GEA equips integrated pilot plant at Sheffield Uni

Published: 29-May-2018

Continuous manufacturing technology from GEA takes center stage at the University of Sheffield’s new chemical engineering teaching plant

GEA representatives were delighted to attend the official opening of the University of Sheffield’s Diamond Pilot Plant (DiPP) in April, which features a world-leading continuous powder processing plant - the first of its kind in any UK University.

Hailed as groundbreaking by industry leaders, this pioneering new facility will manufacture pharmaceutical tablets from blends of model active ingredients and excipients and will spearhead industry driven research and learning for engineering students across the globe.

Students will use, test and explore integrated processes with state-of-the-art simulations and world-class control systems in a safe, production-orientated environment.

At the heart of the university’s plant is GEA’s ConsiGma CTL 25, a multipurpose platform that has been designed to transfer powder into tablets in development, pilot, clinical and production volumes in a single compact unit.

The system can perform dosing and mixing of raw materials, wet granulation, drying, tableting and quality control, all in one line.

Professor Agba Salman, Project Lead, said: “Product development using continuous powder processing platforms is becoming the first choice in the pharmaceutical industry. The integrated powder processing line here at Sheffield will help to address knowledge gaps using experimental and modelling techniques and support industry’s drive to adopt continuous solid oral dosage manufacturing technologies.”

“We are delighted to be playing a fundamental role in this project,” said Steve Holt, Head of Chemical/Pharma Sales at GEA UK.

“With 14 years of inspiration, GEA has firmly established its longevity in the continuous manufacturing market. And having completed more than 70 projects involving a variety of filed and authorized products, including the first ever FDA-approved breakthrough therapy developed and manufactured using the ConsiGma platform, no other company has as much experience or has done more to pioneer continuous manufacturing for the pharmaceutical industry.”

“Furthermore, it is testament to GEA being at the cutting-edge of equipment design to be selected by Sheffield during a competitive tender process,” he said, “this is another superb example of how, both in industry and academia, we’re making science work”.

Phil Gabb, GEA’s Head of Solid Dosage Sales Support, added: “I was really impressed by both the superb organization and hospitality of the event, and the professional quality of the facility itself. The University of Sheffield is clearly a well-organized, forward-thinking institution.”

He continued: “Continuous manufacturing will form an increasing part of solid dosage production in the future, and the industry needs well-trained graduates who understand the processes involved. GEA recognizes the need to collaborate with academics, as well as other suppliers to the industry, to ensure that the full potential of this exciting technology is achieved. We are delighted to be involved with such a prestigious investment that will make a real contribution to education and industry for years to come.”

DiPP has cutting-edge equipment, software and products supplied by manufacturing companies including NiTech, Solaris Biotech and GEA.

In addition to giving students real-world experience, the manufacturers benefit from having around 500 students per year exposed to their products and engineering philosophies. DiPP can also be used for training industry employees in modern engineering processes and tools.

Editor of Manufacturing Chemist, Dr Kevin Robinson was on site for the official opening.

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