Dating back to its creation in 1953, QVF glass has manufactured comprehensive component systems made of Borosilicate glass 3.3 for industrial, pilot plant, and lab use. While the properties and utilization of borosilicate glass have remained constant through the years, the design and engineering of the equipment have evolved and changed over time with the establishment of new and improved component systems. Here’s a rundown of the three most recent QVF component systems and the highlights of their designs, most notably the progression of the glass ends.
KF Schott (ball and socket joints)
In 1998 QVF bought Schott Engineering and merged the two companies and product lines. The new components were branded KF Schott and they utilized ball and socket ends that featured spherically shaped ground glass joints that fit into each other. This design allows for slight deviations in the mating angles of the pieces being joined and is beneficial in long runs of pipeline that require more flexibility. In the case of a rotary evaporator, for example, a ball and socket design allows the receiving flask to realign as it increases in weight without imposing a bending load on the joint. A disadvantage to this system is that male and female ends must be matched up at each connection, making set up, maintenance, and replacement more of a hassle.
WPR2002 (flat buttress ends)
In 2000, QVF became a member of De Dietrich Process Systems which lead to further modernization of the borosilicate glass component system. Known as the World Product Range, WPR2002 was the revised product line that offered a high performance connection achieved via the use of safety flat buttress ends and flexible joints. The advantage of this flange system includes more safety through greater strength in design (through the ability to withstand more tensile, compressive, thermal, and bolting force stresses), a reduction in required parts, the ability to easily connect to other materials like glass-lined steel, and the availability of GMP gaskets. Despite all the benefits of this system however, it was met with some resistance from customers who preferred the traditional ball and socket design since that they were more accustomed to using.
The most current QVF system that reigns superior to its predecessors is referred to as SUPRA-Line. With the objective to unify the other systems, SUPRA-Line was introduced in 2012 and reflects the continued evolution of the QVF borosilicate glass range of products. This latest development results in a complete system of borosilicate glass products that are compatible with both the former WPR2002 and KF SCHOTT flange systems. In addition to supplying both ball and socket and flat buttress ends, QVF developed a way to efficiently connect the different components by means of specially designed glass or PTFE adaptors. The nominal sizes DN 15 to DN 300 also contain grooves in the fire-polished sealing surface that secure the O-ring gasket in place and prevent it being pushed out by the internal pressure. Flexible gaskets facilitate deflections of up to 3° so that even complicated systems can be laid out simply and securely.
In addition to the compatibility with existing systems which enables additions onto systems already in use, the key differentiating features of SUPRA-Line include better engineered flanges and connections via ultra-thin stainless steel couplings that provide even greater visibility and other improved design elements such as new spring elements, simplified grounding, and cleaner valve designs.
By reducing the variety of types of components available, customers are able to maintain a more streamlined inventory of spare and replacement parts. And the system truly is universal and globally accepted - all glass equipment and components meet the latest European directives and standards (with all parts bearing the CE mark to ensure quality), national guidelines such as ANSI, as well as other various international standards.