Custom Sensors & Technology has recently developed a revolutionary service-based approach to reduce customer risk associated with purchasing process monitoring equipment. The service-based approach places increased risk on the equipment supplier, from insuring the proper selection of instrumentation to maintenance and performance of the products.

With the commencement of a service-based approach to supplying process monitoring equipment Custom Sensors & Technology has reduced customer risk by placing the responsibilities previously held by customers upon themselves. The service-based approach is an à la carte list of optional services that can be pieced together to provide the services and support each individual customer requires. This approach may be applied to leased equipment as well as purchased equipment.

Current options include the following items:

  1. Initial proof-of-concept report, generated for the customer based on actual sample or theoretical calculations defining the viability of the proposed equipment to function as expected
  2. Application engineering report, which includes sample analysis and projection on application feasibility, suggestions on equipment to be used as well as suggestions on equipment integration
  3. Equipment integration into existing process site, all hardware needed to adapt CST equipment to be provided to insure seamless integration
  4. Installation of the equipment at customer site, with full start-up assistance available
  5. On-site or factory training for customer staff by CST technician

Other options included are factory acceptance testing, documented material testing and IOQ support. For the duration of the lease terms CST provides product maintenance and performance monitoring to be fully included in the price of the lease.

Custom Sensors is currently implementing the service-based approach to market their LIF sensor and PhotoX line, as well as their various hardware and process sample systems. With the application and installation fully guaranteed leasing or purchasing through the innovative service-based approach greatly reduces customer risk when purchasing process monitoring equipment.

As part of its ongoing commitment to the pharmaceutical industry Rutek has been working towards a new certification, and is pleased to announce that it is now certified to weld PED-approved pressure tanks / containers in the stainless-steel material SAF2507 (EN 1.4410). The material is also known as super duplex, with certification covering all the duplex steels such as SAF2205 (EN 1.4462).

Owner Martin Bak said: "The certification is part of a long-term strategy on a large scale to meet our customers' requirements for solutions in the more exotic materials such as duplex steel and titanium. Welding and handling of these steels have high requirements for the company and each employee on the project, since factors such as cleanliness, preparation and diligence in work is crucial for the end result."

Rutek produces everything in stainless steel, including tanks, pressure tanks, containers and special constructions. To find out more about how Rutek can cater to your requirements, please feel free to contact us.

Choosing the correct pumps for WFI systems can optimise the operational reliability and increase product safety. The pumps must maintain the required pressure and flow and are also an important factor in ensuring the sterile condition of the water for injection. This article describes best practise in pumps for WFI systems today, covering essential challenges in terms of both design and performance.

Used in final formulation in the pharmaceutical industry, it is absolutely essential that water for injection (WFI) maintains its sterile condition. This is why the WFI system – and in particular the pump – must be carefully designed to deal with the demanding physical properties of pure water. Equally important, the pumps must be able to cope efficiently with the required flow and pressure and ensure that the sterility of the water is not jeopardised. The European, the Japanese and the US pharmacopoeia may differ slightly from one another but the pump challenges encountered in WFI productions are essentially the same. And so are the benefits of going for the optimum pump solution.

The optimal pump material

With the conductivity typically below 1.5 microS/cm and the pH value between 5-7 the physical properties of WFI place great demand on the pump material. The water finds itself in a state of unstability and in trying to regain its natural status the media becomes highly aggressive to the material it is in contact with – even to high grade stainless steel, which is the preferred material of construction for all wetted pump components in WFI systems. For this reason the recommended type of stainless steel is AISI 316L with a ferrite content less than 1%. As for the surface finish the roughness must be less than 0.5 um in order to reduce the risk of microbial growth.

The robust shaft seal

The shaft seal is one of the most critical components in terms of the pump's operational reliability in WFI systems. As a barrier between the pumped liquid and the surrounding environment, the shaft seal plays an important part in eliminating any risk of contamination of the sterile water – and in preventing leakage. In choosing the optimum shaft seal solution in WFI pumps the following critical aspects must be taken into account:

  • Exposure to an “aggressive” liquid (WFI)
  • Exposure to high temperature water (typically 80°C)

The optimum choice in material for shaft seals exposed to WFI is silicium carbide. Silicium carbide is a highly abrasion-resistant, chemical inactive and durable material, which is approved for shaft seals in pharmaceutical applications. Carbon/stainless steel shaft seals are unsuitable as carbon abrasion could interfere with the sterile status of the WFI.

