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Gas Sensors Ensuring Operational Safety With Gas Sensors

| Author / Editor: Chetan Khot / Dominik Stephan

Critical reaction and extraction stage in an API production process can be ensured safe with in-line gas phase oxygen sensor technology, which eliminates costly and maintenance intensive systems.

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Modern gas sensor technology supports direct in-line O2 measurement, where no sampling or conditioning is required, thus it is faster and convenient.
Modern gas sensor technology supports direct in-line O2 measurement, where no sampling or conditioning is required, thus it is faster and convenient.
(Picture: Pharmaceutical industry by Nikolaj Kondratenko/Mettler Toledo Process Analytics)

Headquartered in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh, India), Divis Laboratories, with its two API manufacturing units – respectively near Hyderabad and Vizag, focuses on developing new processes for the production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and intermediates for generics, custom synthesis of APIs and advance intermediates for the giants of the pharmaceutical industry.

Gas Sensors: Some Background on the Applications

There are two processes in particular that had to be carefully monitored and controlled for safety reasons. The first is a batch reaction process in a glass-lined reactor using highly flammable or volatile organic solvents with strong chemically corrosive properties. The second process, solvent recovery by centrifugation, involves flammable vapours that at an oxygen presence of more than eight per cent could lead to a dangerous explosion.

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Therefore, in order to minimise oxygen intrusion, inert nitrogen gas is purged into the reactor and centrifuge. Vapours are collected at the vents at slight vacuum. To ensure safety, effective and reliable monitoring of the oxygen percentage concentration is highly essential in order to be able to control the amount of oxygen that could intrude into the reactor or centrifuge.

Extractive to the Actual Problem

Originally, Divis Lab had been using an O2 measuring system. According to Gopal Krishna, Application Engineer, and S. Rama Krishna, General Manager of Production at Divis, it was found that the system performance was affected by the moisture content and traces of organic solvents on the sensing element. They required a more reliable system.

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