Determination of dryer end-point with process mass spectrometry can reduce solvent drying times for tablets and other pharmaceutical products from 30 to 60 percent. This was the major conclusion by AMETEK Process Instruments after reviewing the results of dozens of installations of its ProMaxion mass spectrometry systems. The company found that continuous real-time monitoring allows significantly greater efficiency and lower cost than the traditional method of stopping the process to conduct a manual Loss of Drying Analysis.
With drying times ranging from 24 to 130 hours depending on the type of product, and batch sizes ranging up to thousands of pounds, process time reductions produce significant cost savings. The company study found that processors often let drying go on longer than necessary to avoid repeating the inefficient stop-and-start LOD QA test. This results in unnecessary costs for time and energy.
By contrast, the ProMaxion spectrometer continuously monitors solvent vapors in the headspace of the dryer while the process is running. When the instrument detects a predetermined value indicating that the required amounts have been removed from the product, drying is complete. No operator intervention is required to determine the exact moment when a product has dried to the required point, allowing for a 30 to 60% reduction in drying time.
The ProMaxion can be used to control additional aspects of the drying cycle as well. These include determining the optimum time to begin vacuum drying after filtration and tracking such process variables as air entry into the drying chamber. With up to 8 sample inlets, a single spectrometer can monitor multiple sample points. The analyzer handles pressure ranges from 50 psig to 3 Torr absolute. It has an explosion-proof housing and is certified for hazardous environment operation under both NEC and ATEX guidelines.
AMETEK Process Instruments is a unit of AMETEK, Inc., a leading global producer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices with annual sales of more than $2.5 billion.
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Ametek Process and Analytical Instruments UK
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