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19.03.2018 Pigging system ensures efficient processing of ointments

URESH, Biel-Benken, Switzerland, has supplied a bespoke double pigging system to the factory near Rotterdam of Dutch manufacturing pharmacist Tiofarma BV which produces ointments, among other products, for various pharmaceutical companies. The pigging system installed at Tiofarma’s filling plant sets new standards, cleaning the pipework in a highly efficient manner. The plant was planned and constructed by URESH together with its partners. The pipes are double-walled and can be heated to provide an optimum processing temperature for the ointment. The system is validated and has been in operation since 2016. Around 350 different batches have been processed to date. 
Filling of medical ointments presents significant production challenges. The product must be transported through pipes and filled with zero risk of contamination. Traditionally the lines in a complex process need to be removed, cleaned, sterilised and re-installed before they can be used for the next production batch. The high viscosity of ointments makes the process more difficult. Thorough flushing cannot wash out the residual product mass from the pipes but the material must be cut out and disposed of as special waste. This is not only very expensive owing to the work involved but also on account of the value of the ointment ingredients.
The new intelligent pigging system provides an enormous improvement for this filling and cleaning process. The double pig runs in a closed system which can also be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide. The URESH pigs are pushed with water through pipes with a diameter of 6.6cm and a total length of 30m to eject the residual ointment from the pipes. Two parallel filling systems are connected. The pig allows the use of most of the 90 litres of ointment mass be left in the pipes. This becomes a significant revenue factor when processing a product costing up to 100,000 Swiss francs per 4m of pipe. The fully automatic system allows Tiofarma to convert its production line for different products in a significantly shorter time. This enables the company to easily produce multiple small batches. 
Sending station of the URESH pigging system at Tiofarma

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