FUNDAMIX® Amplitude Monitoring

 

The FUNDAMIX® is a well established mixing technology for products which require mixing at low shear forces, which is typically the case in the biotech environment. While cGMP practices intend to control production processes to guarantee quality of products, it means that the mixing quality of an agitated vessel needs to be monitored to assure compliance.

Vibratory action on a mixing plate produces a vertical flow of the fluid. The displacement volume is basically a function of frequency x amplitude. When the drive unit is connected straight to the power supply the oscillating frequency is equal to twice the grid frequency, i.e. either 2x50Hz = 100Hz or 2x60Hz = 120Hz. In case a frequency converter is applied its frequency can be monitored on the device and is a fixed value.

For the amplitude, however, it is a different issue. It depends on many other influencing factors, such as weight of mixing device, fluid density and viscosity or size and shape of mixing plate. This leaves no other option but measure the actual physical displacement of the plate.

Visual measurement 

Traditionally, amplitude is visually measured with the help of a self-adhesive strip placed on the shaft of the mixer which oscillates along with the mixing plate. On the strip there are two lines forming an arrow. When the device oscillates the arrow appears as two arrows forming an intersection point at which the actual amplitude can be gauged. Although it is a quick and dirty means to measure amplitude it is not easy to get the reading right, as it leaves room for interpretation with each person seeing something else.

Electronic measurement (VM-021)

Later an electronic instrument was developed which consists of a piezo sensor fixed on the shaft of the mixer. The acceleration measured by the piezo is a linear function with respect to amplitude and with some conversion it gives an analog signal which can be used to monitor amplitude and control the drive unit. As the instrument interprets the amplitude based on acceleration data it needs to be calibrated for each FUNDAMIX® separately. Additionally, the sensor is mounted on the shaft and it cannot be easily transferred from one unit to the other. It is usually applied as a fixed installation.

Hand-held laser measurement

As an alternative to the above instruments we have developed an optical laser sensor. It measures the distance to an oscillating plate fixed on the shaft of the mixer every 1.5 ms. These values are algorithmically converted into an analog reading shown on an integrated display. As we are measuring an absolute distance there is no requirement for additional calibration. This allows the instrument to be applied to all FUNDAMIX® agitators equally, irrespective to other influencing factors such as frequency. As the sensor is not fixed to the vibratory part of the equipment it can be applied as a hand-held battery-operated device to be easily carried around. This marks a new generation of amplitude monitoring instruments and we are proud to offer this to our clients.

 

DrM’s Recently Launched Webshop

In digital networking along the value chains and the entire life cycle of market / product services, DrM, Dr. Mueller AG has great economic potential. An individual combination of technologies, methods, data, models, services and processes contributes to on-going process optimisations.

In addition to product development, DrM also invests significantly in the extension of suitable interfaces to its customers and representatives.

The continuing development of the DrM online shop offers our customer a platform where all of his procured filters are listed, showing specifically selected spare parts for these plants. Through its use, it is possible to transmit offers and orders electronically in real time. The resulting increased customer satisfaction combined with better cost effectiveness, performance efficiency and productivity is thus achieved.

The clear and easy-to-understand structure allows error-free data processing resulting in satisfactory services to the benefits of our customers and representatives.

 

Key Benefits:

  • All products at a glance
  • Digital transformation
  • Documentation
  • Easy to use
  • Flexibility / individuality
  • Low error rate
  • Information transparency
  • Technical Assistance
  • Networking
  • Time savings (no waiting times)

FUNDAMIX® S

The FUNDAMIX® S is a new generation vibratory mixer with a patented technology which gets rid of the conventional spring system replacing those with carbon fibre material. The main advantage of such a redesign is its amazingly quiet operation. So, for pharmaceutical or biotech labs where noise is an issue, such type of equipment is of essence. Momentarily the equipment comes in one size which can cover mixing volumes up to approx. 500 litres.

The plate oscillates at about 50 Hz. At an amplitude of 5 mm this gives the unit a maximum “tip speed” of 390 mm/sec which is significantly lower than the 1250 mm/sec of a typical rotating agitator with 200 mm impeller blades at 120 rpm. The unit can operate with different plate diameters. The 145 mm plate is typically used for tanks with 400 – 500 mm diameter and 200 litres liquid volume while the 210 mm plate can operate in 500 – 700 mm tanks with up to 500 litres liquid volume.

The drive unit comes in a polished stainless steel housing. The internal parts are easily accessible through the bolted openings.

The FUNDAMIX® S is the first incarnation of a new generation of FUNDAMIX® vibratory mixers. It plays a crucial factor in the Biotech industry where shear forces are important considerations in agitator designs. The quiet operation is ideal in a laboratory and pilot plant setting where constant operator presence is required.

