Failure not an option in pharma

Reliability under harsh conditions is an important feature of flowmeters. PACE explains why.

For obvious reasons, product safety is a crucial factor in the pharmaceutical industry, especially relating to the manufacture of infusion solutions, such as production of pure water, filling systems for infusion bags and exact measurements for CIP media.

Accuracy was a matter of utmost importance to a German-based manufacturer of infusions, clinical nutrition, drugs and medical products. To achieve maximum product safety, it was necessary to use a flow measurement system. But which flowmeter was going to offer them peace of mind, meeting the strictest hygiene requirements? In seeking expert advice, they partnered with Bürkert and their new technology was installed in a field test in the supply line of a filling system for infusion bags with the company.

The crucial factors for flow measurement systems are long-term operation with no failures and, above all, with no errors in measurement – even under harsh conditions. The exact measurement of the flow rate of CIP media is also decisive. In the past, however, it was often necessary to use expensive processes with less than optimal hygienic properties in order to meet the high requirements for measuring accuracy.

That’s where Bürkert’s FLOWave flowmeter changes things.

The “new” in this technology is how the flow rate measurement from the fluidics experts was developed; a technology based on Surface Acoustic Waves (SAW). This technology measures the propagation of surface waves on the measuring tube and in the flowing medium. The effect is comparable to the wave propagation in seismic activities. The flowmeter features a simple design without internal sensor elements in the measuring tube, and in terms of fluid technology, it’s simply a tube. FLOWave does not affect the process or the flowing product in any way and can be regarded as any other tube. With a diameter of up to 50 mm the FLOWave weighs in at about 4kg and can be installed or replaced by a single person.

After trialling the flowmeter, the resident project engineer stated, “FLOWave is not just a flowmeter, but a revolutionary instrument for quality assurance.”

FLOWave is not only a cost- effective alternative to previous measuring systems, it also results in increased productivity by offering optimised cleaning, sterilisation and filling times; continuous monitoring for reliable reproduction; minimal cleaning and less susceptible to contamination; easy validation due to digital monitoring and extended production times through the combination of FLOWave and Robolux.

Currently, FLOWave is able to measure volumetric flow rate and process temperatures. Recently released is the extended functionality of the additional parameters of mass flow measurements and associated density used in a wide range of applications. FLOWave is set to redefine process flow and monitoring control.

In a practical test, the German- based customer was convinced of the unlimited suitability and the advantages of FLOWave. The reliable and reproducible monitoring of CIP and SIP processes made it possible to identify potentials for optimisation within a short period. Not only the efficiency of cleaning and sterilisation, but also the overall system efficiency was boosted as a result of the exact measurement of the flow rate and temperature control as well as the simple design for installation, rapid start-up, easy handling and simple operation thanks to the high-resolution 2.4-inch display.

The FLOWave flowmeter is not only a measuring system, but also a tool for quality assurance and optimisation. Its use even allowed the user to gain additional filling time.

Bürkert also offers a complete system solution for flow measurement. A new filling system for infusion solutions incorporates three FLOWave flowmeters and Robolux valve interfaces. The latter need less space than conventional valve interfaces and they have a smaller internal volume. Another advantage of these multiple valve interfaces is that they have no dead zones. The result is a reduction of flushing times for each valve interface every day. FLOWave is the technology used for a superior flow measurement process, because when people’s lives and health depend on correct agent composition and zero contamination, you want to make sure you’ve got the right equipment you can rely on.