The director of packaging technology spoke about Bosch’s new ‘Falling Film’ study at this year’s Achema in Germany, which looked into the chemical cleaning of different surfaces within bioreactors.
Speaking to in-PharmaTechnologist.com, he said that by simply spraying dried on HP (highly potent) solution with water the cleaning process can be made drastically more efficient.
“By pre-wetting with a spray bottle, otherwise known as fogging, water penetrates into the contamination and starts a swelling and dissolution process,” he said.
“This helps later on when a big volume of water is rinsing down to remove it from the surface,” otherwise known as the falling film method.
Rauschnabel warned however that the method was not effective on all surface types, saying the method is best for stainless steel – most commonly used in stand-in-place equipment.
Asked if this is a commonly used method, he replied: “I know a fog of water is used to do some binding of air-born powder contamination, but it’s not necessarily studied on the positive effect of getting a faster cleaning process right now.”
But when we asked Xcellerex’s senior product manager for single use bioreactors Kenneth Clapp, he argued that though there have not been many studies into the efficacy of pre-wetting, it is already fairly prevalent for those who perform clean-in-place.
“If a cleaning solution has to re-solubilise it and clean it, it’s not as efficient, so if you do hydrate it before you clean it, it is more efficient,” he said.
Single-use will win out
Though Rauschnabel and his team are currently working to improve clean-in-place processes, he told us that single-use tech will always win out when it is a viable replacement.
“A lot of surfaces now cleaned with wet processes can now be replaced by single use, and then you spare the cleaning processes and waste water and media consumption,” he said.
However, he said that disposables will never fully replace permanent equipment, because there are some parts – for example air ducts – that have no single-use counterpart.
Nevertheless, Rauschnabel still predicted that single-use tech will largely wipe out other platforms when he added: “Although I think stainless steel systems will still be present in 50 years, I think all equipment that is directly in contact with the product path will be replaced very soon – as short a time as five years or less.”