The most challenging aspect of shaft seal operation in WFI systems is the fact that the purity and the relatively high temperature of the liquid combined cause poorer lubrication of the seal faces. This may induce noisy friction and wears heavily on the shaft seal, reducing the life of this essential component. In this respect, choosing a pump with a double shaft seal is the optimum solution. A flushed double shaft seal with seal water offers the following advantages:

  • Improved lubrication
  • Better protection against dry running
  • Efficient cooling of the shaft seal
  • Increased operational safety by further safeguarding against contamination
  • Significantly increased lifetime of the shaft seal

The initial cost of a pump with a double shaft seal is obviously higher and so are the operational costs due to the consumption of cooling water for seal flush (typically 4-5 l/hrs. However, the value of the above-mentioned advantages often more than compensates for the difference because costly system downtime can be avoided. So a double shaft seal solution may prove to have a positive impact on the reliability of the entire WFI production system.

The essential drainability

WFI systems invariably demand that pumps are fully drainable to ensure a reliable SIP (Sterilisation In Place) operation. Vertically installed aseptic pumps offer unmatched drainability and high operational safety compared to traditional pump systems.

Where traditional horizontal pumps must be fitted with separate drain valves, which add a dead leg on the casing, the self draining vertical pump has been designed without these potential sources of risk, allowing for a much safer production of WFI. The fewer hideaways bacteria are given, the less likely is the occurrence of contamination of the sterile water.

In addition to optimising the performance of the WFI system the vertical pump is literally ready for installation straight from the factory because it does not require added costly components, e.g. valve and valve control.

The beneficial control

Water for injection must be constantly circulated in the distribution loop in order to maintain its sterile properties. This places great demand on the pump in terms of maintaining the correct pressure and flow at all times – even when water is being drawn from the system in large amounts at one go. This can either be done by operating the pump at constant full speed or – preferably – by adjusting the speed according to the required flow by means of variable speed control.

The use of pump control is considered best practice in WFI systems as it offers a number of benefits:

  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Optimised system performance
  • Increased comfort (e.g. less noise)

Today, pumps can be equipped with integrated frequency drives to ensure an optimum match between the frequency drive parameters and the actual pump requirements. This further reduces the time for parameter setting and significantly minimises the risk of incorrect settings. Moreover, if the pump features external couplings between the motor and the pump shaft, the frequency drive and the motor can very quickly be replaced in case of maintenance – without having to re-sterilise the WFI system.

The required documentation

In WFI systems, it is recommended to only ever choose pumps that have been certified according to the EHEDG standard for cleanability (CIP) and sterilisability (SIP). The EHEDG standard guarantees that the fundamental design of the pump has been tested in a standardised way.

All wetted metal parts of the pump must be delivered with material traceability certificates (EN 3.1.) and all non-metal parts must be delivered with a FDA conformity declaration. This is to make sure that the delivered pump actually contains the correct materials for safe operation – and to ensure proper documentation for the final validation of the entire WFI system.

To summarise, the optimum pump solution for WFI systems carefully considers design and performance in relation to the demanding environment it must operate in. An optimised solution will be beneficial to the entire WFI system and optimise operational reliability as well as product safety

In the course of the Green Technologies Day series, in April, LEWA once again invited experts to exchange thoughts and experiences, this time on the topic of energy efficiency - a competitive advantage in the process industry? The speakers and participants from the industrial and scientific worlds shed some light on current research activities and they discussed technologies that have been proven in practice. The look beyond one's own nose at today's business clearly showed: in any case, the system approach promises the greatest energy savings potential.

The question of whether energy efficiency is a competitive advantage in the process industry can be answered quickly in principle: of course it is an advantage to be able to produce with lower energy costs. Therefore, behind the topic selected for the second Green Technologies Day in April of this year by the patron lies an expanded question: How high is the true total energy savings potential? How can it be realised with the lowest costs? And is there previously unidentified savings potential?

Depending on how one grapples with the topic, the answer can vary a great deal.

A quick approach is to examine an individual component (pump, armature, heat exchanger, compressor) or a defined part of a system (compressed air supply, cooling water supply) and to optimise it. For many operators this is surely an important first step, as a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) shows: according to this study, flow machines such as pumps, ventilators, and air compressors are among the especially 'energy hungry' components of a system.

It takes much more effort to regard a system as a whole and to optimise it as a system. However, this system approach offers the greatest energy savings as a reward. Last but not least, the operator profits in many cases from the additional bonus of more stable processes and product qualities.

Ionic liquids: still expensive, but very advantageous

The influence of grease liquidity may not be underestimated; specialists see additional optimisation potential with the use of ionic liquids. What are ionic liquids? Ionic liquids are salts built on cations and anions. Their particularity is a melting point below 100°C. All ionic liquids have an exceptionally low fugacity due to their salt-like character. The other physiochemical properties (for example; solubility behaviour, viscosity, electrical conductivity, stability) can vary widely depending on the type of ions.

