There are five applications for thermal mass flow meters that support the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, and they include measuring air flow, nitrogen gas, and ammonia gas.
- Batch Processes – measure air flow
- Reactors/Fermenters – measure nitrogen and ammonia gas flow
- Pill Coating – measure air flow
- Exhaust Flow – measure exhaust air flow
- Fluid Bed and Spray Dryers – measure inlet air
Batch Processes and Reactors / Fermenters
Many procedures in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries require precise measurement of air or gases into batch processes. In a batch process, various gases are introduced into reactors or fermenters. Because thermal mass flow meters read in actual mass flow, the gas flow can be maintained at a constant rate regardless of pressure changes in the vessel. The fast response and accuracy of the Sage meter ensure precise, repeatable batch-to-batch results, which produce excellent long-term stability of the process.
The pharmaceutical industry also uses nitrogen for blanketing and for purging fermenters and batch reactor vessels, offering high accuracy and excellent repeatability in these applications.
The air flow rate to pill coaters should be maintained at a uniform rate to ensure product consistency. Variations in the air flow will affect the drying rate and create differences in coating thickness. Utilizing thermal mass flow meters can provide alarms to indicate if the flow has dropped below an acceptable level.
Thermal mass flow meters can also be used on the downstream side of the pill coating process to measure exhaust flow. In this case, a specialized splash guard and unique dirt resistant coating are required for the contaminated air stream.
Fluid Bed and Spray Dryers
The pharmaceutical industry often uses fluid bed dryers and spray dryers. For both dryer types, accurate measurement and control of the inlet air are essential to assure the process remains stable and repeatable.
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