The majority of processes in the Pharmaceutical Industry are batch. However, companies are currently analyzing the change of process operation from batch to continuous. There are many advantages and disadvantages regarding this change.
In batch processes, the quality control is easier than in continuous processes, and it can be monitored at each completed batch. Another advantage of batch processes is that early capital investment for these processes is typically lower than for continuous processes since no investment for control and optimization purposes are required. However, some characteristics of continuous processes have been becoming increasingly attractive. In continuous processes, scale-up is less necessary and thereby the time of production for a certain amount of product becomes shorter. Furthermore, in this type of process, the human factor is minor, and it has a better control. The yields are better and the engineers do not have to deal with failed batches.
The modeling and simulation of pharmaceutical processes can be a good way to compare the continuous against the batch process operation, which can help pharmaceutical companies make a wise decision even at the early development stage. Running the process in a simulated environment can reduce the use of chemicals, and thus the company would spend less resources and time with experiments. In addition, pharmaceutical processes can be optimized using developed process models based on desired properties. The optimization needs to consider some characteristics of the process such as economics and operating constraints, and product material properties.
The objective in this presentation is to model and simulate a selected continuous pharmaceutical process from the literature (Wong, Sze-Wing et al., 2014) to identify the best operating regime for this system. The simulated chemical process consists of 4 reactions, and the kinetic properties are provided to complete the simulation. The first operation mode consists of two 100 mL CSTR reactors (continuous stirred tank reactors) in series with a residence time of 20 minutes in each reactor. The second mode corresponds to a batch process. Modeling and simulation studies are performed to compare both processes under similar conditions in MATLAB/gPROMS. Different scenarios will be presented aiming the cost minimization and performance optimization for this pharmaceutical process.
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