Ensure quality by the milligram with VEGA's smart solutions

Pharma manufacturing is one of the most challenging production environments. It is highly regulated with the industry governed by stringent regulations and each process part of a validated production system. In this article, we explore smart solutions from VEGA for pharma applications.  

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Accurate and reliable process measurement instrumentation is vital. The safety and quality standards of pharma products are exceptionally high. The production of medicine involves a series of processing steps, which must take place in a potentially volatile environment or comply with strict production guidelines and environmental regulations. This is because there is no margin for error in pharmaceutical production. 

Pressure sensors from Vega (Image: Vega)

Parameters such as level and pressure are crucial, particularly in storage tanks and reactors. In the encapsulation process, reliable level measurement ensures a continuous supply of raw capsules and active ingredient pellets to the filling machine. Overfill protection is provided by a level detection system in collecting vessels, underscoring the industry’s commitment to safety and precision throughout the production chain. For that reason, numerous sensors are required to monitor production. In the storage tanks and reactors, it is mainly parameters such as level and pressure that are of interest.  

In the encapsulation process, the filling machine stores empty raw capsules and active ingredient pellets above it. Reliable level measurement is crucial to ensure a continuous supply to the process. The capsules are loosely stuck together and can be separated easily by a vacuum, after which the pellets are filled into their lower part. Following the filling, the capsules are transported to collecting vessels through a hose system. In these containers, a level detection system serves as an overfill protection. 

A trusted option worldwide

Several pharmaceutical manufacturers across the globe have opted for VEGA sensors in their production facilities. One such manufacturer reported using mainly VEGAPULS non-contact radar sensors and VEGAFLEX guided wave radar sensors on their raw material and wastewater tanks. Since the introduction of the VEGAPULS 6X, various manufacturers have started using it in their reactors. 

The VEGAPULS 42 compact radar sensor is versatile for continuous level measurement in both the active substance reservoir and capsule reservoirs. It’s specifically designed for non-contact level measurement of liquids and bulk solids in straightforward to moderate applications. With the optional universal connection for hygienic adapters, installation effort is reduced, and inventory management is streamlined, meeting the strict requirements of hygienic processes in the pharma industry. Equipped with IO-Link, it provides continuous digital data transmission. This cost-effective solution ensures uninterrupted capsule filling thanks to its reliable measurement capabilities. Its user-friendly design allows for automatic filling through continuous monitoring of storage containers. 

Vega pressure transmitters (Image: Vega)

Reliable detection of limit levels

The VEGAPOINT 31 is a cost-effective limit switch designed for light bulk solids applications. It features a capacitive point level sensor, making it ideal for monitoring point levels in collecting containers for filled capsules. With its straightforward operation and optical switching display, it offers reliable detection of limit levels regardless of the medium present. Its compact design is suited for tight spaces, and the optional universal connection for hygiene adapters reduces installation effort and inventory needs, meeting the hygienic process requirements of the pharmaceutical industry. It can be used without adjustment and offers continuous digital data transmission via IO-Link. 

Controlling and monitoring 

Pressure transmitters have diverse applications within multi-product facilities, including feed lines for transporting finished products to storage tanks. The VEGABAR 82 serves the dual purpose of controlling production processes and monitoring nitrogen neutralisation.  

In processing areas with highly aggressive substances, the VEGABAR 82, featuring a ceramic diaphragm, is paired with PVDF process fittings and FFKM seals. It is capable of measuring pressures ranging from vacuum to 15 bar overpressures. For main storage tanks, typically 8m to 15m in height and 2m to 3m in diameter, various VEGA-level sensors can be installed to monitor and control a range of products, including raw materials, solvents and acids.  

Expertise to address industry demands

Pharma manufacturing processes face several challenges, including high temperatures, condensation, and vapours arising from chemically aggressive substances. Radar antennae can be prone to dirt deposits and crystallisation while obtaining precise level measurements can be complicated by obstacles such as process vessels and reactors.  

The size, shape, and installation environment of tanks, as well as mechanical factors, often pose difficulties for level sensors. Furthermore, surfaces within reactors and mixers are frequently in motion and can be turbulent, adding to the complexity. Despite these challenges, pharma manufacturers work with VEGA to consistently achieve reliable and precise measured values. Safety and quality are non-negotiable in pharma production, where products must meet exceptionally high standards. With no margin for error, manufacturers bear a heavy responsibility.  

VEGA understands the complexities of pharmaceutical manufacturing, from the precise mixing of ingredients to the final encapsulation. Each step plays a critical role in ensuring medication quality. VEGA’s reliable instrumentation and sensors provide manufacturers with the accurate measurements needed to optimise every stage of the process. This translates to greater consistency and higher quality medication for patients. 

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