Interview: Kurt Knauder about the TechCenter
Research & Product development in the TechCenter
In the following interview, our Director of the Business Line Products & Components, who is also the manager of our Lebring subsidiary, provides an overview of research and development at our in-house TechCenter.
Find out what the TechCenter focuses on, how product development works and what his personal highlight is in connection with the TechCenter.
Research and development is a top priority at ZETA. An in-house TechCenter ZETA was established for this purpose. What is so special about it?
What is special about our TechCenter ZETA in Lebring is that we provide our customers with the perfect environment and equipment for the development and optimization of (bio)pharmaceutical manufacturing processes and work together with them on future-oriented solutions.
In close cooperation with the customer and in exchange with renowned research partners, we develop and test an enormous range of specific technical solutions.
We are very well positioned and can cover everything from mixing tests in the upstream process for bioreactors including kLa value characterization to tests in the downstream area and Freeze & Thaw systems for storage and transport of active ingredients. The newly developed stainless steel connectors round off our portfolio with sterile technology.
What equipment does the TechCenter currently have and what is planned for the future?
On a test area of currently 100 m2, a total of 4 experiment booths for parallel experiments are available. By downscaling production plants to laboratory or pilot scale, a wide range of test series can be carried out.
In addition to perfect equipment with various laboratory vessels and reactors, the TechCenter is also equipped with steam raising units, TCUs and autoclaves so that processes can be run precisely and close to the original.
Thus, the results can be optimally used for the implementation in the customer's process. The possibility of characterizing the kLa value of biofermenters, which can be carried out both in the laboratory and directly on the customer's premises, should be particularly emphasized.
We are already planning further investments in the research and development environment at the Lebring site in order to guarantee our customers even higher product and process quality in the future.
What are the TechCenter's main areas of focus and why do you specialize in precisely these topics?
The basic prerequisite for the development and optimization of biopharmaceutical processes are complex and elaborate procedures. Many stages must be passed through before a process or product is ready for the market. When it comes to process development, the main focus is on conducting a wide variety of test series and experiments. These experimental approaches are often combined with simulations. One example of this is computational fluid dynamics (CFD) studies, which are used to analyze data that is difficult to measure, thus providing deep insights into a wide range of processes.
Process development often goes hand in hand with the development of components that generate added value for (bio)pharmaceutical production. These can be sterile connectors, mouseholes or stirrer blade combinations with special geometries. One of the focuses of the TechCenter ZETA is the production of prototypes of such components.
Many stages must be passed through before a process or product is ready for the market. When it comes to process development, the main focus is on conducting a wide variety of test series and experiments.
Product development usually takes place in close cooperation with external scientific partners. With which institutions does the TechCenter ZETA cooperate?
We at ZETA are very proud to count many nationally and internationally renowned universities among our partners in the R&D area. For the further development of our BMRF XXL magnetic agitators, for example, we work closely with the Technical University of Hamburg, but we are also in intensive exchange with the Graz University of Technology or the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna when it comes to the topic of product development. This enables bundled know-how for high-quality customer solutions.
Which product development are you personally particularly proud of?
Certainly one of the most complex but most interesting product developments for our customers is that of the sterile connector. With this innovative product, sterile connections can be made in clean rooms, which has a significant effect on meeting the requirements of Annex 1 of the GMP guidelines for the manufacture of sterile active ingredients. In addition, the connector can be reused several times - this contributes to waste avoidance in the spirit of sustainability.
"This is a milestone in the further development of sterile technology" is what one customer remarked about this product. This makes us proud and we are of course pleased to have achieved this milestone.
Our expert is looking forward to hearing from you!