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thyssenkrupp wins an order for a pharma-grade SFE plant for solids extraction

| By Gerald Ondrey

Source: thyssenkrupp

thyssenkrupp’s Uhde High Pressure Technologies GmbH (Hagen, Germany). won an order from a company in the specialty chemicals sector to fabricate and supply a pharma-grade supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) plant. The scope of supply includes the skid-mounted plant, as well as on-site installation and commissioning support. The plant will be used to extract solids for the manufacturing of products that are needed in the health care sector. As solvent, supercritical CO2 is used: A clean, non-toxic process to produce high-quality products which are free of solvent residues. This makes this technology ideal for applications with high demands concerning product purity, for example in the food and pharma industries, even for producing organic certified materials.

“Adapted to individual user requirements, this plant will serve two uses: for production, which primarily involves solids extraction, but also for pilot testing involving also liquids extraction,” says Volkmar Steinhagen, product manager SFE plants. “We are happy to bring our decades of experience in building pharmaceutical-grade plants to meet our customer’s requirements.”

The plant includes extractors for solids extraction, a column for liquids extraction, separators, a buffer tank, heat exchangers, a CO2 pump, a co-solvent pump and a feed pump. Fabrication of key components as well as the preassembly of the plant will take place in Hagen, Germany. The installation and commissioning of the plant will be done at site. By delivering a modularized, skid-mounted solution, setup and installation efforts are minimized. This allows for a quick start of the commissioning after delivery.

While standard supercritical extraction equipment is suitable for food and chemical products, the pharmaceutical industry has even higher requirements concerning materials, surfaces, prevention of dead legs, cleanability, process controls, qualification, documentation and others. Uhde High Pressure Technologies has developed their well-proven technology to fit these needs. Some examples are hygienic high-pressure pipe fittings and valves, specially modified equipment like the clamp closure system for high pressure vessels, and quality-focused fabrication procedures like orbital welding of pipes. The design, fabrication and documentation of the equipment is carried out according to cur- rent Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP), so it can be used for a wide range of processes in the pharmaceutical sector, such as particle processes, extractions and purifications in pressure ranges from 300 to 1,000 bars.