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Filtration Technologies

This article discusses how the use of thin- cake vertical candle filters and horizontal pressure plate filters can efficiently remove activated carbon, metal catalysts, and trace insolubles from Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) slurries.

Thin-Cake Filtration Technologies for Removing Activated Carbon, Catalysts, and other Trace Solids from Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) Slurries

Figure 1. BHS candle showing gas flow to expand the filter media sock for cake discharge.

by Barry A. Perlmutter

A Introduction

s the pharmaceutical industry has changed and grown since the mid- 1980s, there are increasing concerns about the safe handling of Active Phar-

maceutical Ingredients (APIs). To meet lower exposure limits of unknown compounds and to have batch-to-batch integrity with less opera- tor interaction, the industry’s need for new technologies has expanded.

In the chemical synthesis operations of a pharmaceutical plant, the components include

reactors, separation equipment, drying equip- ment, containment systems, and other process systems and utilities. The reaction step gener- ally includes hydrogenation catalysts, activated carbon, and other accelerators for the precipi- tation reaction. After this step, separation is required to remove these substances along with unreacted materials, process impurities and reaction by-products, and API residuals.

This article focuses on one area of impor- tance, which is the efficient removal of acti- vated carbon, metal catalysts, and trace insol-

ubles, such as diatomaceous earth, from API slurries. Cur- rently, most API slurries are clarified with the use of manual plate filters, filter presses, bag filters, cartridge filters, and other conventional filter equipment. All of these units require manual opera- tions for cake discharge and cleaning between batches or campaigns, as well as suffer from high labor and mainte- nance costs, high disposal costs, and the exposure of the operators and the environment to toxic and hazardous sol- vents and solids in addition to used and contaminated filter cloth, bag filters, and filter car- tridges.

Spinning disk filters also are commonly used for clarifi- cation. While these units over-



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 Supercritical Fluid Extraction Jf-Perlmutter_rev2.pdf Page 001
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