Pharmaceutical companies sometimes need to remove moisture from active ingredients. This production step takes place in a freeze-dryer. The dryer is loaded and unloaded manually via an isolator. This existing loading system was inadequate for this pharmaceutical company.
The challenge was to design and build an improved way to load and unload an existing isolator. The freeze dryer itself met the company’s expectations. Only the loading system via the isolator needed improving as there were still too many spills. Not only did this cause contamination, it also wasted product costing 6,500 euros per litre.
Problem: the standard solutions on the market were far too expensive and not specifically tailored to the product in question. It was up to us to develop a custom loading system that we could integrate into their existing system. So that the operator could slide the liquid in more easily and more easily slide the powder out after the drying process.
The criteria for the loading system:
- Simple to use
- Accommodates various-sized drawers
- Eliminates contamination risks
- Easy to clean
- More budget-friendly than standard solutions
The original system worked manually, with an operator placing the trays in the freeze dryer. We developed an improved version that moves the drawers magnetically and in a controlled way.
We installed a linear uniaxial actuator under the bottom of the isolator, on the outside of the installation. This prevented to actuator from coming into contact with the product or the cleaning products.
We built the complete automation under the stainless steel bottom of the isolator. This limited the part of the setup inside the isolator to a magnetic coupling and PEEK guide plates.