Biopharmaceutical drugs such as mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 not only differ from classical pharmaceuticals regarding production methods. They are also extremely sensitive and have a very short shelf life when stored in liquid form. Freeze-drying is often the only way to preserve these active ingredients for more than a few days. However, it is precisely the interfaces between filling and freeze drying that pose major challenges for the protection of people and products.
The new, patented loading system for freeze dryers from the Syntegon product brand SBM (Schoeller Bleckmann Medizintechnik) ensures maximum process safety, while saving a considerable amount of space. Thanks to its new front pusher design, the system loads vials into the freeze dryer using the linear pushing and pulling motion of a transfer arm. Unlike other systems, the innovative transfer bar is not moved by a hydraulic push rod, but by a mechanical servo drive.
Compact design saves space and maintains product integrity
The patented solution offers several advantages: the articulated arms and the transfer arm are very compact, making it possible to install the loading system within the isolator dimensions. This saves manufacturers a lot of space in the fill-finish area. All components of the loading system are conveniently accessible via glove ports and can be easily cleaned, sterilized, and maintained.
The loading system’s drive unit is located below the base plate and hence outside of the process area. This allows repairs and maintenance of the drive without compromising the isolator’s sterility above the base plate. At the same time, operators and maintenance technicians are protected from highly toxic products. The innovative front pusher solution also eliminates the bellow, which is required for a hydraulically operated transfer bar. This makes the system easy to clean. Moreover, the potential contamination risk of the product with leaking hydraulic fluid is eliminated.
Would you like to learn more about Syntegon’s patented loading system for freeze dryers? Please contact us!
Ing. Christian Dallner, MA
Product Management & Marketing