A multinational vaccine company noted that creep in standard operating procedure (SOP) execution and operator error was significantly affecting productivity. Could a column packing success rate of 62% be improved and labor costs reduced?
Traditional manual and semi-automated packing methods for chromatography columns depend heavily on the capabilities and attention levels of a few skilled operators. During packing, valve adjustment, pump flow rates and piston movement must be manually controlled by the operators and recorded in a batch record. These are lengthy, complex, and error-prone processes. In addition, manual and semi-automated packing methods can waste substantial amounts of media, the costs of which can run as high as $15,000 per liter; typically 5% to 10% of the total column volume of media is left in the slurry tank after packing. Expiry issues with blending this excess into the next pack often mean that the excess media is thrown out.
Available with all Resolute Hydraulic columns, AutoPak is an integrated system which automates the unit operations required for chromatography column preparation prior to use.
The three key unit operations that are automated are described below.
- Operator is only required to push the start button and enter a slurry concentration for packing to begin – no further operator input required
- Packing sequence primes, fills and packs the column
- No excess slurry required; All of the slurry can be used to pack the column, minimizing sorbent carry-over and wastage
- Unpacking sequence initiated at the push of a button and continues until the column is unpacked
- Option to repeat a buffer-efficient rinse cycle for maximum media recovery
- Unpacking volumes equivalent to (and often better than) manual unpacking
- No additional equipment required
- Clean-In-Place (CIP)
- CIP sequence ensures column, associated pipework and valve weirs are independently swept with cleaning liquid during operation
- All waste liquids are exhausted through single exit point for easy monitoring of pH or conductivity
- No additional pump required
By moving to a fully automated packing platform, the vaccine company forecast a packing success rate increase from 62% to 99%. The use of automation is on track to reduce labor costs by 35% on average and the new columns have a smaller cleanroom footprint which translates into more space in tight cleanrooms. The adoption of a single-use slurry-handling system also simplifies operation and reduces cleaning time.
Read the full article here: http://www.genengnews.com/gen-articles/column-packing-changing-art-to-science/5535