Pressure Measurement & Control

VEGA extends portfolio for pharmaceuticals production

February 2020 Pressure Measurement & Control

Pharmaceutical instrumentation has to be safe and easy to use, and contribute to the reproducibility of processes. The reliable and lasting performance of VEGA’s proven instrument portfolio has enabled plant operators to monitor and control with great precision chemical, thermal or biological processes, often under high temperatures and pressures.

The modular basis of the proven instrument platform plics has enabled it to stand out from other competing products. Its highly compatible design and standardised adjustment concept pave the way for especially versatile application possibilities. An intelligent, proven modular system of sensors allows individual configuration: starting with selection of the right measuring principle, to connection and setup, to service. Operators benefit greatly from continuous plant availability and process reliability.

New sensors for hygiene-optimised standard applications

In pharmaceuticals production, trends towards continuous production processes and more intensive networking are bringing new challenges. In response, VEGA is expanding its portfolio for pharmaceuticals production to include a compact instrument series because the industry is not just looking for solutions for extreme applications, but for simple optimisation and efficiency improvement in many areas.

The company is focusing on a new series of compact pressure sensors and level switches that can be used to automate standard applications cost effectively. The focus here is on compactness, flexibility, safety and optimised hygiene.

The new Vegabar and Vegapoint instrument series are the answer to the growing demand for simple sensors with reduced variants that support increasingly efficient pharmaceuticals production. This requires more standardised products that are as easy as possible to use, but still cover all basic hygiene requirements. It also calls for better networked products, with easy connectivity to existing control systems and mobile devices.

Uniform standards extend through all areas of application. This applies especially to the fully hygienic adaptor system, which is designed to be compatible with the Vegabar pressure sensors, as well as the Vegapoint and Vegaswing level switches. Therefore, not only can it be flexibly selected, but also adapted, according to individual needs and – if necessary – quickly exchanged.

The acid test of CIP and SIP passed

Time is becoming an increasingly important factor in pharmaceutical processes, in particular for the production of high-potency drugs: especially when this takes place under strict cleanroom conditions. CIP and SIP cleaning are some of the most time-consuming process steps. The potential for savings here lies essentially in cleaning and sterilising systems more quickly through consistent hygienic design. However, in view of the industry’s extreme cleanliness requirements, this assumes that the cleaning process can be fully relied upon. It requires components whose geometry does not allow microorganisms to collect in dead spaces and which are also capable of withstanding the cleaning and sterilisation processes themselves.

The aggressive cleaning agents used in CIP and the high steam temperatures used in SIP also demand correspondingly high chemical resistance as well as temperature and pressure resistance. The new Vegabar and Vegapoint instrument series are resistant to both. The pressure sensors and level switches can tolerate high temperatures without loss of function and even cope with the combination of high temperature and long exposure times.

360° switching status display

Sensors are often used in very large spacious areas or in very tight spaces.

The effort involved in reading a sensor quickly becomes considerable when a hygiene barrier first has to be overcome. However, it is crucial to be able to see sensor readings quickly and easily, so that operators can react as quickly as possible, especially in the event of a fault.

To ensure that the status of a process can be recognised at a glance from as far away as possible and from any direction, the development of the new sensors focused on simple handling, and the fast and easy readability that comes along with it. Thanks to the round, 360° display, all switching states can be visually detected from any direction. The colour of the illuminated ring, which can be freely selected from 256 different colours, remains clearly visible even in daylight. This allows the operator to choose the colour that is best visible in his particular environment, and it is up to the operator to choose the colour that best suits his needs and offers maximum additional safety and distinguishability in critical situations. It immediately shows the user if measurement is taking place, if the sensor is switching or if there is a possible malfunction in the process.

New compact instrument series with IO-Link

In their maintenance decisions, plant operators rely on status data, which forms the basis for optimal planning of shutdown times. Almost all system builders now deploy intelligent sensors with I/O technology, as it offers universal advantages when it comes to data availability. Not only can these be quickly and cost-effectively installed using standard three-core cable, but, with IO-Link, sensors can also be replaced especially easily and without the risk of errors. The system can be put into operation correspondingly faster with the standard protocol, which reduces production downtime considerably. The option of having all sensor parameters written automatically into the new instrument by the IO-Link master or the controller during a replacement also makes for additional efficiency. Fast format or recipe changes, which are typical in the pharmaceutical industry today, can be carried out quickly and centrally in this way. The bottom line is that using IO-Link saves time while reducing the potential for errors to zero. In the end this ensures higher product quality, more optimal utilisation of the machines and increased process speed – in other words, noticeable savings.

Efficient automation from a single source

Hygienic design, system availability, modularisation and networking are the decisive factors for greater efficiency in pharmaceutical processes and for asserting oneself in the face of growing competition. With its decades of experience, VEGA offers ground-breaking level and pressure measurement technology for the automation and monitoring of future-oriented production systems that operate under extreme conditions and strict requirements on system safety and flexibility.

The new instruments are perfectly tailored to standard applications that nevertheless require high quality. The standardised adaptor system of the compact versions provides the flexibility needed to keep effort and costs at a reasonable level through optimised spare parts stock-keeping. Their process fittings can be selected as needed and flexibly adapted to local requirements. And there is also sensor intelligence on board: the standard IO-Link protocol ensures especially simple, intelligent communication, which means that the instruments have a universal communication platform that enables seamless data transfer and simple integration into the control system. They are thus prepared for the production processes of the future and are already making a contribution to the implementation of Industry 4.0.


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