Watch the difference between our FUNDAMIX® and our FUNDAMIX® S (sound is required):

DrM Single-Use Pinch Valve

Pinch valves are often used in single-use applications for on/off flow control. As the valve does not get in contact with the process media it does not require replacement of any parts. Only the flexible tubing is being changed as a single use item. For non-pressure designs simple solenoid-driven pinch valves can be used, but when pressure needs to be applied, such as in filtration equipment the significantly tougher tubings together with the internal pressure pose a significant burden to the pinch valve and standard solenoids normally cannot do the job.

A newly developed design allows for on/off control of pressurized single-use tubings in a compact package. The electrically driven actuator is a microprocessor-controlled geared motor which opens and closes when an ON or OFF signal is received. The tubing firmly sits in a well-defined bed which guarantees uninterrupted operation for many cycles. The valve can easily be installed within a cabinet with only the actuated part being visible.

The combination of this component with our single use filtration system is a perfect fit.

 

FUNDABAC® SU – Multi-Batch Filtration System For The Flavor & Fragrance Industry

Meeting the Product Processing Goals of Flavor & Fragrance Manufacturers:

Flavor and fragrance manufacturers demand a high level of product quality and processing safety. Flavors and fragrances must be filtered to achieve desired standards of clarity, color and stability. Filtration needs range from clarification to final polishing.

The FUNDABAC® SU filter provides producers of flavors and fragrances with process flexibility and allows them to meet stringent product quality and processing safety requirements. The FUNDABAC® SU filter is not only capable of capturing solid particulate matter, including microbial contaminants, in flavor and fragrance products, but can also reduce haze, absorb essential oil, as well as remove insoluble waxes/ lipids, unwanted water and color.

Operational Principle:

DrM’s new single-use filter type, FUNDABAC® SU, consists of large surface area filter elements, packed into a fully contained plastic enclosure. The increased surface area boosts the filtration efficiency and results in a higher throughput. The filter bag is installed in a pressure vessel during filtration.

This unique system design allows for single batch or multi-batch product processing.
For multi-batch operation the solids can be flushed back from the filter elements and accumulated on the bottom of the bag. When desired, materials such as cellulose fibers, activated carbon, diatomaceous earth, bleaching earth or magnesium silicate adsorbent media can be injected into the plastic bag enclosure with the goal of coating the filter elements in order to reduce, adsorb or remove the non-particulate undesirables previously mentioned.

 

Key Advantages:

  • High product yield relative to filter media surface area
  • No cross-contamination
  • Virtually no liquid heel volume
  • Fully enclosed environment
  • No cleaning-in-place required
  • No operator contact with liquids or solids, therefore safe operation
  • Quick and easy disposable bag installation and replacement, minimal downtime
  • Lab and pilot size models for trials and scalability
  • Small footprint as a result of its compact design

DrM at Achema 2018

Once again the chemical processing World is in the midst of its preparation for the biggest show in its field: Achema 2018 in Frankfurt. Also at DrM activities are being intensified to get ready for the event in June.

However, this year the stakes are especially high: Some time back we started with a number of development projects which are coming to a closing end and we will use the show to introduce those to the broader industry. We are proud to have no less than 5 new patents and patent applications which we will show off in form of working products, models or animations. As a teaser to this important event we want to let you have a sneak peek into our presentations. But please take the opportunity to come and see us at our booth and get a life demonstration of these innovations. Because there’s nothing better than the real thing!

FUNDABAC® Overfill Protection Device 

Damage of filter internals due to overloading with solids can be a major headache for operators who run filtration systems at certain conditions.  Various designs, devices and instruments to prevent such incidences have been developed in the past but often not with satisfactory results. We now have chosen an entirely different route which we will present to you. The patented device can be installed both in new and existing filter systems and will help protect your equipment. 

FUNDAMIX® S

The legendary vibratory mixer which has been on the market for the last few decades has its well established clientele in the pharma and biotech industry. It is a proven technology with thousands of units in operation. But now we are taking a big leap to an entirely new vibratory design. And it will be so silent you would not believe it is in operation.

 

FUNDABAC® SU Single Use Filter Technology

The biotech industry is jumping more and more onto Single Use technology. It promises a number of advantages to the traditional stainless steel equipment. But existing single use filtration technology seems to rely on old principles. At DrM we were hard at work to come up with an entirely new device which will significantly reduce operating cost. We have done it the typical DrM fashion and developed an entirely new process around a novel single use filter design to come up with a compact and cost efficient equipment. And it is not only for biotech. Also chemical companies have shown interest for cases where operators need to be protected from hazardous substances.

