Chromatography columns are used in the BioPharma industry to concentrate and filter drug components. These columns are typically packed with activated particles with high surface area, and can either retain desired components (such as antibodies in affinity chromatography), or filter out undesired compounds (such as protein A in ion chromatography). Typically more than one type of these columns are used in series to provide the concentration and purity required.
These columns process streams of critical fluids such as electrolytes, buffer solutions, elation acids, as well as dilute and concentrated drug solutions. These fluids are typically controlled with sanitary control valves or gear pumps, and the flow rate is often measured by expensive Coriolis flow meters for high accuracy.
Key challenges when processing these fluids include:
- Dosing electrolyte or buffer addition to the column to precisely control pH or concentration: Because these fluids typically have the viscosity of water, one specific challenge is controlling gear pump flow rate from very low flow rates.
- Providing back pressure control on the Chromatography column and Coriolis flow meters to prevent undesired bubble formation.
- Providing for good flow control from the very low dosing requirements, while also providing for the high flow rates demanding by the larger system’s Clean-In-Place circulating system.
Low Flow Problems with Electrolyte and Buffer Dosing
- Equilibar back pressure regulators are useful for providing necessary back pressure for dosing pumps to prevent flow control problems at very low dosing flow rates.
- Equilibar regulators can be used as the primary flow control valve to avoid bulky globe valves and extend the flow control turndown range to 100:1 (from 20:1).
Providing back pressure to avoid bubble formation
Bubble formation in Coriolis flow meters or on the resin coated media of a Chromatography Column can cause serious processing problems. Bubble formation can be effectively inhibited by raising the pressure of the fluid in these processes from near atmospheric to the range of 1 atmosphere (1 bar or 14.7 psig) above the gas partial pressures in these solutions. Equilibar back pressure regulators can be installed downstream of these devices to reliably raise the pressures.
Key Advantages of Equilibar® FD Series
The Equilibar Sanitary Back Pressure Regulator works with the diaphragm as the only sealing part, and the only moving part. Because of this unique design, it offers several advantages over traditional control valves, including:
- Wide Pressure Range: Design operates with precision from 0.2 bar up to 10 bar
- Wide Flow Range: Operates with 10,000:1 flow turndown ratio
- Ease of Automation: Compact design is automated using remote air pressure regulator
- Simpler Design: One moving part (USP Class VI diaphragm) is simple to clean
Contact an Equilibar application engineer today to discuss your unique application requirements.