Metal Detectable & X-Ray Detectable Rubber Materials

Apr 26, 2020

There is a distinct reason why many different industries would require the use of metal detectable and X-Ray detectable rubber materials and we aim to help you gain an understanding of where and why these would be used.

Regulations in the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Industries

Specific government regulations stipulate that it is crucial that all food, beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturers ensure that all foreign materials are kept out of ingredients as this ensures that food and drugs are safe for consumers. It is a high priority to ensure that all foreign material is prevented from entering the processing stream, but this also means that the correct measures must be adopted in order to detect and identify any foreign material that might contaminate a product. This will enable them to quarantine it before it is distributed.

Through incorrect installation or excessive shear that is experienced throughout the operation, component parts that are used in the processing of food and drugs can break into fragments. Materials such as plastic, rubber or even metal can then contaminate ingredients. Some of the chemicals that are used for cleaning or the sterilisation of equipment can result in the degradation of rubber seals and that increases the chances of particles breaking off and finding their way into many of the products. When parts fail, it may cause product contamination but along with this, it can also lead cause downtime for machinery as well as the requirement to scrap products and even product recalls. All of this could come with legal issues and media attention that has a negative impact. All of these problems can then lead to a financial impact as well as a reduction in brand loyalty.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)

A vast majority of processing operations now use HACCP programs that require all parts to be metal detectable and X-ray detectable. This resulted in it becoming necessary for the development of special rubber materials that make it possible for food processors to carry out routine inspections for this form of contamination, making use of in-line metal detectors and X-ray machines. As a result, rubber must be compounded with specific additives that make it possible for detection to take place. Despite this, there are foods that have phase angles that are much like detectable rubber and so, it is vital that a full understanding of the rubber product’s application is in place as this will guarantee correct compound selection.

There are several metal and X-Ray detectable materials available that are manufactured using ingredients that are sanctioned under FDA Title 21 CFR 177 .2600. Some of these materials are 3A sanitary 18-03 approved and come in Silicone, EPDM, Nitrile, FKM and HNBR. All have a durometer range from 50 shore to 90 shore and come in blue which is the industry standard although materials can be coloured as per the requirements of the customer while any polymer can be manufactured to be metal detectable and x ray detectable.

For more information on Metal and X-Ray Detectable Seals, visit