 

FUNDAMIX® SU - Full AssemblyFUNDAMIX® SU Single Use Mixing Technology

Vibratory devices are very well suited for single use equipment as rotating parts often create sealing issues. Lacklustre mixing devices for single use equipment on the market hardly have any punch. The FUNDAMIX® with its extremely effective high frequency mixing plate can create amazing mixing results at low shear forces. The complete system is patented and will be presented in conjunction with the FUNDABAC® SU.

 

Single Use Valve

This innovative valve was developed due to the need to find a single use ON/OFF valve which can operate at higher pressures required for filtration. Most of the items on the market can only pinch tubes at atmospheric pressure or require an expensive replacement head for every change. This single use pinch valve can securely operate at 4 bar pressure and does not require any replacement parts apart from the single use tubing.

 

So, if you make it to the Achema this year, take the opportunity to visit us at our booth: Hall 5.0 / Stand B16. We will have enough people present not to keep you waiting.

Introducing Patented FUNDABAC® Overfill Protection Device (OPD)

Filtration involves separation of two phases while one phase passes through a media and the other is retained. The retained phase accumulates in the filter and if not removed at certain intervals, it can lead to all sorts of complications, such as difficulties during removal, blocking or even disastrous damage of the filtering device. There were a number of attempts to control or monitor the loading of filters but results have been mediocre. This has to do with the fact that it is difficult to measure phase differences such as solid/liquid-phases inside the filtering device.

 

 

Solution:

DrM now developed and patented a new device which does not attempt to monitor the phase but rather the forces acting on the filtering device. When overfilling occurs the filtering elements are displaced and such displacement is detected and a signal indicates that filtration shall be terminated.

The design incorporates distance sensors which are mounted above certain sections of the filtering device. Displacements of a few mm are enough to activate a signal.

     

 

 

Single-Use Filtration and Mixing Innovations

After intense developments we are proud to announce the launch of our new Single-Use (SU) filtration and mixing solutions.

Our aim was the development of a disposable filter and a mixing solution for industries dealing with sterility and hazardous products. The simplicity of an SU equipment is well appreciated in the industry, but due to a number of shortcomings there are still many organisations who have major concerns with this technology. We at DrM, with our roots in the processing industry put all of our knowledge and expertise together to bring a fresh look into this by focussing on the process aspects and as a result developed something uniquely new:

FUNDABAC® SU Filter

Single-Use Filter FUNDABAC® SU

Single-Use Filter FUNDABAC® SU

The value proposition of our FUNDABAC® Single-Use filter is its ability to reach high throughputs and increased solids capacity while maintaining high filtrate quality. This is achieved with its multi-cycle operation: Instead of running the filtration in one single cycle until the SU bag needs to be disposed, the filtered solids can be discharged from the filtering elements. They settle in the bottom where they accumulate while the regenerated filter elements can filter a second, third or any number of multiple cycles until the complete bag is filled with solids.

A high filtration flux is maintained by small cake thicknesses (traditional designs rely on thick cakes to increase solids holding capacity but sacrifice heavily of flux). With the ability to add filter aid, the flows can be increased further, however, this is not a requirement and is usually decided during testing. After the batch is processed the heel volume of the bag is simply squeezed and compacted to a minimum. This is achieved by the unique design of the filter equipment which allows air pressurisation of the cavity between the SU bag and its housing.

With this patented approach we brought the concept of Single-Use filtration to a whole new level. It challenges once-through designs and sets new standards in this emerging industry.

While many users may first think of the biotech industry as the main target for such an equipment, its applications may well go beyond this traditional market. Besides typical downstream processes we had a number of very specific inquiries for toxic batches where containment of the product is of highest importance.

FUNDAMIX® SU Vibratory Mixer

Single-Use Mixer, FUNDAMIX® SU

Single-Use Mixer, FUNDAMIX® SU

The FUNDAMIX® Vibromixer has originally found its role in the biotech industry as its non-rotating agitation allows for a simple and secure sealing system in sterile applications. For the last 50 years it has provided high mixing efficiencies at low shear forces and very little energy input. It is a very mature product which now has been rejuvenated by redesigning the mixing plate for Single-Use operation.

The required changes were minimal as the FUNDAMIX® is ideally suited for Single-Use applications. However, we came up with some great designs to make the assembly of the bag in the housing as easy as possible. The drive unit itself did not require any changes but our patent includes a special docking mechanism to connect the mixing shaft to the Single-Use mixing plate.

