Portalevel® MAX Pharmaceutical Applications

Portalevel® MAX Pharmaceutical Applications

INDUSTRY: PHARMACEUTICAL MANUFACTURING

APPLICATION: AMMONIA LEVELS IN IBCS - ATEX

Background

A British pharmaceutical company, one of the largest in the world. We received a request from one of their pharma manufacturing plants in Ireland, the plant produces active ingredients that are used in drugs used to treat cancer, Parkinsons + depression.

Applciation

We received a request to deliver a means to non-invasively monitor the contents within IBCs (Intermediate Bulk Containers). The ammonia is used to breakdown manufacturing by-products before they are then safely incinerated. An ammonia/water mix is delivered onto the site in IBCs. The current method of monitoring the contents within these IBCs involved physical dip stick measurements on the tank to monitor usage and replacement. This methodology stemmed from a lack of confidence in the internal IBC monitoring system. However, the fumes given off by the ammonia creates a health risk for engineers. Opening the top valve also creates risk of contamination to the ammonia. They therefore require a non-invasive method.

Solution

A Coltraco Engineer visited the site to conduct technology suitability trials. We surveyed several of the IBCs some were partially full and some were fully empty - after adjustments we determined general range for a full and empty state across 7 of the IBCs. Trial indicated real potential for us to deliver a solution for this application.

Implementation

Once proven that our technology was suitable, these specifications had to be met:

  • Non-Invasive and ultrasonic
  • Application Specific Calibration – 0=LIQUID 100+=AIR (unapparelled ease of use)
  • Intrinsically safe
  • Robust enough for daily use
  • Magnet not required
  • Specifically designed for the application

Over the next 4 weeks we developed a turn-key solution offering:

  • unparralled accuracy
  • ease of use and
  • clarity of indication
  • on an Intrinsically Safe unit
  • no input required from the operator apart from the application of the sensor to the vessel wall.

Result

First technology of its kind because a non-invasive solution did not previously exist. It enables operators to safely, quickly and accurately monitor contents within ammonia vessels which are integral to the entire plant operation. The equipment will also reduce the amount of partially empty ammonia cylinders returned before emptying, saving the organisation money over time.

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