Control capability drives pharmaceutical pump selection

A leading European manufacturer of health products is benefiting from the control capabilities of peristaltic pumps from Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG). The pumps are being used for the precise metering of water-based buffer agents such as hydrogen chloride (HCl) and glycerol, at one of its production facilities on the island of Sicily.
Established in 1946, Fidia Farmaceutici is headquartered in Abano Terne near Padua, Italy. The company employs around 1,000 people across all of its sites, one of which can be found at Noto near Syracuse, Sicily. The Noto facility produces APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) for use in Fidia-branded medical devices, which is where the pump technology plays a key role.
“WMFTG is an established supplier to Fidia and our experience of their products and service has always been positive, which is why we specified their peristaltic pumps again for this latest project,” states Christian Cuppari, who is responsabile for the production unit in Noto. “In fact, Watson-Marlow is now the predominant pump type here at Noto.”
Fidia has 500 and 300 series models, supported by Pumpsil silicone tubing, to pump HCl and glycerol water-based buffer solutions. “For reasons of cost and quality control we required pumps with high control capability, as well as the assurance of fluid sterility with the right type of tubing,” says Cuppari.
A pump such as the 520U can be controlled from the keypad or remotely. It features analogue control whereby pump speed can be governed through an analogue signal input in the ranges of 0-10V or 4-20mA. The latter is preferred at Fidia, with the input signal generated by special fermenter control software for biocare applications.
With regard to fluid sterility, precision Pumpsil Platinum-cured silicone tubing plays a key role in biotechnology and pharmaceutical manufacturing processes around the world. It is manufactured in WMFTG’s ISO 14644-1 Class 7 clean room and is post-cured to improve the finished product. Pumpsil is laser-etched end-to-end with part number, lot number and use-by-date, and has fully documented biocompatibility with a comprehensive validation pack.

“We are pumping buffer solutions and acid/alkaline solutions, typically across batch runs that last for around 36 hours,” concludes Cuppari. “This is why we need reliable, close control in our chemical metering, and the pumps from WMFTG are proven in meeting these requirements.”
The 520 series pump has since been upgraded to the 530 series model – which features an enhanced operator and control system interface, and a bright colour display.

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