Dec Philosophy

Process Linking

Active vs passive charging

 

Process Linking - From Batch to Semi-Continuous Process

Batch manufacturing is still commonplace in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry. Such operations require to use intermediate packagings for product storage between each process step leading to low production flexibility, high process downtime, high risks of operator exposure, product contamination and sterility loss.

​Dec's way to improve productivity, safety and containment at the same time is to interconnect production equipment in a closed way (i.e. discharging a centrifuge directly into a dryer or a reactor, direct charging from a blender to a tablet press, etc.).

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Why you should link your processes :

 

  • Totally closed operation preventing cross contamination,  product exposure (GMP compliant) and increasing safety

  • Full containment. Elimination of the requirement of a docking or containment system

  • Elimination of the requirement of a clean room

  • No intermediate storage required

  • Increased plant productivity with higher throughput

  • Decreased plant footprint and elimination of a charging floor

  • Possibility of complete automation of the process

  • Deceased number of process steps by interconnecting multiple equipment

  • Lower investments

  • Full CIP, SIP operation

Dec's innovative solutions to change pure batch processes into semi-continuous operations provide flexible and multipurpose facilities which are cGMP compliant with adaptable containment levels.

Linking processes together decreases batch failures due to better control of the production with less human intervention. It minimizes downtime and energy consumption with fully automated CIP/SIP systems...

Active vs Passive Charging

It is a common belief that the use of gravity to charge powder into process equipment is more economical posing less operation risks rather than using a more automated system. 

However, experience has shown that this is often not the case and that the use of gravity could in fact lead to major safety issues and high operation costs.

Over many years, Dec has been developing and improving  a concept to handle powder in a safe and contained manner without the use of gravity.

 

The concept is based on Active Charging - i.e. the use of energy to transfer powder - as opposed to Passive Charging where only gravity moves the powder.

 

The heart of this concept is the PTS Powder Transfer System® which uses vacuum and pressure to convey powder similar to the handling of liquids.  This system can be used during various production stages, e.g. raw materials handling, charging and discharging process equipment and final product packing.

In order to decrease manual handling and improve operation, many industries, from pharmaceuticals to chemical companies, are trying to elimitate drums and bags from operation by replacing them with FIBCs (flexible intermediate bulk container) or better known as big bags. However, handling such large packagings brings other issues in terms of safety and manufacturing flexibility. 

 

In line with latest safety, quality and containment standards, gravity charging is not accepted anymore as a proper way to charge reactors, regardless the fact that is has been industry standard for many years.  In order to charge a vessel by gravity from a top floor, a minimum of safety devices  are required in order to guarantee the safety and process reliability while charging the powder (see article of Dr. Martin Glor - Swiss Safety Institute).

 

 

The advantages of this concept can be explained in few examples.

PTS vs Big Bag Discharge for Reactor Charging by Gravity

To assure a permanent inert atmosphere in the vessel, isolating the powder system (i.e the big bag station) from the vessel atmosphere  for instance by a rotary valve is mandatory. The rotary valve will also control the flow velocity which should be less than 1 m/s in order to avoid electrostatic charges in chutes exceeding 3 m. The chute itself should also be isolated from the vessel by a full bo...

Reactor Charging - PTS vs isolator & PTS vs split valve

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