Due to their special properties, ionic liquids open up many possibilities for optimising technical processes.

Two examples with a view of displacement pumps: with a test gear (medium gear size, spur-toothed, normal degree of efficiency at approximately 85% with gear oil), an increase in the degree of efficiency of approximately 4% could be measured. With a hydraulic diaphragm pump, a volumetric increase in the degree of effectiveness of up to 5% per 100 bar is possible - at 1,000 bar, this amounts to 40%. And this too is an advantage: ionic liquids release less air - they thus guarantee better suction and higher metering precision.

This has also been discussed: the increasing time pressure in the area of system planning makes it indispensable to order components such as pumps on the basis of more or less estimated parameters.

Urgent advice: as soon as there is better data, estimates and assumptions should be replaced by current values and the pump design should be checked. In addition, a system develops further and is driven later on by other operating points than at the time of its design. If deviations exceed particular limits, the design should be adapted.

Acceptance of longer amortisation times required

The initial question: Does energy efficiency offer a competitive advantage for the process industry? This can be answered clearly with a yes. And the advantage is clearer the more complete the systems and not just individual components are optimised.

The discussion brought an insight common to all industries: sustainable energy efficiency is not to be had for free. Investors must release the necessary financial means so that planners can also design and implement energy-efficiency systems for pumps with smaller output. The current amortisation times of two to three years accepted by the management of many companies are clearly too short.

Adapted ROI requirements are needed. And thus it becomes even clearer: the more complete systems and not just individual components are optimised, the more energy-efficiently a company can work.

Another insight: Anyone who offers energy-efficient systems earns 10% more in sales, but must invest 30% to 40% more effort in project work.

A pump manufacturer that sells an operator only individual pumps can clearly rejoice over better profits. However, whether he can be successful on the market in the long term with such a business model is doubtful.

Conclusion of the LEWA CEO for technology Dr Andreas Höhler, "The second Green Technologies Day showed once again: nothing can replace a personal conversation. Only the dialogue between operators and planners and not least with the world of science brings to light what is practically necessary and theoretically possible. It has also become clear to all of us: when it comes to the topic of 'energy efficiency,' it is worthwhile to look beyond one's own nose."

Italvacuum, thanks to the experience of more than 70 years in the manufacture of industrial vacuum pumps and vacuum dryers for the main production processes of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, has introduced on the market a new range of tray vacuum dryers developed for laboratory scale.

These dryers, manufactured with separated cells and auxiliary fittings mounted on skid, are designed for assembly in the glove box.

In terms of the parts in contact with the product, the new static vacuum dryers for lab scale can be made of stainless steel AISI 316L (1.4404), AISI 904L (1.4539), ALLOY C-22, 2.4602 and Duplex.

Metastorm, a leading provider of business process management (BPM), business process analysis (BPA) and enterprise architecture (EA) software for aligning strategy with execution, has announced that it has been named on the AlwaysOn East Top 100 Private Companies list.

The AlwaysOn East (AOE) 100 list represents the top emerging companies from the East Coast that are demonstrating significant market traction and pursuing game-changing technologies in on-demand computing, digital media, and greentech. Selections were made by the AlwaysOn editorial team, along with partners at the Blackstone Group, KPMG, Silicon Valley Bank, Sonnenschein, and others.

"After examining the companies that are on the AOE100 list, it's obvious that innovation is not only alive and well on the East Coast, it's accelerating in economic power and scope," says Tony Perkins, founder and editor of AlwaysOn. "The companies certainly represent some of the highest-growth opportunities in the private company marketplace."

"We are pleased that our growth, leadership and innovation in business process management and optimization continues to be recognized by industry thought leaders and the investment community," stated Robert Farrell, chairman and CEO of Metastorm.

The ChargePoint® range of containment valves and integrated systems have established themselves as market-leading solutions for contained powder handling throughout a wide range of chemical, pharmaceutical, biotech and food manufacturing processes.

Powtech, which will take place 27-29 April in Nuremberg, Germany, is the world's largest exhibition for mechanical processing technologies, making it the ideal location for ChargePoint to display its latest technologies.

At our stand (5-448) you can discover our latest valve technology and discuss your requirements for safe powder handling with our industry experts. Our range of split valves will be available for live demonstrations and hands-on experience.

Exhibits will include:

  • ChargePoint DL - unique DiscLock™ technology containment valve and docking systems ideal for the dust-free handling of larger quantities of material with intermediate bulk containers (IBCs)
  • ChargePoint - a versatile range of containment valves for the safe transfer solid and semi-solid ingredients for a wide range of processes including pressure and vacuum rated applications
  • ChargePoint EXCEL - high-performance containment valves for high levels of operator and product protection including solutions for use within aseptic and sterile processes

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