What Single-use Pump is best for Biologics Production?
Manufacturing biologics is a delicate process that requires precise design and optimized equipment to run efficiently and effectively. Choosing the wrong equipment for the application can put product quality at risk, resulting in frequent and expensive maintenance, and can even cause product contamination which can ruin the entire batch. Knowing which single-use pump specifically, is the best for biologics, is key to avoiding these costly issues. First, it’s essential to understand whether a single-use or multi-use pump is best for the application. Narrowing down to a specific pump is a matter of analyzing the options and weighing the pros and cons of each.
For all biologic production processes, single-use equipment is becoming the standard best-practice. This is due primarily to the cost savings they offer. Specifically, the advantages of single-use equipment include:
Decreased cleaning and maintenance expenses: single-use equipment inherently requires no cleaning, all parts which come in contact with the biologic products are easy to replace between batches.
Shortened downtime during production line changeover: most single-use equipment, and single-use pumps specifically, are designed to be switched over rapidly, in as little as 30 seconds.
Reduced risk for batch or product contamination, increased production, and facility flexibility: single-use pumps are switched over between batches. The opportunity for contaminants to be introduced into the process is dramatically decreased, ensuring enhanced quality integrity even in a multi-product manufacturing operation.
Lowered initial capital, overhead, and operating costs: single-use pumps typically cost less than traditional, stainless steel equipment.
These factors combine to provide a competitive advantage for all manufacturing operations, and especially for contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) or multi-product facilities.
The question, then, is which single-use pump is best for biologics manufacturing? To maintain product integrity, pumps must offer constant, low-slip, low-shear, low-pulsing flow. If the pumps do not meet these requirements, severe damage can be done to the biologics being handled as well as filter membranes or other media.
Traditionally, the main pump types are peristaltic (hose) pumps, lobe pumps, centrifugal pumps, and piston pumps. There are issues associated with each type. Neither lobe pumps nor piston pumps are currently offered in a single-use variety, so they’re quickly eliminated. Peristaltic pumps often do not meet the pressure requirements of biologic production facilities and are known to cause contamination and flow issues due to material degradation and release. Centrifugal pumps are available in single-use varieties, but the maintenance of this type of equipment can be complicated and costly. Additionally, centrifugal pumps demonstrate poor flow control and can cause high-shear conditions and damaging heat build-up.
An alternate pump type has been introduced to the market that stands above the rest, meeting all pump performance requirements while still being single-use. Quattroflow, a part of Pump Solutions Group (PSG) developed a single-use quaternary diaphragm pump specifically, for pharmaceutical and biotech applications. Modeled after the human heart, the four diaphragms move in sequence, keeping the biologic product always in motion at the specified rate. There are no rotating parts to cause friction, and the pumps are built to maintain flow integrity even under challenging conditions.
For all biologic applications, the single-use quaternary diaphragm pump has become the go-to solution and the gold standard for Chromatography, Virus Filtration, and Tangential Flow Filtration (TFF). Uncompromising flow and operational quality, paired with the cost advantages associated with single-use equipment, show that innovative improvements to biologic production processes are possible and that the “traditional” solutions are not always the best.