration consisted of drilling a hole in the wall and running the pipe through. What we see in most plants is foam or caulk to plug the hole, in combination with a stainless steel escutcheon plate, sealed to the wall with silicone caulking. This method is acceptable at first. However, when the tubing experiences some movement — vibrations or thermal expansion and contraction — the plate breaks loose from the wall. The result is an exposed hole, which is not only unsightly, but it can lead to more serious issues: the inside of the wall now becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.

About The Author
As an export specialist at CSI, Ilana Goldberg handles all international customers and international shipments. Fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, she has worked in several different industries in Brazil and the United States. She holds an MBA with emphasis in marketing and supply chain and participates in the International Business Council of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce.