Single-use Technology Single-use Sensors and Sustainability — That’s Not a Contradiction!
It’s hard to imagine biotechnological production without the reactor out of the bag — but is the single-use megatrend still in vogue elsewhere in these sustainability-minded times? It certainly is, says Marcus Bayer, Market Segment Manager Single-Use at Hamilton.
Mr Bayer, how do users benefit from single-use sensors in biotech processes?
Marcus Bayer: Compared to traditional sensors, the risk of contamination with single-use sensors is drastically reduced, which is crucial to set a basis for a reproducible and safe process design. Traditional sensors also include many steps within and before their measurement process. This means that reduced cleaning and planning effort, combined with fast validation and verification, minimizes preliminary work considerably. With Hamilton’s single-use sensors, the single-use containers are closed systems and ready-to-use.
What about sustainability? Isn’t it inefficient to employ single-use products?
When we saw the use case for single-use sensors, it was essential to minimize the waste. Hence, the cost-intensive electronic components of sensors can be reused multiple times, whereas the disposable element in contact with the medium is cost-efficient. In order to meet the hygienic demands of the FDA and EMA regulations, single-use applications are needed. However, it was also important to us to look at single-use processes from an environmental point of view. As opposed to what many may believe, it is not contradictory to have single-use applications while still being environmentally compatible. Reusable components such as stainless steel tanks have to be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized after each process, which requires a lot of cleaning chemicals, water, and energy. Single-use bags and bioreactors can be thermally recycled to produce power in waste incineration units.
How did Hamilton’s single-use journey start? And which parameters can be measured?
Bayer: Roughly five years ago, we introduced the One Ferm pH sensor, a glass sensor for pH measurement that retains the high accuracy performance of a glass electrode after gamma irradiation and dry storage. It was our first single-use sensor on the market and became a great success. After that, we introduced the Visi Ferm DO SU sensor for precise measurement of dissolved oxygen in the medium, available with the ODO Cap S0 for bag applications and the ODO Cap S2, which is particularly suited to bench-top applications. From that point on, we received additional demands to broaden our single-use sensor portfolio in different directions and expand the Visi Ferm product range. Within the last couple of years, we also included the Conducell-P SU sensor that enables precise conductivity measurement in single-use bags and the Incyte-P SU sensor. The Incyte-P SU enables real-time, in-situ measurement of viable cells, making it possible to detect events and respond in real time without increased offline sampling. In addition, a new DO cap, ODO Cap S3, now complements the product portfolio expansion. With the new DO cap, we have a solution that is in great demand for the single-use market. Thanks to a silicone sleeve encasing the cap, it enables effortless and leakage-free integration of existing DO sensors into commonly used 1-inch barb ports.
Is it challenging to integrate the sensor’s signal into existing applications?
Bayer: The One Ferm pH sensors and the Visi Ferm sensors are available with a traditional electrochemical signal. This signal allows the integration of pH and DO into existing process control systems (PCS) equipped with standard transmitters. In addition, with the micro transmitter of the Arc modules or the Visi Ferm, the sensors have a 4–20 mA interface and can therefore be integrated directly into existing infrastructure. This interface enables pH, DO, VCD, or conductivity values to be displayed and recorded in the existing process control system. The sensors can act as standalone systems with the Arc Air software. They also offer a wide range of diagnostic functions beneath the measurement signal, recorded automatically and in compliance with GMP. All relevant data and critical parameters can be collected and documented quickly and accurately. The Arc electronics are reusable and therefore only need to be purchased once.
Hamilton at Achema: Hall 11.1, Booth F43