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December 15, 2022 10 mins
In this podcast, we talked with Dennis Hodgson and Phil Sanders from Agilitech about the benefits of single-use mixers, dealing with supply chain concerns, ensuring scalability, and tailoring a mixer to meet specific process needs. Benefits of Single-use Mixers We began the podcast by talking about the overall benefits of single-use technologies for mixing. Dennis explained that single-use mixers are very versatile and can be used to replace stainless steel vessels within the manufacturing area. Single-use mixers all have the same advantages of other single use components, such as coming fully sterile and eliminating the need to steam and clean in place. Dennis went on to say that another big advantage that single-use mixers have over stainless steel is the ability to customize. For example, a 500 L single-use mixer can be used with a virtually unlimited array of customized vessel configurations, which would include the inlet outlet, port configurations, sampling ports, vent filters, and various process analytics that can be added. Next, we talked about adoption of single-use technology for mixing and possible concerns that customers might have. Dennis shared that a big concern recently has been supply chain shortages that have created limited availability and long lead times for single-use consumables. He said that he has heard from some clients that they have had to skip planned production batches because the single use bags that they needed to process the batch were not available. Phil added that supply chain concerns have caused some of their clients to think about moving to stainless steel systems to avoid any production delays. Single-use Technologies Supply Chain Challenges I followed up by asking what could be done to address single use supply chain issues moving forward. Dennis explained that Agilitech has the luxury of not being tied to any one supplier, so they can source from multiple vendors. This allows them the flexibility to move between vendors and load projects based on their capacity and lead times. This also allows them to make sure that they are offering competitive pricing because vendors know that they're not the sole source of a component. Ensuring Flexibility in Single-use Mixing We then talked about mixers presenting unique challenges in that they are used for a variety of applications with many different demands. I asked how Agilitech can ensure that their single-use mixer has the flexibility needed for multiple applications. Dennis explained that because Agilitech isn’t tied to a single design, they are able to have conversations with the client to customize a solution for their needs. Their main goal is to make a product that meets the needs of the individual companies and their process. Additionally, they design their systems purposefully to handle many different capabilities such as sampling, analytical measurements, weight measurements, temperature control, etc. Because they use standard control hardware, their mixing vessels can easily be integrated into existing control systems such as Delta V or Wonderware through the available Ethernet IP connection. This allows users to read and write to certain control parameters. I then asked about which options are available for customization on the single-use mixers. Dennis said that they can customize all the inlet and outlet ports with regards to port size, tubing length, connector type, etc. As far as the mixing units themselves go, they can be jacketed or not, have load cells or not, have probe analytics such as pH, conductivity, temperature, DOE, and optical density, so all those different analytical devices can be incorporated as well. Phil added that if there are specific standards within an organization, for what control systems need to be installed on these systems Agilitech is flexible with Rockwell, Delta V, Siemens, all the major platforms that customers might need. I followed up by asking about how these customizatio...
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