08 May 2020

By Mitch Spronck

In this blog, we highlight one of the newest technologies from Equilibar: The SD single use back pressure regulator. Especially relevant in this time of COVID19 and related vaccine development as the SD series can be useful in e.g. filtration skids for large scale inexpensive drug manufacturing.  The SD series is definitely very useful for many other applications and industries as well!

We asked Equilibar senior design engineer Ryan Heffner to share his insight on this new regulator and to explain what some unique features of these single use regulators.

Why extend the existing product range with a single use device?

Equilibar already had a wide range of back pressure regulators available, including the FD series for application in the food and pharma industries. Why develop a new single use device based on Equilibar’s characteristic and unique diaphragm-sealed & multiple-orifice dome-loaded back pressure technology, one may wonder?

Ryan Heffner explains: “The SD series regulators were mainly developed to accommodate the increasing and demanding requirements of the current biopharmaceutical industry. In order to meet these requirements, a quick and easy-to-assemble product solution was developed, comprised of a steel cradle with wing nut closing and single-use USP Class VI HDPE inserts.” This new design thus offers additional functionality and characteristics, enabling an even wider use and adoption of this innovative back pressure technology in industries such as (bio)pharmaceutical industry and biotech, cosmetics, food and ultra-high purity systems.

Introduction to the design and its key features

An exploded intersection view of this model is shown to the right.

SD_exploded_intersection

Looking at this model, some characteristics of its performance become clear:

  • Easy to use: The valve is easy to (dis)assemble though very robust, making sure no time is wasted in replacing a used regulator for a fresh one;
  • Wide turndown: as mentioned before, the regulators have a CV rangeability of 1:10.000, which gives them a huge turndown;
  • Low flow performance: Equilibar single use valves work very well at low flows  – for a setpoint of 1 barg (15 psig), the minimum flow that can be achieved is as low as 1 ml/min;
  • Precision: Equilibar regulators are capable of controlling pressure with high precision over a wide range of flows. In addition, the SD valves have negligible hysteresis and provide excellent stability;
  • Response time: Equilibar regulators respond instantaneously to variations in flow or setpoint pressure changes;
  • Pilot regulation: The valve can be piloted with both manual and electronic pressure controllers, making it even more versatile and accessible;

Applications and intended use for the SD Series regulators

The features of an Equilibar SD series regulator as listed above make it an excellent fit for single use applications, such as for example tangential flow filtration (TFF). Ryan: “One valve can fully open to large CV values, which provides great advantages in low pressure TFF applications. In addition to that, the valve can handle CV ranges of 1:10.000, which makes it ideal for both lower and higher flows.’’

Certainly TFF and filtration is not the only application in which Equilibar’s single use technology can be used. Ryan describes that the CV range gives rise to more possibilities: “Because the valve is so versatile, it is a great candidate and addition to almost every step of the pharmaceutical manufacturing process.”

Regarding the use of the SD regulator for other filtration applications, Ryan emphasizes that the pressure on the dome is sometimes set to atmospheric pressure (0 barg): “When the pilot pressure is set to 0 barg on one side of the filter, this valve can freely open up with minimal restriction to achieve maximum flow. By setting a certain pressure on the valve on the other side of the filter, the pressure on that side will be held constant, even when fouling occurs.”

Interestingly, the SDO series regulators could also be used in combination with an active pulsation dampener, which is another recent development by Equilibar. This device can be used to dampen downstream pulsation utilizing the bottom diaphragm of an SD or FD regulator. The total amplitude of the pulsation can thereby be cut in half.

As mentioned, users have also identified great potential for use of the SD regulator in biotech, cosmetics, food and ultra-high purity systems. We encourage engineers across industries to contact us to discuss their potential applications –  we are happy to share our expertise!

Pilot control and automation of the SD regulator

Because of their extremely fast control capability, the SD series regulators are a perfect match for (computer) automated control. This can be realized with an electronic pilot regulator. Pressure Control Solutions offers a range of electronic pressure controllers designed for this purpose.

The schematic below shows the Equilibar back pressure regulator can be piloted by electronic and manual regulators, in which multiple orifices are sealed by a diaphragm.

graph SD manual automated pilot control

Easy (de)assembly

The video below demonstrates the regulator by way of a (de-) assembly of this single use regulator. Only a 2-minute-watch in which you will be amazed about the simplicity of this innovative design.

Want to know more?

Please visit our SD Series product page or contact us if you want to know more about the application of the SD Series in your application. We welcome any questions you may have and are willing to discuss the possibilities for a trial delivery.