Tailor-made microreactor for chemical synthesis

Specialists at Anton Paar have printed a micro-flow-reactor that could simplify the chemical synthesis process dramatically

The micro-flow-reactor is made of steel via direct laser metal sintering and was developed within an international research project called CC Flow. The project is the starting point for tailor-made microreactors from Anton Paar.

The pharmaceutical industry consistently reports high company revenues. This is due to highly valuable products called APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) that extend lives and result in high turnover for pharmaceutical companies.

APIs are either produced biotechnologically using huge fermenters with thousands of liters in volume or made by organic synthesis.

“To speed up these costly processes and increase the safety (for example, to avoid the risk of an explosion that is often connected to organic synthesis), researchers and manufacturers started considering continuous technologies in small reactors with small volumes and a high throughput,” said Günter Köle, Head of Analytical and Synthetic Chemistry at Anton Paar.

Within the research project CC Flow and pharmaceutical companies like Janssen, Patheon, Astra Zeneca and Lonza, the specialists at Anton Paar have printed such a microreactor.

“We developed just three prototypes until we knew the final design and the perfect internal and external dimensions,” said Stefan Pfanner, specialist for additive manufacturing and direct metal laser sintering at the Austrian technology company.

The technology was used to produce the microreactor following the research and simulation by Professor Oliver Kappe and his team from the University of Graz.

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