Averaging level control to reduce off-spec material in a continuous pharmaceutical pilot plant
journal contributionposted on 22.07.2014, 10:41 by Richard Lakerveld, Brahim Benyahia, Patrick L. Heider, Haitao Zhang, Richard D. Braatz, Paul I. Barton
The judicious use of buffering capacity is important in the development of future continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. The potential benefits are investigated of using optimal-averaging level control for tanks that have buffering capacity for a section of a continuous pharmaceutical pilot plant involving two crystallizers, a combined filtration and washing stage and a buffer tank. A closed-loop dynamic model is utilized to represent the experimental operation, with the relevant model parameters and initial conditions estimated from experimental data that contained a significant disturbance and a change in setpoint of a concentration control loop. The performance of conventional proportional-integral (PI) level controllers is compared with optimal-averaging level controllers. The aim is to reduce the production of off-spec material in a tubular reactor by minimizing the variations in the outlet flow rate of its upstream buffer tank. The results show a distinct difference in behavior, with the optimal-averaging level controllers strongly outperforming the PI controllers. In general, the results stress the importance of dynamic process modeling for the design of future continuous pharmaceutical processes.
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