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Considerations for choosing a sanitary pressure gauge

pressure gauge | sanitary gauge

If you work in any industry that involves food, beverages, pharmaceuticals or biotechnology, your challenge is to implement and maintain strict sanitary control over your entire operation to prevent product contamination and protect public health. This means, that every aspect of the manufacturing process, including equipment and instruments you use to keep your systems running smoothly, must also meet certain sanitary and hygienic standards. 

Ashcroft is a globally recognized leader in pressure and temperature instrumentation, so we understand the unique requirements our products must meet for use in these highly regulated industries. In fact, as a Product Leader for the company's sanitary product line, I am often asked for guidance during our customers' gauge selection process. 

In this article, you will learn more about the unique safety challenges of these highly regulated industries, the safety standards that are designed for public protection and some factors to consider when selecting the best sanitary gauge for your needs. When you are done reading, you will also be directed to additional resources to help deepen your knowledge of pressure gauges in general.

Unique safety requirements for producing consumable goods.

Due to the public health risks, preventing contamination is arguably the biggest challenge for industries making products that are safe for consumption. Regulatory guidelines were created to help manufacturers achieve and maintain strict sanitary conditions throughout the entire manufacturing, transportation and distribution processes. These guidelines also apply to any equipment or instruments used in these processes, including the sanitary gauges that monitor and control system pressure in different stages of production. 

Some examples of standards and guidelines that exist to prevent product contamination and facilitate cleaning and sanitizing operations include:

  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). GMP regulations were established by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent contamination and maintain product quality throughout the manufacturing process to protect public health.

  • 3-A.  The sanitary standards established by 3-A  focus on the design, construction, and operation of food processing and equipment to ensure they meet a required level of sanitary safety.

  • Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). RoHS regulates the use of certain hazardous substances, including Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE), Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB), Hexavalent Chromium (CrVI), Cadmium (Cd), Mercury (Hg) and Lead (Pb) and certifies that these substances are NOT present in products or processes.

Key considerations for sanitary pressure gauge selection.

When selecting a pressure measurement instrument for any sanitary application, you will want to consider the following four factors:

  • Material selectionFirst and foremost, the pressure gauge you use for sanitary applications must be made from materials that are compatible with the process media. Without the proper material selection, gauge damage or failure may occur. 316L Stainless steel is a common material choice because of its corrosion resistance and hygienic properties. 

  • Material tracability. You will need to confirm that the manufacturer of your sanitary instrumentation can provide documentation that certifies where the instrument materials were sourced and where they have been used.  
  •  Clean-in-place (CIP) and sterile-in-place (SIP) solutions. Regular cleaning or sterilization of equipment is critical in sanitary manufacturing practices so your pressure gauge must also be able to withstand the demands of frequent washes.

  • Smooth finish.  To reduce the risk of bacteria growth, sanitary gauges must also have a smooth, non-porous, polished finish, with no crevices or areas where contaminants can accumulate. Stainless steel is once again an example of a material offering a smooth surface, which is easy to clean and helps prevent contamination. 

One example of a product that checks all the boxes is the Ashcroft® 1032 Sanitary Pressure Gauge.  This instrument was specifically designed to monitor and control pressure throughout manufacturing systems and help prevent contamination. 

In addition to its 316L Stainless steel construction, smooth finish design and CIP/SIP capabilities, this product also offers a Zero External Adjust Feature. This allows for an external zero adjustment during the calibration process and an indication at any point on the scale, including zero, to be adjusted as much as ±5% of span. Download the Datasheet to learn more.

Figure 1. Ashcroft 1032 Sanitary Pressure Gauge Zero External Adjust Feature. 

zero adjust

Ready to learn more?

Now that you have a little more information about what to consider when selecting a sanitary pressure gauge, we realize you may have more questions. Here are a few articles that may be of interest to you.

Plus, feel free to contact one of our industry experts and get all your pressure gauge questions answered. In the meantime, download our guide to learn more. 

Instruments for the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industry

About Eric Deoliveira, Product Marketing Leader

Eric Deoliveira is a Product Marketing Leader at Ashcroft, Inc. He is currently responsible for pressure gauges, sanitary gauges, high-purity gauges, diaphragm seals and isolation rings. He’s been with Ashcroft since 2015 and spent 3 years as a Product Support Engineer for Mechanical Temperature before transitioning into the Product Manager role. Eric enjoys coming up with solutions for customer problems and introducing new products to satisfy the needs of the market. When not working on his products, he is out golfing in the summer and skiing in the winter.