Cleaning-off-place for Pharma Applications

Wash-Off-Line for Pharmaceutical Plants

In addition to providing complete containment services, GEA also offers multifunctional wash skids that can be moved from one location to another and used to clean different parts of the process. Every plant delivered by GEA has a tailor made CIP, WIP or WOL (Wash-Off-Line) system to suit your application.

IBC Washing

As cleanliness is a priority for the pharmaceutical manufacturer, an important feature of any IBC system is the ability to wash containers to a consistent, repeatable standard, both externally and internally. An extensive selection of washing systems has been created to suit the diverse needs of the market — and to minimize production downtime. These range from simple internal wash systems to fully automatic washing, drying and cooling booths.

Wash stations may be single entry or pass through, loaded by pallet truck, AGV or conveyor. They can be manually operated or fully automated for PLC-based wash cycle selection. Metering controls the addition of detergents or sanitizing fluid to the system and, if needed, purified or municipal water. A standalone service module supplies air drying and cooling, as well as housing a heat exchanger, valves, pumps and detergent tanks. Depending on throughput demands, single or multiple units may be used. 

BUCK® Valve Washing

Although it is important to handle and transfer powders in a contained way to prevent operator exposure, it is equally important to be able to wash the IBC and the containment valves in place without the need for operator intervention. All the BUCK® IBCs and their passive valves are designed to be fully cleaned in place (CIP) within the Buck Wash Station. 

CIP of the Passive Valve is achieved using the Buck Wash Active Valve. The wash valve assembles are mounted in the top and bottom of the booth to wash the IBC's passive valves (inlet and outlet). The wash valve assemblies automatically dock with the Passive Valves on the IBC and open the valve, allow for the main wash nozzle to be inserted into the IBC and for the wash water to drain away. The unique cruciform wash disc allows coverage of the external face of the passive valve, whilst the dirty internal face is cleaned using strategically placed wash nozzles.

The Active Wash Valves can easily allow 'Internal Only' washing of the IBC. The IBC can be loaded onto a wash stand. The Active Wash Valves are then docked. Wash water is contained within the system. With the containment valves of the system preventing the contamination of the external surfaces, clients now have the opportunity to remove the wash booth that provides the external washing, saving on upfront capital costs, space and ongoing maintenance costs.

Tablet Press Cleaning

With the MODUL™ tablet press Wash-off-Line (WOL) concept, GEA compression introduces a high-containment solution that has a low operational cost, is practical in use and offers the highest productivity. Thanks to its inherently closed design, the Exchangeable Compression Module (ECM) model significantly reduces the concentration of airborne particles in the tablet compression room and contributes to the protection of equipment operators and supervisors. 

The WOL increases production time by cleaning the ECM after it is removed from the tablet press. The MODUL™ press remains in operation producing another product while the cleaning cycle runs. After the WOL-ECM has been removed from the machine, it can be connected to a washing station in the cleaning area. The WOL-ECM features an ECM made from corrosion-free materials and offers automatic, low water consumption washing using specially designed water jets. “Off-line” automatic washing offers considerable advantages compared with “in-place” washing. 

The self-contained ECM holding all product contact parts is removed from the press onto a trolley by means of an incorporated arm. This trolley is rolled to a wash skid, where three high-performance spray nozzles are attached while still maintaining complete containment. The PLC program on the wash skid runs a user-defined program using cold and warm water in combination with detergents and other cleaning agents, and rinsing with purified water.

The WOL technique is much more economical than a Wash-in-Place (WIP) system because WIP requires the tablet press to be offline during the entire cleaning, drying, and cooling cycle. With WOL, you can continue to generate profit by running a second product while the first product module is being cleaned. Other advantages of WOL are as follows: 

  • the WOL system is proven effective, with a full year of extensive testing, both in house and in production service with different pharmaceutical companies
  • the trolley, equipped with dedicated cam tracks, spins the turret and enables the punch tips to separate from the die for spraying
  • only the parts within the ECM are exposed to water and cleaning solutions, so the cams and rollers can still be made out of any preferred materials
  • as the ECM is fully contained, it is not necessary to clean non-product contact parts or the cleanroom.
  • only one wash skid is required, no matter how many presses are in operation.
  • after a 40-minute cleaning cycle, the ECM may be disassembled for final sanitization and drying.
  • the same WOL principle may be applied to the cleaning of powder feed and peripheral equipment.

The patented Wash-off-Line (WOL) concept improves on WIP/CIP solutions for tablet presses. 

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