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27th June 2019

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Biocatalysts’ Plant Extension – Progress Update

Author: Craig Galeozzie, Director of Operations

Progress, Capabilities & Future Proofing

With only 3 months remaining until plant commissioning in September, the factory extension is at a phase where every working day appears full of new challenges and achievements. Whether its managing the delivery of large-scale equipment, finalising utility connections, attending factory acceptance testing (FAT) or just managing the day-to-day project management milestones and workload, it’s certainly keeping all staff connected to the project fully engaged.

It is always impressive when plans and drawings turn into reality, and this project is no exception. The steel structure and platforms which supply the framework for the vessels are already installed, and the design on which we spent such a painstaking amount of resource engineering is mightily impressive, the hours locked away in design workshops now all seem worth it.

extension frames

LEAN by design

The biotech industry is not known for exploiting LEAN manufacturing techniques, however throughout all of the design phases operability and minimising waste were fundamental principles on which we based our future-state design. The facility will not only house some of the world’s leading fermentation and engineering technology, but will also operate in a LEAN efficient model, what we believe is unique to the industry. With annual fermentation volumes capable of exceeding 360,000L, effective process and waste management is essential for future success and delivering customer requirements.

Inside the facility

The core of the plant is our new 10,000L fermenter and its supporting network of seed, feed and process vessels. The seed fermenter has also been designed to actually be a stand-alone 500L unit, doubling our existing capacity at this scale.

Post fermentation process management is crucial to ensure maximum efficiency and recovery of product, here we have a highly technical yet LEAN ‘down-stream-process’ with integral automation and flexibility. A selection of process vessels and bespoke designed cutting-edge equipment ensure our scale-up is as reliable, robust and cost effective as possible.

Homogenisation, centrifugation and filtration process stages have been designed with additional capacity and flexibility. The design is fundamentally futureproofed, to allow for further expansion of scale and capability. A Siemens PCS7 process control system has been installed to ensure efficient industrial automation of the process. Total integrated automation via detailed system architecture will deliver interoperability of all automation components, but also having flexibility and future expansion capability.

whp-inside-factory

So whats next?…

Commissioning, site hand-over, celebratory opening events and ultimately routine manufacturing are scheduled for the remainder of 2019. Staff training, documentation, audit and finally integrating the new plant into the existing facility is also required. Our company vision is to ‘exceed enzyme expectations’… this project is instrumental in achieving that vision, and it will make Biocatalysts unique in our offering to the Biotech industry. Starting with our award winning enzyme discovery and development capabilities through to large scale commercialisation in the new state of the art facility.

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