Hosokawa Micron develops multi-functional downflow booth for UK pharma company

To support dispensing, weighing, delumping and material handling of Level III compounds

Hosokawa installs a multi-functional dispensary booth at a tablet manufacturing and packaging centre in the North of England

When a UK manufacturer of pharmaceutical products was looking to increase capacity at its tablet manufacturing and packaging Centre of Excellence in the North of England it approached Hosokawa Micron to develop a bespoke, GMP design, multi-functional, dispensary weigh booth.

The company required a dispensary downflow booth to support dispensing, weighing, delumping and material handling of Level III active pharmaceutical compounds with containment systems to provide consistent operator protection from hazardous airborne particles.

Hosokawa Micron engineers worked with the customer to establish the optimum system design capable of delivering operator protection at OELs <10µm/m3 Time Weighted Average over an eight-hour period, across a range of integrated semi-automated and manual powder handling activities.

To ensure the most effective and ergonomic design of the downflow booth, a wooden mock-up of it and integrated equipment was produced prior to customer sign off. The final design can handle a variety of drum sizes, manual and semi-automated handling operations and features an operator protection screen.

Located on a mezzanine floor the downflow booth has two drum tipping stations, drum lifting equipment, gravity feed chutes to lower level IBC stations as well as equipment for product de-lumping and drum charging. With space at a premium, the downflow booth fits into an existing building.

Together we have brought together equipment from several leading OEMs to fulfill the demand for a user friendly, integrated facility

‘Our engineers have worked closely with the customer. Together we have brought together equipment from several leading OEMs to fulfill the demand for a user friendly, integrated facility for the handling of active pharmaceutical ingredients,’ said Carl Emsley, Hosokawa Micron.

Material filled drums enter the open front design downflow booth, where a vertical downflow of air alleviates the rise of dust in the operators' breathing zone which may be created during drum opening or drum tip and sampling activities.

The booth is equipped with two separate drum tipping stations. Drums are loaded into the drum tippers using a pneumatic hoist. Once delidded, the drum tippers elevate the drums to 180º and can either dispense product into a receiving drum or operators can manually dispense from the drum in the 90º rotated position.

When dispensing from the downflow booth to an IBC on the ground floor of the facility, the drum is inverted and docked prior to gravity discharge down a vertical transfer chute which passes through the floor and is fitted with a Stott hygienic, inflatable, downward sealing head that seals against the top opening of the IBC thus minimising dust exposure to the operator during the filling process. The downward sealing head is fitted with integrated LEV extraction collar for removal of dust when the seal is deflated.

A milling station is incorporated within the downflow booth to achieve product delumping prior to further sampling, subdivision or IBC loading. The drum tippers totally invert the drums to dock onto the mill to create a dust-free seal that minimises airborne dust.

Full operation of all automated equipment and operations is achieved from a single console.

Featured Companies

Hosokawa Micron (more information, website)