Improving CAR-T Therapeutical Production

With the world’s attention focused on the Coronavirus, I wanted to focus on some of the amazing therapies being developed in the Life Sciences industry. I caught up with Emerson’s Alan Johnston who shared a presentation he gave at the Simposio AFI last year.

He discussed gene therapy, cell therapy and CAR-T which combines both. These have the goal to treat disease by changing the blueprint to our body at a microscopic level. This is done by using minute pieces of ourselves to repair problems that may cause disease. This approach is designed to fix problems at their source and potentially provide a permanent cure rather than a lifetime of treatment. Continue Reading

Considerations for Ball Valves in High Temperature Applications

Petroleum refineries and several other processing industries have high-temperature flows. Valves used for throttling and on/off control must be made of materials to withstand the high temperatures.

In a Hydrocarbon Processing article, Using ball valves in high-temperature applications, Emerson’s Jason Jablonski and Wade Helfer share recommendations for manufacturers and producers to use in specifying and purchasing suitable valves.

For their article, high temperature is any process fluid greater than 400 degF/204 degC. Continue Reading

Improved Performance through Digitalization for Downstream Producers

At the 2019 Asian Downstream Summit in a PTQ / DigitalRefining publication, Emerson’s Jonas Berge offered his thoughts in an article, How digitalisation is transforming downstream operations.

He opened highlighting some of the challenges for refiners, chemical & petrochemical producers.

PTQ - How digitalisation is transforming downstream operationsThese include:

…unscheduled downtime, increasing maintenance expenditures, loss of asset integrity, escalating energy costs and carbon footprints, safety incidents, and rising operation costs.

He noted that digital transformation (DX): Continue Reading

Accelerating the Development and Production of Therapeutics

The focus of the world right now is on how to defeat the Coronavirus and return to more normal times. Manufacturers in the Life Sciences industry are racing at a breakneck pace to develop vaccines and treatments. Automation, analytics play a large role in both the development process for new therapies and ongoing optimized production.

I’ve shared many of the ways how in blog posts in the Life Sciences & Medical category. A few examples include Biopharmaceutical Product and Process Knowledge Management, Real-Time Adaptive Scheduling in Life Science Manufacturing and Predictive and Prescriptive Maintenance in Life Sciences.

I share this as background for an excellent video recorded at Amazon’s AWS re:Invent 2019 conference featuring Moderna Therapeutics. Although this video was recorded before the COVID-19 outbreak was well understood, the principles they have applied in their manufacturing processes have been put to use in their work on a potential vaccine. Continue Reading

Reducing Excess Energy Costs and Streamlining Maintenance Practices

Steam is an important source of heat transfer in many manufacturing processes due to its high heat content and consistent temperature at a given pressure. Steam traps are, “…used to discharge condensates and non-condensable gases with a negligible consumption or loss of live steam.

I caught up with Emerson’s Tom Bass, wireless product management director, who noted that these steam traps are automatic valves that require ongoing maintenance. Failed steam traps represent a source of energy waste, resulting in poor steam quality as well as increased fuel consumption and emissions.

Steam traps fail frequently and in a variety of ways, but they often go unchecked due to inconsistent and infrequent audits, leaving the plant operations staff blind to any issues. Types of failures include blowing through, flooding and plugging.

Tom highlighted some studies showing that failure rates for steam traps range from 12.5% to 25% annually, and 5-10% of total energy costs are typically lost through leaking steam traps. If the failure is the valve not opening, the process can experience loss of heat transfer and in turn a loss of production. It can also cause a system to flood or experience water hammer, which may lead to equipment damage and downtime. Continue Reading