Optical dissolved oxygen sensor in hazardous areas optimizes production of sensitive agents
Bonaduz, Switzerland (January 31, 2017) – Sulfur is an essential component of all living cells. It is present in the form of the amino acids cysteine and methionine in many polypeptides, proteins and enzymes. The pharmaceutical industry utilizes the different physiological properties of sulfur-containing compounds to produce drugs based on sulfonamides, thio-ethers and sulfones to treat various diseases.
One of the sulfur component’s characteristics is its sensitivity to oxygen. Their oxidation has to be averted because it will lead to unwanted by-products, reduced yield or, in worst case, the loss of the whole batch.
For this reason, the API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) manufacturer Medichem relies on the optical dissolved oxygen sensor VisiPro DO Ex of Hamilton Bonaduz AG.
The sulfur compounds’ high oxygen sensitivity requires a sensor capable of reliable measurements also in ppb-ranges. Since the sensor is used in the lab as well as in the pilot plant, it has to be ATEX and IECEx certified – as the latter is located in an explosion-prone and hazardous environment. These requirements are fulfilled by VisiPro DO Ex, the first optical dissolved oxygen sensor applicable in hazardous areas. The sensor is characterized by fast response-time and offers every advantage of optical dissolved oxygen sensors. Polarization is redundant, maintenance very easy and quickly performed, the operation straightforward. An integrated micro-transmitter transfers data by a 4-20 mA or a HART-interface directly to the process control system. In addition, wireless communication between sensor and mobile devices is enabled via Bluetooth and the ArcAir App. Thanks to VisiPro DO Ex, critical steps in the process were identified and countermeasures initiated. In this way, the oxygen level decreased significantly and could be adjusted at 300 ppb.