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Flow Measurement Hygienic, Practical And Efficient

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Flow Measurement Hygienic, Practical And Efficient
Flow Measurement Hygienic, Practical And Efficient

Video: Flow Measurement Hygienic, Practical And Efficient

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Designing components of fluid technology in a practical, user-friendly and functional way - that is the motto of the Bürkert Fluid Control Systems from Ingelfingen. For example, the company developed the Flowave measuring device for flow measurement, which is based on surface acoustic wave technology (SAW). To check its properties and functionality, Bürkert carried out a comprehensive field test. A leading supplier in the market for enteral and parenteral nutrition, infusions, pharmaceuticals and medical devices was won as a partner. The company operates u. a. a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for infusion solutions and clinical nutrition products. Product safety comes first.As part of the expansion of the production site, the Bürkert measuring device was able to demonstrate its superior properties compared to previous flow measurement methods.

Extreme practical conditions

A Flowave Type 8098 with a nominal diameter of 25 mm was installed in the supply line of a filling system for infusion bags parallel to a commercially available single-tube measuring system based on the Coriolis principle, which serves as a reference system. The inlet and outlet section has a nominal diameter of 32 mm. The same medium flows through both measuring systems at any time, from which a direct comparison can be drawn. Water for Injection (WFI) is conveyed through the measuring lines at various temperatures, salt and sugar solutions as well as CIP and SIP media, including steam. In operation, the flow measurement system must be able to work in the long term without failures and measurement deviations in every application.

Flow meter

Network fluidics and electronics intelligently

Since the sterilization of infusion solutions often requires steam sterilization, the practical conditions were tough. "The thermal load and frequent temperature changes allow us to make a reliable statement about the reliability and long-term stability of our system," says Alexander Equit von Bürkert. The experience in a clean room application in the pharmaceutical and hygiene environment confirmed the unlimited suitability and the advantages of the Flowave. In the experiments, the filling of individual infusion bags could be evaluated in full time resolution. In the final stage, Bürkert is supplying a complete system solution for the new filling system, consisting of three Flowave flowmeters and Robolux valve nodes. They require less installation space than conventional valve nodes, have a smaller interior volume and no dead spaces.In combination with other optimization measures, they lead to a significant reduction in flushing time per valve node and day.

Monitor CIP and SIP processes

The practical benefits of the fluidically optimized components were shown in practice by the user: The CIP and SIP processes can be monitored reliably and reproducibly. In this way, optimization potentials in the process could be identified after a short evaluation.

In terms of flow technology, the Flowave measuring device is simply a pipe. This also plays a major role in validation, since the device has no influence on the process and the product and can be viewed like any other pipe run. It was also shown that time can be saved, which is then available for maintenance and production. The user thus gains real filling time - on the one hand through faster cleaning and sterilization, i.e. ultimately shorter time until the validated state is reached, and on the other hand the system can be operated longer until cleaning is necessary.

Additional information on how Bürkert developed Flowave

Bürkert Fluid Control Systems has been developing and building measurement, control and regulation systems for fluid technology for 60 years and is constantly looking for new answers to the question of how such components can be constructed in a practical, user-friendly and functional way.

To determine the flow, the fluidics experts came across surface acoustic wave technology (SAW), which is based on the propagation of surface waves on the measuring tube and in the medium flowing through. The effect is comparable to the wave propagation during seismic activities. Based on this technology, Bürkert developed Flowave, a compact measuring device without any installation in the measuring tube. It works regardless of the conductivity of the liquid. This is important for media such as ultrapure water or Water for Injection (WFI).

With high demands on the measuring accuracy, previously more expensive or hygienically more critical methods had to be used. But that's not the only benefit of Flowave. The simple design without any built-in components in the measuring tube is intended to significantly reduce cleaning and sterilization efforts and to create ideal conditions for use in hygiene applications. Based on the currently possible measurement of volume flow and temperature in CIP and SIP processes, Bürkert Flowave wants to expand in the next development step with further measurement values ​​such as density and mass flow and validate it for all liquid media.

In addition, the system does not have to be calibrated due to the principle and is significantly cheaper than other flowmeters. In addition to quick payback, there are other practical aspects: The Flowave weighs around 4 kg with a nominal diameter of 50 mm and can be quickly dismantled and replaced by a single person in the event of defects or malfunctions.

The exact flow measurement of the CIP and SIP media together with a temperature tracking is important as a control variable for the flushing times. The system can only reach the validated state if the necessary times and temperatures are observed. Process optimization, such as efficient cleaning and sterilization, can increase plant efficiency and save additional production time. Flowave can make an important contribution to this.

Inline flow meter

Flow meter based on SAW

Continuous monitoring

Flowave combines temperature and flow measurement in one device and therefore at one measuring point. The use of both measured variables is possible for the user without additional effort and without additional costs. Flowave enables the continuous monitoring of the cleaning procedure and is therefore a real tool for quality assurance. It can be continuously monitored which flow rates have been conveyed through the line over which period with which temperature profile. The measured values ​​are immediately available via the device's interfaces and document the correct execution of the defined cleaning process.

In addition, the cleaning process can also be optimized on the basis of a worst-case scenario in which the user analyzes the operational limits and weak points of his system and optimizes the cleaning process for the worst-case scenario using the Flowave. A best practice can be determined from this, in which the defined cleaning parameters are always safely adhered to in normal operation. If the flushing quantities and temperature levels measured by the Flowave match the target values ​​over the flushing time, it is ensured that the cleaning procedure complies with the specifications.

In summary: With the system solution consisting of the Flowave flowmeter and Robolux valve node, time and costs for cleaning and sterilization can be saved, maintenance and validation are easier than with conventional solutions and the user has additional production time. (sh)

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