Modular diaphragm valves deliver maximum safety & reliability in pharmaceutical application
In this article we explore how Bürkert’s range of ELEMENT process valves helped French pharmaceuticals experts, UNITHER to modernize production equipment and gain extra production flexibility. All of this was possible thanks to the AS-i communication bus facilities of the Bürkert compact valves.
Bürkert ELEMENT valves for pharmaceutical applications
With five production sites, a research & development centre, and commercial offices in Paris, UNITHER is currently the world leader in the manufacture of pharmaceutical formulations used by European pharmaceutical laboratories. UNITHER produce generic drugs, such as eye drops, physiological saline solutions and anti-asthma drugs in sterile soluble unit doses.
UNITHER has a turnover of 151 million euros with a workforce of 850 people – 150 of whom are based at their Gannat site; a specialised production plant for the manufacture of soluble tablets, dry formulations and anal suppositories.
Recently, UNITHER decided to modernise its production equipment at the Gannat plant, with the aims of increasing production efficiency, improving safety and meeting the strictest pharmaceutical standards. In addition, they also wanted to develop and install an AS-i communication bus, to make its production as flexible as possible.
Bürkert’s solution using ELEMENT diaphragm valves
Bürkert’s range of ELEMENT diaphragm valves were perfect for the project as they have been designed by Bürkert to provide maximum reliability and safety for the most exacting users.
The valves offer the following advantages:
- AS-i communication bus facilities
- Remote visualisation capability and easy clean
- Stainless steel valves construction
- Very easy to use, via simplified adjustment
- Excellent diagnostics and visualisation
- Ergonomic, adaptable and safe
- Ease of electrical and pneumatic connections
- Reduced start-up times by simple automatic regulation of the travel limits (auto-tune function)
- Reliability is also secured by an integrated filter on the pneumatic supply.
Diaphragm Valves with AS-I communication
Unither’s new installation is equipped with a number of intelligent modular process valves with embedded diagnostic tools, guaranteeing maximum reliability and safety. Limit switch devices with AS-i communication are installed on each pneumatic valve.
Among the advantages offered by this new installation are the stainless steel valve design throughout and the AS-i type 8691 device with high intensity, multi-colour position indicator for visualisation of valve state from a distance – a facility which particularly impressed the operators of the Gannat site.
The installation consists of a tank bottom drain valve type 2105, a draw-off valve type 2014, 2-way manual and automatic valve types 3233 and 2103, as well as the multi-port ELEMENT valve block, type 2034.
The tank bottom drain valve is designed for regulation of ultra-pure, sterile, aggressive or abrasive fluids. It guarantees total draining of the tank and offers optimum possibilities for refilling.
Small valve footprint for pharmaceutical applications
Additional major features include a small valve footprint, and a design where the lifespan of the actuator and control heads is increased through use of a self ventilated system (fresh air design). Also, crucially, the ELEMENT valves are easy to clean and also easy to maintain.