Prof. dr. ir. Ingmar Nopens - Ghent University
Prof. dr. Thomas De Beer - Ghent University
Traditionally, the production of pharmaceuticals is realized using batch processing steps which can be fairly inefficient, time-consuming, and poorly upscalable. Recent clarification by the regulatory authorities as well as the industry has accelerated the search for new manufacturing technologies. Consequently, a transition towards continuous manufacturing which includes real-time process monitoring and closed-loop control has gained tremendous attention over the past few years. This is because of the economic, environmental, safety, and product-related advantages of a continuous manufacturing line. Driven by this change in mindset, innovative continuous from powder-to-tablet lines are being developed for secondary manufacturing of pharmaceutical tablets.
To fully profit from the advantages of continuous manufacturing a good process understanding and controllability are indispensable. The goal of my research is to improve the currently existing models for different unit operations within continuous direct compression. These models are then to be used in advanced control strategies.
Step-change experiments are performed on (parts of a) continuous manufacturing line. The measured responses are then to be described using mathematical models. Simple mechanistic models can be employed, but also first principles CFD models or data-driven models. These models can then, possibly after a reduction of complexity, be leveraged to develop and optimize control strategies.