Innovating with purpose for safety and security of outcome

Published: 3-Apr-2024

Beyond the importance of increasing productivity and generating more output and value with the same input, new ideas and technologies from GEA take innovation a step further

Driving positive change within the greater life science sector involves addressing a wide range of factors and, sometimes, taking the path less traveled. Obtaining security of outcome, for instance, may not be an obvious aspect of innovation, but it offers many economic, social, environmental and ethical advantages.

Compliant freeze drying

The recent revision of Annex 1 provides an excellent example. As GEA’s LYOPLUS® multipurpose measuring device both detects leaks and reduces their detection times in freeze-drying equipment, it reduces the risk of valuable product loss and maintains operational efficiency. This is now a requirement for compliance!

Similarly, the company’s ALUS® Automatic Loading and Unloading Systems minimise the risk of contamination by reducing human intervention, which comes with the added benefits of decreasing processing times, improving throughput and, by using cutting-edge monitoring systems, reducing costs. As such, GEA systems are fully compatible with the high standards defined in the updated regulation and also contribute to sustainable production.

Safe powder handling

Another issue that may not initially come to mind is safety. However, protecting operators and product, preventing unwanted material loss to the atmosphere and ensuring that process trains function within tight tolerances are, for GEA, prerequisites of innovation.

Nowhere is this more important than during powder transfers in an oral solid dosage (OSD) form plant. Having developed the original pharmaceutical split butterfly valve, GEA supplies unrivalled BUCK® high containment technology and Hicoflex® disposable containment bags and equipment that improve and enhance the safety, efficiency and performance of these processes.

Innovating with purpose for safety and security of outcome

And, whereas the BUCK® MC Valve continues to be the default choice for the contained transfer of active powders from one vessel to another in OSD production, the recently launched AC Valve takes this performance to the next level for more physically demanding environments.

The AC version has been completely reworked to make it smaller and more sustainable. Reducing both the size and weight of the seal not only makes it easier to produce, but also reduces the amount of raw materials used to make it. This means that there’s less waste when it comes to replacing the wear parts. Cost-compatible with the trusted MC valve and with sustainable sourcing and use in mind, the AC adds high-pressure, high temperature, solvent-resistant performance to almost any campaign and any concept.

To add yet another level of protection, GEA’s BUCK Digital Canary is a continuous real-time atmosphere monitoring system that’s designed to detect product leaks from contained pharmaceutical production lines and, most importantly, protect your operators. The key difference is that, although OSHA requires testing at specific intervals, this technology constantly checks whether your system is still performing at the correct containment levels.

Best of both worlds

Perhaps one of GEA’s most celebrated innovations, the patented Fast Changeover Exchangeable Compression Module (FCO ECM) concept provides improved containment and has a lower product-contact area compared with other models on the market. It’s also WIP/WOL-compatible and facilitates fast changeovers in small footprint, high-output rotary tablet presses with multiple compression modes such as the NexGen Press® range. Plus, as you only need to wash the ECM — and not the entire machine — water use is minimised during washing cycles. In summary, there’s a smaller area to clean, less time and water is required during changeovers and high levels of productivity are maintained.

Taking responsibility

As engineers, GEA takes its responsibility to help preserve a world that’s worth living in very seriously. Machinery, breakthrough technologies and production processes are central to value creation around the world and, without striving to continuously improve them, no effective progress would be made.

At the same time, the drive for sustainability is presenting new horizons and significant economic opportunities for companies; the future belongs to intelligent solutions that save energy, avoid emissions and conserve resources. These innovations, such as those highlighted above, ensure that GEA and its customers can transform tomorrow with real-world solutions.

And, by making it as easy as possible to identify and select our most sustainable technologies, we’re providing the transparency that empowers our industry partners to make smart decisions — and real progress — towards a better future. Whatever route you take to reach your productivity goals, innovations from GEA put you in the driving seat.

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