21.03.2007 | Editor: Doris Neukirchen
The editorial teams of PROCESS and its sister journal Schüttgut were called upon to select the most interesting new products from more than 50 applications. At Powtech/Technopharm 2007 in Nuremberg they presented the Innovation Awards for the first time.
The awards were presented in four categories, namely: “Basic Processes“, “Apparatus Engineering and Process Components”, “Material Analysis and Characterization”, and “Pharmaceutical Technology”. Crucial for the decision was the degree of innovation as well as the economic efficiency for the user. Furthermore, the product must have been launched within the last twelve months and had to be on display on the Powtech/Technopharm. Unfortunately, none of the applicants in the category of “Basic Processes” fulfilled these requirements, so the prize was not awarded. In “Apparatus Engineering and Process Components” and “Pharmaceutical Technology”, on the other hand, the decisions were so close that the jury ended up issuing a number of additional Special Awards in these categories.
The Innovation Award for “Apparatus Engineering and Process Components” went to the renowned specialists of Coperion Waeschle for their new WYK diverter valve featuring CIP. This diverter allows complete cleaning without dismantling thanks to a special design in which the cross-section of the pipeline bore does not change. During the fully automated CIP process the conical diverter element is tracked by a special pneumatic cylinder, causing the gap to widen and the cleaning fluid to reach every surface. A special flushing hole produces a strong current which purges the cleaning fluid completely. The new valve is built according to EHEDG guidelines and features surface-flush seals.
A Special Award in this category was presented to Schenck Process for its new solids feeder PureFeed DP. This innovative product permits continuous gravimetric feeding of very small amounts of powders in the range of 20 to 200 g per hour. A speed-controlled ceramic feed disk rotating at the bottom of a cylindrical container acts as the discharge device. The feed disk also serves as a seal against flooding of the infeed material and prevents pre-compaction of the infed material. Typical applications of the PureFeed are in the pharmaceutical, food and life science industries for the feeding of mills, mixers, extruders and reactors, as well as in laboratories and test plants.
The Innovation Award for “Material Analysis and Charaterization” went to Malvern Intruments for its SyNIRgi chemical imaging system, the latest development in the field of chemical imaging for routine use in the pharmaceutical, chemical or food industry. Its use on solid dosage forms, for example, allows the determination of content uniformity, blending efficiency, polymorph distribution, moisture content, contaminant location, and coating and layer thickness. The system provides robust, reliable and automated data collection capabilities, coupled tightly with quantitative, statistical, objective, reproducible and automated data processing tools.
Hosokawa Alpine’s Leviplex fine grinding mill was deemed the most innovative product in the field of “Pharmaceutical Technology”. The grinding specialist has developed a new system in which the grinding elements have magnetic bearings. This mill is suited especially for the sterile preparation of precious, highly ultrapure powders. The complete separation of product and drive system rules out product contamination. In addition, the magnetic bearing needs no lubricants or wear parts such as ball bearings and shaft seals. The system runs smoothly at rotation speeds up to 28,000 rpm (equal to a circumferential speed of 150 m/s). Process parameters such as rpm, temperature and motor torque are controlled continuously. Cleaning is very easy: after the cover is detached, the grinding element can be dismounted in one piece, including the stainless steel shaft. All parts which come into contact with the product are then easy to reach and clean.
A Special Award was also issued in the “Pharmaceutical Technology” category, namely to GE Sensing for its portable at-line measuring system Kaye Validator ITMS. The latter allows fast and exact determination of pharmaceutical compounds in very low concentration ranges. Applying proprietary ion trap mobility spectrometry, the Kaye Validator ITMS analyzes swab samples for the presence of small molecule API residues and cleaning agents in mere seconds. Combining ITMS technology with a dedicated membranes filter system to retain impurities allows for a continuous and precise measurement. Samples are picked from a surface with a special tape and inserted into the Kaye Validator. The results are shown within seconds and, thanks to the integrated computer, are stored completely.
The presentation of the Innovation Awards provided further proof of the strong development potential of this industry sector. Not only the number of applicants, but also the quality of the products presented created plenty of excitement at this first event and is already generating curiosity looking toward the Innovation Awards 2008.
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