Continuous innovation to meet latest bio-waste treatment needs

“There are no shortcuts in bio-waste treatment,” asserts Steve Overton one of the directors at Suncombe, which recently celebrated 60 years of supplying clean-in-place (CIP), bio-waste treatment and control systems to its global customer base. “But it is no longer enough to ensure the equipment meets all the rigorous safety and bio-hazard regulations, it must also offer more sustainable and flexible solutions,” he says.So Suncombe has and continues to undertake the continuous development of its cleaning and critical process systems. These include PureVessel™; Containerised EDS; MicroEDS™; and a range of Utility Panels. Here we take a quick look at these recent innovations.

PureVessel is a range of systems for sanitary and sterile liquid storage, preparation, thermal treatment and mixing, typically required in the biopharma sector, laboratories and research institutes. These systems have been developed to operate within the Hybrid bioprocessing model, in which a bio processing facility employs a combination of single use technologies (SUT) and stainless steel multi use equipment. There are advantages in employing re-usable stainless steel equipment. The company has developed a pre-validated combination of PureVessel. PureCIP™ or MobileCIP® can be individually ‘plugged’ into the automation system, allowing the CIP/SIP to recognise the PureVessel being cleaned and select the optimum cycle.

Containerised EDS systems were developed at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. These high specification biowaste effluent decontamination systems (EDS) were designed, built and commissioned in an extremely short timeframe to help expand the vaccine production programme at a global manufacturer. Normally vaccine production areas require a dedicated EDS for BSL3 biowaste, housed within secure containment rooms. However, due to the fast-track nature of this project, there was no time to build these. So Suncombe developed EDS which could be mounted in purpose-built containerised modules, with full containment barriers built inside. These modules also incorporate many features, to meet essential requirements for a BSL3 biowaste treatment system

MicroEDS is a low volume biowaste decontamination system for treating BSL 1, 2 & 3 waste using an innovative batch process allowing positive release of all of waste. A buffer vessel is used to provide a centralised collection facility, while a set volume batch heat treatment facility is used, to treat the effluent in batches at variable settings. The MicroEDS has been specifically developed to fit into new facilities or to be retrofitted into existing facilities and is designed to operate from a single 13 amp 230 Vac plug (150 and 300 versions) using established electrical heating technology.

Suncombe was one of the world’s first manufacturers of Utility Panels. These, custom designed panels are used for service entry, utility entry, CIP and SIP routing and also for utility piping and control, outside of the clean area. This enables the removal of equipment and instruments from the production areas, locating them in service areas to provide additional production area space and allow remote maintenance.

“With all these innovations we are enabling our clients to meet modern production challenges and, through improved design and control systems, meet environmental targets by increasing efficiency and better water and energy use. It is no longer just about the best treatment solution, but also about how we go about that and the flexibility we can bring to the processes we provide,” explained Steve Overton.

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