The NHL’s Winter Classic that airs on New Year’s Day attests to the growing appeal of hockey, Canada’s national sport. Years ago, the CBC aired only a single game a week, inviting television watchers inside storied venues such as the Montreal Forum for Hockey Night in Canada. Today, there are plenty of NHL games on TV – even in parts of North America (like Dallas) that don’t have long, cold winters.
For some, the appeal of visiting newer arenas like Montreal’s Bell Centre is greater than the game itself. Places like the old Montreal Forum had food and beer, of course, but the Bell Centre adds smoked beef and corned beef sandwiches to the menu. Cold Canadian beer is always on-tap, making even weekday Hockey Nights seem like a Saturday.
Behind the scenes at Bell Centre and at venues such as Dallas’ Cotton Bowl, food service workers prepare hot sandwiches while fans enjoy the coolest game on ice. Silicone profiles protect kitchen personnel from sharp edges on stainless steel surfaces such as refrigerators and tabletops. Oven door seals help hold in the heat and ensure grilling perfection. The home team hopes to seal a victory, but rubber parts must provide an All-Star performance.
When the food equipment industry designs sandwich ovens, seal design usually isn’t at the top of the menu. That was the case several years ago, when a local company built an oven for a sandwich shop and discovered a problem with a door seal. When the oven was opened and the tray that held the sandwich was removed, the rubber seal caught and loosened. Testing revealed that the oven seal didn’t meet the required specifications, and the original supplier couldn’t adjust their rubber part.
After the oven manufacturer contacted Elasto Proxy, our solutions providers tested the seal again and found a solution. The door seal we designed fit perfectly, without overlapping the oven door and with the right compression. The food-grade rubber compounds we selected also met National Sanitary Foundation (NSF) and U.S. Food Drug Administration (FDA) standards, providing the proper pressure, temperature and moisture requirements for this food service application.
Helping the food equipment industry to shoot and score also means providing an assist to local beer makers. Here in the Montreal area where Elasto Proxy is headquartered, many Canadiens hockey fans enjoy a cold Molson, but microbreweries are also growing in popularity. So when a small local brewer needed a custom seal for a beer kettle, Elasto Proxy designed and fabricated a winning sealing solution.
Seals for beer kettles, stainless steel tanks, and bottle-filling machines must be easy to install, remove, and clean. As with sandwich ovens, microbrewery equipment must comply with NSF and FDA standards. Brewers who specialize in malt, hops, and barley don’t need to know the recipe for rubber compounds, however. Elasto Proxy’s technical design team has also solved sealing challenges with cheese-separating equipment and powder processors.
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Sometimes, silicone is the right rubber material for food and beverage equipment. A non-organic compound, silicone doesn’t decompose at high or low temperatures. Silicone parts are also easy to extrude, and cost-effective to produce in small quantities. SBR materials for sheet packing are also popular with food equipment – especially in clean, bright white.
There are many different rubber compounds, but you probably don’t want one that’s as hard as a hockey puck on a cold winter’s day. So grab a sandwich and a beverage and watch a hockey game like the NHL Winter Classic from wherever you are. But when it’s time to source rubber parts for your food and beverage equipment, contact Elasto Proxy. Our regular operations resume next week on January 6, 2020.