Homogenizer Case Study – Pharmaceutical Eye Ointment

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The Problem: Undesired Particles in Eye Ointment Carrier Medium

A pharmaceutical company approached Sonic with an eye ointment production issue — the ointment, while effective, had very small particles in the carrier medium. This meant that the patient using the ointment would feel the small particles.  This sensation is similar to the feeling of having something in the eye. As you can imagine, the feeling of having something in the eye meant that no matter how effective the active ingredient, the treatment would not be used because of the discomfort experienced by the patient. All of this meant the product was useless.

The Solution: The Sonolator High Pressure Homogenizer

Sonic suggested a proof of concept trial in our lab. The pharmaceutical company agreed and provided a sample of material for the trial. We suggested a trial of the carrier medium only, because the active ingredient was very expensive. However, the client insisted that the ointment including the active ingredient be tested in the Sonolator high pressure homogenizer to ensure not only desired reduction in particle size of the carrier medium, but also effective dispersion of the active ingredient. This led to the most expensive lab test in the history of Sonic Corporation. The client attended the trial and provided a sample of eye ointment worth over $50,000 to test in our lab equipment. Unfortunately, this material was good for analysis only because the Sonic lab is not maintained at pharmaceutical industry hygiene standards.

The good news is the time, money and effort was worthwhile. The particle size of the carrier medium was reduced to a point that it was no longer a possible irritant to the eye.

Homogenizer Design

The images below show the custom unit design. This system was designed specifically for the pharmaceutical environment. Note the sloped electrical boxes, stainless steel motor, white epoxy wash-down duty painted parts. The rest of the system is 316L stainless steel with wash-down duty electrical connections and stainless-steel levelers. This setup is rated to deliver up to 400 PSI at up to 35 gallons per minute. The progressive cavity pump is 3A sanitary rated. All the piping is engineered for clean-in-place (CIP) operations, this includes a Sonolator orifice bypass, sloped piping with low point drains and automated valving to facilitate CIP procedures.

Sonic Corporation’s custom manufactured systems can be designed to meet the most demanding environments. Whether the pharmaceutical industry or the explosion proof chemical industry Sonic can provide mixing, emulsion, dispersion and blending solutions for all environments and process goals.

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About the Author:

Rob Brakeman
Owner & Director