Pharmaceutical Brush Cleaning Design

Pavan Mehta and Cheryl Pearce
Case revision date: 
5 pages (Case Study)

Various Brushes Used (Long, Medium, Small, and Flat 
Brushes, from left to right) 
A pharmaceutical company packages solid-dose pharmaceuticals into various capacity bottles and blister pack formats. Several types of brushes are used in the blister pack production process. These brushes are used as part of the feeding system to insert tablets and capsules into the blister pockets. Upon completion of an order, product-specific brush kits are removed from the process equipment and cleaned according to regulatory requirements. The drying time for the brushes is significant, between two to four hours in a gravity convection dryer. Based on an examination of solid-dose production runs over a six month period, an average 41% of the total downtime consisted of setting up equipment for a production run or cleaning equipment from a previous production run. An alternative solution was desired to reduce downtime for cleaning, and for energy savings.

Pavan Mehta, a second year Chemical Engineering co-op student at the University of Waterloo, looked at the effectiveness of a brush spinner and corresponding jig design to hold flat brushes for drying at the pharmaceutical packaging facility.

Learning objectives: 
The teaching objective of this case is to illustrate topics in critical thinking, design, and continuous improvement. The case could be used as
a conceptual design case for CHE 100 (Chemical Engineering Concepts). It could also be used to complement lecture material, specifically
in ME 100 (Mechanical Engineering Communication and Professionalism), CHE 325 (Strategies for Process Improvement and Product
Development), CHE 482 (Chemical Engineering Design Workshop) and ME 380 (Mechanical Engineering Design Workshop).
Key words: 
Pharmaceutical; Needs Analysis; Conceptual Design; Decision Matrix; Cost Analysis
CEAB attributes: 
Investigation; Design
Module 01 – Case Study
Module 02 – Needs Analysis
Module 03 – Conceptual Design
Module 04 – Final Design and Testing

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