Cyclone technology provides an effective and very efficient solution for the separation and collection of powders in dust extraction applications.
The use of cyclone separators in pharmaceutical processing environments had historically been virtually non-existent, although in fact this well-established principle offers any number of major benefits to powder containment.
For many common pharmaceutical powder processing applications, the main advantages of a filter-less powder transfer is that there are no moving parts, and no loss in performance as a result of pressure drops caused by blocking filters contaminated with product.
Hanningfield’s first venture into powder recovery was several years ago while working on a project for a major pharmaceutical client, who needed to ensure that waste material from a high speed capsule filling machine could be arrested and recovered within the process room. The early designs of this system employed the use of a hybrid unit based on established vacuum conveying techniques with which Hanningfield had gained much experience while manufacturing its own Uni-Vac vacuum conveying system.
Although the hybrid design provided a solution to the problem of powder containment, it quickly became apparent that the system would benefit from using filter-less air/solids cyclone technology. Hanningfield invested in an all new design and development project incorporating as many GMP desirable options as possible. The design was based around established cyclone principles for air and solids separation, with much emphasis on an easy-clean hygienic construction plus the option of a full safe-change facility for the powder collection receptacle. An additional benefit of the filter-less design meant that filter cleaning by compressed air would no longer be necessary, further simplifying the system and improving the integrity of the design.
The benefits of the Uni-Dust Powder Recovery System are of great significance to any powder processing application requiring the highest levels of containment and efficiency. The fact that waste material is retained within the confines of the process room ensures that centralised dust collectors are able to operate in a clean condition as long as possible thus saving money by reducing the number of filter changes. The further benefit of batch loss reconciliation also provides evidence of powder loss control during government MHRA and FDA inspections.
The compact design of the Uni-Dust filter-less cyclone allows the unit to be easily installed within existing process facilities such as tablet compression suites and high speed capsule filling suites. The Uni-Dust cyclone can be used with existing ‘in-house’ dust extraction systems or supplied with a dedicated vacuum unit supplied and installed by Hanningfield’s own technicians. The supply of an optional police HEPA filter also ensures that any small amounts of carry-over not trapped by the cyclone are arrested before reaching the vacuum source. This specially designed all stainless steel construction HEPA unit, can be installed in the process room wall making a neat unobtrusive installation with easy access within the controlled environment of the process room. Numerous systems are now in full operation and one recent installation at one of the UK’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturers has provided an essential part of the closed system for containment and safe recovery of excess material.
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