Compared to existing Single-Use agitators the mixing intensity is significantly improved while at the same time keeping tip speeds well below what traditional agitators produce. As the amplitude is just a few Millimetre, the mixing plate can be mounted only a few Centimetre above the bottom of the Single-Use bag. This reduces liquid heel considerably and hence increases yield.

With the launch of these new products we believe to have two equipment which enrich the Single-Use industry and provide new opportunities for operators to look at their process design in a different light. The know-how of our process and development engineers can further help you enhance process design when it comes to integration of the equipment, so feel free to contact us.

Behind the development of these products was a whole team of engineers, who put a lot of effort into the design and as a responsible for Single-Use Technologies at DrM, I would like to express my gratitude:
Andy Fleischmann – Production manager and responsible for the development of the FUNDABAC® SU
Kevin Wetter – R&D Manager and responsible for the development of FUNDAMIX® SU

With kind regards,

Benjamin Dietiker
Benjamin Dietiker
Responsible SU Tech
DrM, Dr. Mueller AG

Flexible woven metal filter media with 3D-structure

Woven Filter Media

For liquid filtration at high temperatures the material of choice is often sintered metal powder (PM) type filter. Tubular elements are available in a range of alloys and with pore sizes below 1 micron. The operational life of the media can easily extend over years, and its low maintenance is a strong argument for adoption. At least, in theory…

In practice it is often another story. While there are cases where PM works as promised, there are instances where the results disappoint. To understand the reasons for this, we need to take a closer look at the design of such a sintered PM element:

The element wall is built of narrow sized stainless steel powder, which is sintered at high temperatures to form a rigid, but porous structure. Since the pore size is determined by the size of the sintered particles, the finer the particles, the smaller the resulting pore size.

In solid/liquid separation, typically a fraction of those particles finer than the pore size of the filtering media pass through, the largest particles are held back in the filter cake on top of the media and some get stuck within the PM structure. It is this last solids fraction, which normally cause trouble, because the rigid porous layer prevents any movement and back-flushing does not always remove those particles. Over time trapped solids accumulate and begin clogging the porous metal. Ultimately, the PM elements need to be either chemically treated to dissolve the entrapped solids, heated to a high temperature to burn off the impurities, or they have to be replaced altogether.

As an alternative to traditional sintered PM elements, and specifically to address operational deficiencies, DrM has recently developed a new type of filter media built on a 3D-woven structure made of stainless steel microfiber. This media has a significantly higher open area for flow than PM, but is still capable of retaining particles down to the 1 micron range. Another key feature is that the woven structure flexes outward during back-flushing. This expansion movement releases trapped particles, thus preventing solids build up and eventual clogging. In addition, the media is rated for temperatures well above 300ºC and both slurry and dry cake discharge is possible.

In short, the woven stainless steel microfiber elements significantly extend the application range of our filtration products without sacrificing any of the process options the well-established FUNDABAC filter provides.

Selecting this media makes sense for applications with high temperatures (above 200ºC) and where the feed solids have a tendency to clog. Target markets are in chemical syntheses where catalysts need to be removed at high temperatures, and in refineries for the removal of FCC catalyst fines from heavy cycle gas oil.

 

DrM FUNDABAC® CLAMP-LESS CANDLE

Ever since the introduction of the FUNDABAC® Filter various kinds of clamps have been applied to securely fix the filter flexible media to the FUNDABAC® filter element. The clamps come in various forms, such as plastic wedge rings, one way clamps in stainless steel and re-usable screw clamps in stainless steel, titanium and zirconium. Clearly, as with the materials of construction for the rest of the filtration system, the choice of clamping materials is dependent upon the properties of the materials being handled in the filter and the process conditions.

FUNDABAC® Clamp-Less Candle

For applications like chlor-alkali, viscose and other processes where we employ our polypropylene (PP), polyvinylidenfluoride (PVDF) or polyphenylenesulfide (PPS) filter internals we have previously used polymeric PP, PVDF or PPS wedge rings or titanium or zirconium wire clamps. DrM are proud to announce the launch of a new design of clamp-less candles, which will be offered in PP, PVDF and PPS.
With the introduction of the clamp-less design for our plastic filter elements, separate clamps become obsolete. Here, the filter media is fixed with a special screw mechanism that is part of the filter element.

This offers a number of advantages over the previous design:

• Smooth design: No cake deposit on the clamp
• Metal free
• No difference in thermal expansion
• No corrosion attack
• Suitable for metallic and plastic registers
• Suitable for a wide range of filter media
• Filter elements can be supplied with the filter media already assembled

The clamp-less candle is now being offered as a standard part from DrM Filter Technology Pvt. Ltd., but the previous design with separate filter media clamps is also still available upon request.

Ganesh Aghav, DrM