'Peristaltic pumps can handle a wide variety of fluids-including fluids that are sterile, shear-sensitive, highly viscous or chemically aggressive'

Category : Pharmacy

...says Philip Nyren, Product Group Manager, Cole-Parmer. Discussing the use, applications and advantages of peristaltic pumps, Nyren explains the solutions that help customers do their jobs.


Meghna Mukherjee & Arshia Khan


Kindly state the use and functionality of peristaltic pumps in the pharmaceutical industry and explain how this technology is cost-effective? Peristaltic pumps are suitable for the dispensing, metering and general transfer of fluids. They are used in the pharmaceutical sector for media transfer, dosing, dispensing, filling, acid-base control and other applications. Peristaltic pumps are well suited to pumping a variety of fluids. The fluid is contained in a flexible tube that is fitted tightly within the pump. A rotating set of rollers alternately compress and relax the tubing. As the tube relaxes, the resulting vacuum draws fluid forward and this pocket of fluid is then captured as the next roller moves into place. This compression cycle essentially pushes the fluid through the tubing.

Peristaltic pumps confine the fluid to the tubing. The benefit is that the pump cannot contaminate the fluid and the fluid cannot contaminate the pump. This contamination-free pumping makes peristaltic pumps great for use in high-purity applications, including the transfer or dosing of chemicals and additives in food, pharmaceutical and semiconductor applications.

Peristaltic pumps are extremely cost-effective. Their only routine maintenance requirement is that the user periodically needs to change the tubing. Since the fluid is confined to the tubing, a peristaltic pump requires little down time compared to other pumping technologies. There is no need to disassemble the pump or to take it off line for cleaning or service.

Our peristaltic tubing pumps offer flow rates as low as 0.00001 mL/min and up to 37 LPM and are able to generate pressures up to 10.2 bar (150 psi).

Describe a few of the applications for peristaltic pumps in the pharmaceutical industry. And, are these pumps FDA/USP compliant?

Peristaltic pumps are used for pumping shear sensitive, high-purity and sterile fluids. Some common applications of peristaltic pumps include media transfer, dosing and filling, pumping process intermediates, pumping IV fluids through an infusion device and numerous other applications where isolation of the product from the environment is critical.

Cole-Parmer is a knowledge and solutions-based company. Our sales and applications team visit pump users to fully understand their application needs.  This assessment typically includes checking the fluid flow rate, regulatory needs, drive control and accuracy requirements, fluid/tubing compatibility and other application parameters and requirements of the end user.

We offer peristaltic pumps suitable for use in labs, pilot plants, process and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) applications. From low-cost fixed-speed pumps to remote and computer-controlled models suitable for critical metering and dispensing applications, Cole-Parmer can offer an appropriate pump solution.

Many of the available pump tubing formulations are both Food and Drug Administration (PDA) and US Pharmacopoeia  (USP)  compliant, ensuring that regulatory compliance can be strictly maintained and documented.

State some of the critical features of the tubing and also if there are any safety concerns.

The only part of a peristaltic pump that comes in contact with the liquid is the tubing. It is the heart of the pump. Master flex™ pump tubing is manufactured to strict tolerances precisely matched to the design of the pump itself. We have as many as 21 different formulations of tubing available for our pumps. This wide variety enables us to match the customer requirements for cost, chemical compatibility, pumping life, regulatory compliance, and flow and pressure needs.

Our sales and applications team asks the correct questions to ensure that the best tubing for any particular application is a component of the overall solution that we recommend. The pump system needs to be delivered according to the expectations of the end user. The most vital safety concern is that the tubing is chemically compatible with the fluid being pumped. We have a database of actual test data that we consult when making our recommendations

What are the advantages of peristaltic pumps over other pumps?

In comparison to other technologies, the   main   advantages   are   low maintenance, ease of use and long- term value of peristaltics. They can handle a wide variety of fluids- - including fluids that are sterile, shear-sensitive, highly viscous or chemically aggressive.

Their versatility is even more impressive when you consider that in applications wherein you need a single pump to handle different fluids, changing over is as simple as loading a new piece of tubing. There is no need to strip down and clean the pump before or after changing fluids. The service life of peristaltic pumps is quite long, which further increases their long-term value.

What are the latest developments in peristaltic pump technology?

Recent developments include some of the newer formulations of pump tubing as well as improvements in control electronics. We have several newer formulations of tubing that are actually two distinct layers—an inner layer and an outer layer. In one example, the inner layer is compatible with a wide range of challenging and aggressive chemicals while the outer layer is very long lasting. Remember, the fluid only contacts the inner surface of the tubing. This solution avoids the compromise common with some of the traditional options for aggressive chemicals: many of those formulations did not last very long in the pump. So in a sense, these new dual-layer tubing formulations give the user the best of two worlds.

Advancements in control electronics and motor technology have given us long-lasting, brushless motors that can be accurately controlled at very low speeds. This has enabled us to engineer pump drives that offer flow rates as low as the 0.00001 mL/min referenced earlier.

How often would a company require after sales service for these pumps?

These are low-maintenance pumps and typically do not need any routine. Service. The tubing is the only wetted part and needs to be replaced periodically depending on the specific parameters of the application. Tubing changes take no more than a few minutes and can be accomplished with only minimal training.

Are there other companies who supply these pumps?

There are other global companies including   IDEX   and   Watson- Marlow, and also a number of local manufacturers.

Who are your clients?

Within the pharmaceutical industry, almost every other company is our client. Apart from pharma, we have our clientele in the chemical, paints and pigments, electronic, water and wastewater, and food & beverage industries as well as government- owned research institutes. 


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