The bite-sized candies are mostly sugar in composition, meaning over time they can be abrasive on seals and surfaces. The candy is sucked up through the pinch valve, traveling through pipework where they are then mixed with other colors in a hopper before being bagged up. Before installing a pinch valve, plant manager used a ball valve. But this was not an ideal solution because seals would break down often due to the abrasive sugar, requiring monthly replacement.
They installed a Type VMC (80 mm) aluminum housing with stainless steel sockets ends (NPT), with a food-grade natural rubber sleeve, AKO VAC unit and normally open solenoid valve. The food quality FDA approved natural rubber sleeve to close the valves without damaging the sweets. The sleeve is also able to withstand the abrasion of the sugar as they pass through. An AKO VAC system was added also to avoid the sleeve being deformed from the vacuum pressure. The AKO pinch valve has been running perfectly for over a year.
“We’re happy to offer the AKO valves as a solution for our customers when dealing with the flow control of abrasive candies and sugar. They’ve proven themselves to be excellent valves with very abrasive applications,” adds Scott Will of Basecamp Process Components, exclusive North American supplier of AKO pinch valves as well as knife gate valves.