Online measurement of moisture distribution in pharmaceutical fluidised beds for drying, granulation and coating

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Abstract

Gas-solids fluidised beds are commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry for drying, granulation and coating. Because of the lack of means for online measurement of granule moisture, the fluidised beds are currently operated by trial-and-error, resulting in low operation efficiency (i.e. longer operation time and more energy consumed), and more importantly the product quality cannot be guaranteed. During two recent EPSRC projects (GR/T29383/01, EP/G005702/1), we have made significant progress on fundamental understanding of the complicated gas-solids fluidisation processes and online measurement of granule moisture in fluidised bed dryers, which have been demonstrated on lab-scale fluidised bed dryers both at the University of Manchester (UoM) and in GEA Pharma Systems Ltd and also published in prestigious journals, e.g. AIChE J. In the past 12 months, our EPSRC Follow-on Fund project has allowed the technology to be scaled up from lab dryers to semi-industrial scale dryers and demonstration of the principle of online measurement of granule moisture in semi-industrial scale dryers in an industrial lab environment. This work, in collaboration with GEA and other industrial partners, has generated considerable interest from the pharmaceutical industry, notably AstraZeneca, who has expressed a wish to collaborate on the next stage of development with a view of becoming the first adopter of the technology.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The aim of this research is to apply electrical capacitance tomography (ECT) for online measurement of moisture distribution in pharmaceutical fluidised beds and scale up the application of ECT from a lab-scale fluidised bed to a production-scale fluidised bed. The objective is to optimise the design of the production-scale fluidised bed and to improve operation efficiency of the fluidisation processes. This is the first time that ECT has been scaled-up to a production-scale fluidised bed of 1.0 m in diameter and batch process capacity of 100 kg in a real industrial environment. With a large-scale fluidised bed in a real industrial environment, some key issues on ECT sensor design must be addressed. To validate ECT measurement results, a two-phase flow model has been used to simulate the process in a lab-scale and pilot-scale fluidised bed. The key process parameters include solids concentration and average concentration profiles and frequency spectrum of signal fluctuation obtained by Fast Fourier Transfer (FFT) and multi-level wavelet decomposition in the time domain. The results show different hydrodynamic behaviour of fluidised beds of different scale. The time-averaged parameters from ECT and CFD are compared. Future work on ECT sensor design for large-scale fluidised beds is given in the end of the report.
Exploitation Route Further funding to develop a commercial product with GEA to be used by AstraZenaca.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL http://www.eee.manchester.ac.uk/industry/collaborativeprojectswithindustry/visualisationofpharmaceuticalfluidisedbeds/
 
Description Our findings have been used in Chinese Academy of Sciences for clean coal combustion, which is important to reduce pollution to the environment.
Sector Energy,Environment
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Measurement and Optimization of Gas-solid Fluidised Bed Processeses
Amount ¥2,500,000 (CNY)
Funding ID 61320106004 
Organisation National Natural Science Foundation of China 
Sector Public
Country China
Start 01/2014 
End 12/2017
 
Description Online monitoring of combustion conditions at aero-engine exit by tomography
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 99843 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2014 
End 03/2016
 
Description Optimisation of methanol-to-olefins fluidised bed reactors by high-temperature electrical capacitance tomography
Amount £102,400 (GBP)
Funding ID 103747 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2015 
End 02/2018
 
Description Real-time imaging for root canal treatment
Amount £120,000 (GBP)
Funding ID FC00082 
Organisation University of Manchester 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2011 
End 06/2014
 
Description Water-cut measurement by a combination of electrical capacitance tomography and RF resonant cavity sensors
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 108029 
Organisation Royal Academy of Engineering 
Sector Learned Society
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 09/2016
 
Description Clean coal combustion 
Organisation Chinese Academy of Sciences
Department Institute of Engineering Thermophysics
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution For clean coal combustion, it is important to optimise the design of circulating fluidised beds. We supplied electrical capacitance tomography (ECT) instrument and worked on image reconstruction algorithms. Two PhD students worked on a collaboration project in Beijing, 3 months each.
Collaborator Contribution Our partner provide test facilities. They worked on modelling of circulating fluidised beds and did experiment using the ECT instrument.
Impact Joint papers have been published on AIChE Journal, IEEE Sensors Journal, IEEE Trans. on Instrumentation and Measurement, Measurement Science and Technology and Powder Technology.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Methanol-to-olefins conversion 
Organisation Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics
Country China 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We supplied electrical capacitance tomography (ECT) instrument and worked on high temperature sensor design and compensation.
Collaborator Contribution They made high-temperature ECT sensors. They contributed methanol-to-oilefins facilities and did experiment.
Impact The research result helped operation of a methanol-to-olefins plant.
Start Year 2012
 
Description aero-engine exit imaging 
Organisation Beihang University
Department School of Instrument Science and Opto-electronic Engineering
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We work on electrical capacitance tomography for imaging flames.
Collaborator Contribution They worked on TDLS.
Impact We have several joint papers published on IEEE Trans. on Instrumentation and Measurement and other journals.
Start Year 2014
 
Title Licence(s) pending (Final Report data) 
Description Heads of Agreement are being signed with GEA Process Engineering Ltd. 
IP Reference US8461852 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2013
Licensed Yes
Impact As a result of continuous support from EPSRC, this patent has been filed by UMIP and licensed to GEA. It covers EU, USA, Australia, China and India. Fluidised beds are commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry. However, they are operated by trial-and-error because of the lack of online tools to measure the process. This patent details how to measure the moisture of particles and the moisture distribution in a pharmaceutical fluidised bed by electrical capacitance tomography. The invented approach would result in revolutionary improvement on operation of pharmaceutical fluidised beds. This work was selected as 2009 IET Innovation Award Finalist.
 
Title Methods and apparatus relating to fluidised beds 
Description The present invention is concerned with capacitance measurements in fluidised beds of particles, and their use in compensating for particle permittivity changes, such as those arising from changes in liquid content of particles, whilst carrying out electrical capacitance measurements and electrical capacitance tomography (ECT) imaging of the density distribution of fluidised particles. The invention also relates to methods for the measurement of the liquid content, particularly the moisture content of fluidised particles. 
IP Reference WO2009030876 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2013
Licensed No
Impact As a result of continuous support from EPSRC, this patent (WO/2009/030876) has been filed by UMIP and licensed to GEA. It covers EU, USA, Australia, China and India. Fluidised beds are commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry. However, they are operated by trial-and-error because of the lack of online tools to measure the process. This patent details how to measure the moisture of particles and the moisture distribution in a fluidised bed by electrical capacitance tomography. The invented approach would result in revolutionary improvement on operation of pharmaceutical fluidised beds. This work was selected as 2009 IET Innovation Award Finalist.
 
Description General Chair of 2018 IEEE International Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This is the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society flagship conference. It will be the first time for the conference to be held in the UK. More than 500 people from all over the world would come Manchester to attend this conference. It will be a good opportunity for UK academics and industrialists to make contact with people working in instrumentation and measurement from outside the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description IEEE Distinguished Lecturer 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I gave more than 30 Distinguished Lectures on electrical capacitance tomography and industrial applications, in Bahrain, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, UK, and USA
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011,2012,2013,2014
 
Description honorary Chair of IEEE International Conference on Imaging Systems and Techniques 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I am a key organiser of this IEEE series conference. Every year more than 100 people working on imaging system and techniques attend this conference, creating a platform for them to exchange ideas, make new contacts and disseminate their research outcome.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2009,2010,2011,2012