Reduce cycle time in pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing

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Incorporating Process Analytical Technology (PAT) into a reactor bottom outlet valve, using the MultiProbe® - SchuF PAT Solution, allows analysis and control to be carried out by taking measurements DURING pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing.

SchuF PAT valve with Multiprobe

The use of PAT probes enables real-time knowledge of the critical process control parameters. This includes reaction initiation/endpoint, reaction progression, intermediate formation, concentration, yield, etc.

The aim is to reduce production cycle time in manufacturing and product sampling, prevent rejection of batches; solving any problems that arise in order to eliminate any waste of energy or valuable medium.

While taking timely measurements (during the process) is nothing new; in the past, there have always been issues.

One of the biggest of these challenges is finding a suitable point for a probe to enter the reactor vessel. Modifying a vessel is expensive, requires revalidation and may not be permitted due to the vessel's structural integrity being compromised.

Entry via the vessel top would seem to be a better option than compromising the fabric of the vessel. However, longer cables can lead to significantly less reliable signals from the probe. Other options with varying degrees of success include the incorporation of PAT probes into recirculation sampling loops. This however raises safety concerns about residue in flexible hoses and problems handling slurries.

It took an innovation from SchuF, the market leader in drain valves for pharmaceutical and chemical applications, to provide an easy to install, accurate, reliable and effective solution to all the old challenges. The PAT probe integrates into a specially designed valve. This enables manufacturers to access process analysis data directly through the reactor bottom outlet.


How the PAT probe works

The PAT probe protrudes through the valve actuator, stem and disc, to perform measurements in the body of the liquid held in the reactor.

As the probe has direct contact with the medium under analysis, SchuF’s unique Multiprobe design ensures that the medium in the reactor does not leak into the valve spindle. In addition, it ensures quick removal of the probe between batches without removing the valve from the vessel.

Incorporating a probe using PAT technology into the valve eliminates the need to either modify the reactor vessel or lower cables into the vessel. This provides a very safe and comparatively low-cost solution to all the traditional challenges. (The solution can also in some instances be retrofitted in existing valves.)

One of our customers best sums up the benefits of the SchuF MultiProbe:

‘This relatively simple but innovative valve installation has the potential to significantly impact the business through reduced batch cycle time, improved quality and increased process robustness’

SchuF valves that incorporate PAT technology using the MultiProbe arrangement are customizable to a wide range of customer specifications. This includes a wide range of materials such as hastelloy, glass and PFA lining. All of which are compatible with numerous actuator types, sizes and accessories.

PAT tools come in various forms of immersion probes. These include Infrared (IR) probes, Turbidity probes and PH probes for applications where it requires direct insertion into a reactor vessel.

The full range of SchuF products including PAT compatible with Multiprobe are available exclusively in the UK from Valve & Process Solutions Ltd. Contact the team for more information.

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