End-to-end continuous manufacturing: chemical synthesis, workup and liquid formulation
Today profitable and competitive methods of manufacturing focus towards end-to-end continuous manufacturing, which is becoming successively a strategic core competence to each manufacturer in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Fully integrated continuous upstream and downstream processes combine all the stages of the production process starting from multi-step chemical synthesis down to workup like purification, crystallization, filter and drying, blending and formulation to finally get the finished product. The shift to continuous end-to-end manufacturing faces several challenges which need to be overcome by a tight collaboration and knowledge transfer between several branches and technology suppliers.
GAME-CHANGING PRODUCTION CONCEPTS
Fast growing and vibrant markets require innovative and game-changing production concepts in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry Continuous production concepts jumped on the bandwagon of industry 4.0 and follow the trend towards a fully integrated system with increased digitalization, smart solutions for automation and real-time monitoring, all contributing to a much more efficient chemical processing amongst the whole supply chain (1). While batch processes and centralized manufacturing is increasingly regarded as inflexible the base of continuous processing is generated on the backbone of current technological progress, which enables a restructuring of production concepts leading to higher flexibility, reliability and a new understanding of sustainability. Flow systems enable a much better process control and have significant advantages over traditional batch operations, particularly in terms of mixing efficiency, heat and mass transfer, selectivity, productivity, safety, and reproducibility (2). Hessel et. al anticipate that continuous synthesis will be very useful in pharmaceutical manufacturing in the future (3). As a ...