Perspectives: Process Puzzler

Conquer Centrifuge Challenges

Assess a number of issues that can compromise performance

Mar 14, 2017

We’re trying to complete our functional acceptance test for a centrifuge for recovering solids after pharmaceutical fermentation. In our process, fermentation mash goes through a bead mill, then to disc centrifuges, a steam sterilizer, and a spray dryer. We’ve run into a few glitches: 1) initially, the motor on the variable-frequency-drive control trips out within a few seconds; 2) batches seem to run for a shorter period than desired before we have to switch to another centrifuge; 3) we seem to see carry-over into our spray dryer; and 4) we have trouble meeting our riboflavin testing. I went back to the scale-up design report that was used by an engineering contractor to design and build our fermentation process. It shows that a tubular bowl centrifuge was used to develop data — but we went with a disc, split-bowl centrifuge for the full-scale operation. How much of an issue is this? Is there a workaround to allow us to get the desired performance from our centrifuge?

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