Crucial Temperature Control in Pharma Manufacturing
HRS Heat Exchangers have helped a leading Australian pharmaceutical company expand its production capacity by supplying a bespoke system which controls the temperature of solution materials used in capsule manufacturing.
Capsules are a popular method of drug delivery, comprising of two-piece dissolvable outer shell containing miniature pellets which carry the active ingredients. The pellets are prepared using a fluid bed dryer in order to reduce moisture content and are sometimes spray-coated with a solution containing key ingredients. The spray-coating solutions use an alcohol-based formulation to ensure correct mixing and maintenance of the fundamental chemical properties. The solutions must be prepared and applied within a tight temperature range.
Mayne Pharma, a listed Australian company, commercialises branded and generic pharmaceuticals in a range of product areas. Its GMP accredited manufacturing facility is located in Salisbury, South Australia, approximately 12 miles from Adelaide, where it produces tablets, capsules, liquids and creams.
Mayne Pharma wanted to expand and upgrade its existing production capacity for capsule production by adding a third fluid bed dryer and the associated equipment, whilst simultaneously improving temperature regulation to its existing lines.
The alcohol for the solutions is drawn from an outside tank farm, and one of the issues with the old system was that on hot days the factory had to wait for the alcohol to cool down before mixing the solutions, which could sometimes take hours.
HRS Heat Exchangers was asked to provide a quotation for a hot water heater to support the new line, but quickly realised that a turnkey package offering active heating or cooling as required.
The solution produced by HRS is a heater/cooler with the ability to reduce cooling time to less than 60 minutes. Due to space constraints the unit was supplied on a compact skid with integrated controls and automation of both heating and cooling processes.
The HRS unit utilises two K Series multi-pass corrugated tube heat exchangers to maintain solvent temperature at 25°C or 30°C as required. The hot water loop is composed of one heat exchanger, a centrifugal pump, safety features, and the necessary ancillaries such as a pressure gauge, temperature transmitter and manual valves.
“The service water is recirculated in a closed loop with the selected solution tank to heat the solvent from 15°C to the target temperature,” says Ella Taghavi, Technical Sales Engineer at HRS Heat Exchangers. “The process is controlled by temperature transmitters and an autonomous control system and given the importance of the temperature in the process; product temperature is also monitored via a secondary control loop with transmitters located on each solution tank.”
Moreover, the cooling section is designed to maintain the product temperature at the targeted set point. Incoming service water from a buffer tank is cooled using chilled water at 6-10°C from elsewhere in the factory using several passes through the second heat exchanger. “The tank jacket service water is recirculated in a closed loop with the selected solution tank to cool the solvent from 40°C to the target set temperature of 25°C or 30°C,” adds Ella. Again, temperature transmitters control the process via an autonomous control loop.