TECHHUB

How to design a reactor for pharmaceutical production?

The reactor is one of the elements found in all, or practically all, pharmaceutical production lines (mainly in the manufacture of liquids). Being one of the main actors of the lines, a good design is essential to avoid unforeseen events and ensure good operation.

When we design a manufacturing reactor we must take into account several aspects before launching the manufacturing order to a boilermaker. It is important to identify the basic criteria that will define the geometry, size, materials, etc. of the reactors.

The first step is sizing the tank size. To do this, we must increase the focus of vision and look at the entire process to know the optimal size of the manufacturing batch. The global analysis of the entire manufacturing line goes from the manufacturing reactors to the packaging line: the speed of the packaging line, the different formats to be packaged, the flow/pressure requirement of the filler, the maximum time we have defined between cleanings/sterilizations, etc. With the analysis of all this data we will be able to propose an optimal tank size.

One of the key factors will be to analyze the maximum and minimum batch size to be manufactured in the same reactor, so that we can guarantee good agitation or maintenance of temperatures or other parameters in all these conditions and at all points of the reactor.

Secondly, we will have to define all the additional components and aspects that we will need to include in this reactor:

Heating/cooling jacket: depending on the conditions required by the process, a jacket fed by steam, cold water or a secondary circuit that is at the appropriate temperature can be made.

Agitator: the most used in pharma is the magnetic one, since it allows easy cleaning and avoids physical contact between the inside and outside of the tank. The major disadvantage would be its high cost and the limitation of agitation in large tanks. Upper or lower vertical agitators are also used depending on the requirements (standard vertical agitator, Rushton turbine for bioreactors, turrax for dispersions, etc.)

Instrumentation: measurement of level, temperature, pressure, pH, oxygen concentration, etc.

Sampling port

It is important to define whether the tank should be sterilized or not and whether the transfer of product to the filler is done with a pump or by pneumatic pressure, since it will determine the calculation of the thickness of the reactor walls.

Material: typically stainless steel with controlled roughness, but depending on the products to be manufactured, other materials could be used

It is important to define whether the tank should be sterilized or not and whether the transfer of product to the filler is done with a pump or by pneumatic pressure, since these two factors have a great influence on the calculation of the thickness of the reactor walls.

All these points will determine the geometry of the reactor. With this and the sizing we would be ready to start manufacturing. The study of all these factors requires experience and dedication, which we are able to offer at Klinea.

If you are interested in learning more about reactor design and how we can help you, contact us: klinea@klinea.es