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Charis at Work.....Pharmaceutical Fermentation
  As fermentation in the pharmaceutical industry involves high value products, disruption to the process or loss of product can have considerable cost implications. Foaming can be a very expensive problem in many ways. Blocked filters cause contamination and loss of product. Overflows not only lose the product, they result in expensive and time consumming clear up operations. There is also the very real chance that the liquid could be completely turned into foam and lost if not controlled quickly enough.

The answer to controlling the foam is to add an antifoam agent. These can be very effective, but add too much and there may be damaging results to the process. Some cultures will not tolerate antifoam at all. Antifoams also tend to reduce the ability of gas to transfer into the liquid phase. So it is important to add antifoam in controlled quantities only when needed.

The technology behind all Charis Foam Control Systems came from research into foam control during pharmaceutical fermentation. The sensors and control equipment were designed specifically for foam control and are not modified level sensors.
Some fermenter manufacturers offer a basic foam sensor, but these normally lack the accuracy needed for positive control due to their inability to operate properly when fouled. With many years experience of working with the pharmaceutical industry Charis have come to know the special requirements and so every Charis system has the benefit of the unique IMA®Sensing technology that allows the system to work reliably even when the sensor is completely fouled with product. All materials used in the systems are FDA approved, the sensors are hygenic and steam sterilisable, material certs are available, and Charis systems are in line with CIP requirements.

The picture above shows a Charis sensor fitted to a small fermenter. The range of sensors cover all sizes of fermenters from 1 litre to 20 cubic litres, and come with a comprehensive range of pharmaceutical fittings. Controllers are available in wall mount or rack mount forms, and there is also a range of smaller lab sensors complete with a bench standing controller and integral antifoam pump. The controllers can be interfaced with the client's own process controller or to an antifoam pump giving fully automatic operation. Further details can be found in the Foam Control section.

To illustrate how a Charis Foam Control System could help solve your foam problems and create a more efficient process here are just two examples of Charis at Work.


A large, well known U.S. diagnostic pharmaceutical manufacturer were having problems with foam control in a production fermenter. The fitting of a Charis Foam Control system had immediate effect in cost saving and efficiency. Within a week antifoam use had dropped by 40% and product yield rose by 15%. On investigation it was found that the pre Charis system had been adding too much antifoam which had significantly reduced the efficiency of the process. Due to Charis's uniqueIMA®Sensing technology the foam probe remains active even when fouled with product or residual foam thus ensuring accurate dosing of antifoam under all conditions.

One of the problems with generated foam is that it can significantly reduce the amount of headspace in a fermenter, causing a reduction in product volume and thus a reduction in effective through-put. By installing a Charis Foam Control system a major British pharmaceutical company reduced its foam problem and increased production through-put, giving a significant saving in antifoam use together with a increase in production efficiency.


If you feel that Charis Technology could help you control your foam problems in a cost effective and reliable manner please contact us.

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