Using a vacuum conveying system for formulations is a challenge, with most users in India still preferring to go for a conventional gravity bin feed system. However, such an arrangement has its limitations, in that a separate clean room has to be built and maintained for the storage. Further, this solution is inflexible, since the storage bin cannot be moved to a different area without incurring major restructuring costs.
Ranbaxy, India's largest pharmaceutical company, with manufacturing in 7 locations, took a radical step in GAMP (Good Automated Manufacturing Practices), when deciding to install a pneumatic powder transfer system to feed the hopper of Continuous Motion Rotary (CMR) with dry syrup or oral suspension. The product was a mix of low density active ingredient and excipients with higher bulk densities. The system had to ensure that there was no separation during conveying.
Further, in line with Ranbaxy's world scale capacities, the conveying system would have to reach a throughput of 1000 kgs per hour.
Against this backdrop, AZO designed a suitable solution for transfer of the product from an IBC, located in the same area, to the CMR. Many global pharma majors (GSK, Novartis, Sandoz, Merck, etc.), have already installed and are successfully operating AZO systems in the formulations area. Today, almost all major pharma companies in Europe and the US have completely changed over to AZO. Ranbaxy was the first Indian company to opt for such a solution. It was the vision of Mr. Bindra, Mr. Parekh and his team at Ranbaxy to see the emerging trend and order a similar system.
The system was delivered and installed in October 2005. "In view of the poor product flow characteristic, we were concerned that ingredient separation would take place during transfer. However, with special and generous filters, AZO accomplished constant particle velocity during conveying. We were amazed with the result," says Mr. Parekh and Mr. Siddiqi.
Mr. Tiwari and Mr. Chandna add, "AZO proposed a system based on preliminary inputs, and we finalized the order. Powder samples were sent later. It was found that the product had very poor flow characteristics, and was prone to bridging. AZO had to make modifications to the receiver design and added a pneumatic rapper for clean discharge into the CMR. The corresponding costs were absorbed by the supplier."
"Due to the limited space above the hopper of the CMR, AZO designed a unique system that would operate continuously. A special MZ rotary valve was combined with the 'S' type receiver so that the system fits into limited space and operates as a continuous one. The rotary valve retains vacuum in the receiver, even while dosing is taking place. This allows transfer to continue," observes Mr. Chandna.
"Also, the configuration ensures that the product is flowing through the receiver continuously, to prevent any lump formations." A design that was conceived by Mr. Weidmann.
"The MZ rotary valve has a special feature for easy cleaning. It can be extracted on rails for accessibility. AZO calls it a dairy design," says Mr. Chaudhary.
Mr. Chaudhary (who has now joined Jubiliant) was also pleased to see that the pump supplied was oil-free, which conforms to cGMP.
Mr. Florian Mark, senior supervisor from AZO, was specially sent to Ranbaxy, Dewas, to explain the concept of dense phase conveying. A small theoretical session was conducted for the benefit of the senior staff at Ranbaxy. Their team is convinced that AZO is a reliable and world class partner.
Ranbaxy already has AZO systems in Mohali and Ireland. This is the third system to be installed by them.
AZO Reciever type PS
AZO rotary valve type MZ
AZO Vaccum pump
Mr. Archana, Mr. Sunil,
Mr. Rajiv, Mr. Nirav,
Mr. Patrick, Mr. Umesh