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Last updateThu, 26 Apr 2018 2pm

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The VMA Knowledge Forum, Part One: Technology at the Forefront

The VMA Knowledge Forum, Part One: Technology at the Forefront

The first VMA Valve Industry Knowledge F...

Air Valves in Piping Systems

Air Valves in Piping Systems

Liquid piping systems are prone to colle...

Are Valves from Low-Cost Countries Getting Better?

Are Valves from Low-Cost Countries Getting Better?

The last 25 years have seen standards cr...

Managing the Generation Gap: Much Ado About Nothing?

Managing the Generation Gap: Much Ado About Nothing?

The baby boomer generation was the most ...

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Industry Headlines

Chemical Activity Trends Suggest Growth into Early 2019

Wednesday, 25 April 2018  |  Chris Guy

The American Chemistry Council's Chemical Activity Barometer slipped 0.1% in April to 121.6% on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. This follow...

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Industry Headlines

Val-Matic Names Andrew Brudniak Project Manager

1 DAY AGO
Val-Matic Names Andrew Brudniak Project Manager

After four years with Val-Matic Valve & Mfg. Corp. , Andrew Brudniak was recently promoted to project manager, after having recently held the position of sales engineer for the northeast territory.

Brudniak also has passed the exam for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification offered...

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Weir Group Plans to Sell Flow Control Division

5 DAYS AGO

The Weir Group’s board of directors will initiate a process to sell the Flow Control division. This process will focus on maximizing value for shareholders, with all options to be considered and no fixed timetable. Proceeds will be used to further reduce leverage and to fund future investment in...

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Chemical Activity Trends Suggest Growth into Early 2019

20 HOURS AGO

The American Chemistry Council's Chemical Activity Barometer slipped 0.1% in April to 121.6% on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. This follows six consecutive monthly gains and a dip from the barometer’s highest point since modeling began. The barometer remains up 3.8% on a 3MMA compa...

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Formosa Selects Louisiana for $9.4B Petrochemical Project

23 HOURS AGO

Formosa Petrochemical Corp. has selected St. James Parish in Louisiana for a $9.4 billion chemical manufacturing complex and has purchased a 2,400-acre site along the west bank of the Mississippi River.

Located just downriver from the Sunshine Bridge, the complex would be built in two phases and prod...

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40% of Small Manufacturers Likely to Add Staff this Year

23 HOURS AGO

Xometry released the findings of its quarterly Small Manufacturing Index, showing that 40% of small manufacturers surveyed are likely to hire more employees this year as business confidence has risen from a year ago. Additionally, 28% of those surveyed stated they have hired more employees since Q1 20...

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IHS Markit U.S. Manufacturing Index Rose in April

1 DAY AGO

Manufacturers reported the greatest improvement in overall business conditions since September 2014 in April. This was highlighted by the seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rising from 55.6 in March to 56.5.

Stronger growth in new orders drov...

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The Biopharm Industry

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This segment of the chemical processing industry must deal with levels of cleanability and sterility that will ensure the safety of those who use or make the products.

As the world’s populations grow and age, developing countries expectations rise and new research brings new health solutions to the world, the biopharmaceutical (biopharm) industry flourishes. Like all chemical processing, biopharm has its own set of standards, special processing needs and challenges in materials and design.


THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

At its most general level, one can define the chemical industry as the aggregate of entities engaged in processing raw materials using chemical reactions (often aided by pressure and/or forms of energy such as heat) to convert those materials into products. That general level has numerous subgroups, such as biopharmaceutical, organic/inorganic chemicals, industrial gases, petrochemicals, agrochemicals, polymers and paints. These subgroups are categorized further by the end-product goods and commodities such as dyes, acids, alcohols, fertilizers, hydrogen, nitrogen, herbicides, ammonia, soaps, detergents, hair sprays, enamels, varnishes and many more.

Commonly, the processes required to manufacture these products use constituents or conversion enablers that are toxic, or they result in products and byproducts that may be toxic themselves. The inputs and outputs to those processes can present additional challenges because of physical and chemical properties that can make media extremely corrosive or abrasive. Also, the media can be difficult to propagate and control throughout the process flow in situations where physical/chemical properties result in media that is semi-solid.

In each segment of the industry and in every subcategory of these segments, valves play a critical role. A variety of valves are appropriate for various applications and deployed for handling different types of media. Covering the entire industry is too great a task for one article. Therefore, the information that follows highlights where and how valves are used in chemical processing for the biopharm market.


THE MARKET

The biopharm industry can be divided into two segments: Pharmaceutical, which uses chemical processes to manufacture therapeutic and health-related products; and biotechnology (biotech), which uses living organisms and biological processes to create products used in many fields such as pharmacology, medicine, agriculture and many others. A primary example is therapeutic protein used for medical and therapeutic applications. Most biotech applications involve cell cultures of genetically modified organisms including yeasts, insect cells, bacteria cells or mammalian cells.

A full range of pumps, valves and instrumentation comparable to other processing systems can be used in the biopharm industry. However, stringent requirements regarding cleanability and materials of construction mean that some products that perform ordinary and useful flow control functions in other applications must either be used with great caution or not used at all. An example is check valves. Check valves are installed tentatively because even sanitary check valves allow formation of “dead areas,” despite the fact they are functioning according to specifications. Such areas potentially harbor contaminants or toxic agents.

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