Having successfully collaborated in the past to develop pharmaceutical installations, including the world’s largest fully automated plant for the production of syrups and suspensions, GEA was the first choice of single-source solution provider when the managing director of Julphar (Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries), the UAE-based insulin manufacturer and one of the Middle East’s largest pharmaceutical companies, wanted to discuss a new project.

World Class on a Global Scale

The new $136 million facility at Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE was to be one of the largest biotechnological plants in the world for the production of recombinant human insulin crystals. It was to have a floor space of 20,000 square meters, including 5000 square meters of clean rooms, and around 17 km of clean piping. It was a truly massive project that, when complete, would produce 1500 kg of insulin a year.

In the autumn of 2006, GEA began work on the initial concepts and budget calculations. In 2007, the company worked on scaling up the systems from laboratory to production levels and determined important procedural parameters that would serve as a basis for process equipment selection. By 2009, all the plans and the engineering for the production plant had been completed. The project was to provide all the clean utility systems and to manage the process integration, including fermentation, harvesting, chromatography, filtration and freeze-drying.

Ralph Schulze, Head of Pharma and Biotechnology at GEA, noted: “In autumn 2010, we started working on site. We had to carefully manage a team of 100 engineers and fitters, and be very flexible; certain process areas had to be optimized and modified to meet specific requirements. By the end of 2011, the main work was completed.” With excellent co-operation from the Julphar technical team, the project was completed successfully. “We were able to complete the project in a very short time because of our past working relationship,” said Schulze. 

Strong Collaboration

Ralph Schulze, Head of Pharma and Biotechnology at GEA, noted: “In autumn 2010, we started working on site. We had to carefully manage a team of 100 engineers and fitters, and be very flexible; certain process areas had to be optimized and modified to meet specific requirements. By the end of 2011, the main work was completed.” With excellent co-operation from the Julphar technical team, the project was completed successfully. “We were able to complete the project in a very short time because of our past working relationship,” said Schulze. 

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