Labosmeets selects SoliValve® technology and ensures successful first audit by FAMHP (Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products)
Labosmeets is a pharmaceutical CMO (contract manufacturing organisation) located nearby Antwerpen in Belgium, operating since 1973. They manufacture nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products in two buildings located couple of hundred meters apart, one for mixing, one for packing. No matter what the distance is, quality requirements impose strict rules with regards to hygiene and zoning.
Genesis of the project:
Labosmeets was looking for a technology that will allow them to bring blended material stored in big bags from the mixing plant into the packing plant. Typical concepts will use multiple layer of protection, shrinkwrap film and liners to allow the big bag to get back into clean room to feed the packing line. In order to keep a competitive edge, Labosmeets discarded this approach which would be time consuming and also generator of plastic waste, which these days, is something to avoid. The way to go was to transport the big bag in a closed palletized box. The big bag is removed from the box, connected to a powder transfer system located in a grey area and feed, through the transfer system, the packing line in cleanroom.
Labosmeets met Visval for the first time at the Interpack 2017. The SoliValve®100 was displayed together with the SoliValve®250 and as the latter is typically used with big bags, dialog was engaged around the larger system.
Qualification of the technology
Although the SoliValve®250 had all attributes to meet the project requirements, it did not fit in the available space, as the building where the packing lines are located was a single story building in which a mezzanine had been created to gravity feed the sachet filling machines. Labosmeets was adamant to use SoliValve® for their application and it was decided to test the SoliValve®100 at Labosmeets factory to validate the capacity of the system to discharge the powder from a 300 kg big bag and also to meet the feed rate required by the sachet filling line. As the containment capability of the SoliValve®100 had been validated by a SMEPAC test, Labosmeets was convinced that this technology will meet the tightness requirement between different rooms.
To ensure successful trials, Labosmeets and Visval invited Greif, the manufacturer of the big bag, to contribute to the best concept possible for the Passive-SoliValve® to be fitted in the outlet of the big bag liner. Greif was foreseen to be the supplier of the bulk packaging for Labosmeets as they are located within 2 hours drive from the manufacturing site, but more importantly, because they can manufacture the big bags and fit the Passive-SoliValve® in a fully validated clean room. This is key to the quality of the product that will transit in these big bags.
Once trials had proven the capability of the SoliValve® to match discharge requirements and flow rate, Labosmeets ordered, in April 2018, 3 Active-SoliValves®, all to be mounted on the mezzanine, in the grey area, feeding through the floor, the sachet filling lines located in clean rooms. Timeline was tight, and Labosmeets managed the project very well between the various companies to ensure that the equipment was ready for the FAMHP inspection in September 2018.
As not much is visible during powder transfer, Labosmeets requested from Visval the possibility to use the animation that had been created by a young student during the summer (full story here). The animation was made available to Labosmeets immediately and this enabled the FAMHP to understand the fundamental concept of the SoliValve®, it suitability to be an effective barrier between white area and grey area, without compromise.
Labosmeets is proud to announce that FAMHP gave the authorization to produce nutraceutical and pharmaceuticals products after the first inspection without any correction required. Products packed in this new section of the building are delivered to clients since November 2018 and they meet the highest standards required by the pharmaceutical industry.
Since then, Labosmeets has ordered two more Active-SoliValves® to complete the two additional packing suites they had initially planned. They should be commissioned during the summer 2019 to meet increasing demand at Labosmeets.
Visval is proud to be part of this fast track success story, with 5 more SoliValve®100 in the pharmaceutical industry.
Kris Motmans, CEO of Labosmeets says “We have been extremely satisfied with the work that Visval has done for us. From design stage, to manufacturing, delivery, qualification and commissioning, we have interfaced with various members of the Visval team. The consistency of their customer approach helped us to be right first time, according to the aggressive planning we had set. When we had queries, even if they were not directly related to SoliValve®, Visval supported us with their wide solids handling experience. The way they collaborated with Greif was a significant milestone for us to get the right packaging for our blended material to be transported, in an hygienic way from one building to another. No doubt we will continue to work with them in the future.”