There are three general categories of filters used. These are:
Clarifying Filters - Usually cartridge-type or bag filters designed to remove small amounts of particles from a solution. Laboratory personnel typically use these types of filters. These types of filters are also used for 0.2 micron terminal sterilization.
Cross/low Filters - These are usually membrane-type filters used for ultrafiltration. In the field of biotechnology these types of filters are used in ultrafiltration devices used in concentrating solutions, and performing buffer exchanges.
Cake Filters - These are filters that are used to remove large amounts of solids from a slurry solution. They would normally be seen in biotechnology in the primary clarification of fermentation batches and in a variety of solids removal steps seen in the production of drugs via organic synthesis. The first two categories, clarifying and crossflow filters, have been very well developed and optimized for use in biotechnology and standard wastewater treatment applications. Equipment is easily available for these applications, whether as small 0.2 micron sterilizing filter used to terminally sterilize 100 ml of product solution, or a small 500 ml crossflow filter used to concentrate a small amount of antibody solution. Many vendors of this equipment to wastewater treatment applications have their origins in the CPI (Chemical Process Industries), and have incorporated many of the scale-up and optimization properties developed in much larger units used in large scale chemical production. As a result, these two filtration unit operations are one of the most optimized and efficient used in wastewater treatment.
The third category, cake filters, although well developed in many wastewater treatment applications, are the least developed of the filtration equipment use by the Biotech Industry. In the organic synthesis laboratory sometimes very simple equipment like a funnel and filter paper is used to accomplish this operation. Some other operations used for this filtration step in the lab are more sophisticated, but many are very labor intensive and limit the capacity of the overall production process itself. As a result, there is a need for optimization of the cake filtration equipment used in biotechnology. Cake filtration equipment is available in batch and continuous modes. Following are several examples of cake filtration units:
Batch or Semi-Batch Equipment
Agitated/Monoplate Nutsche Filter/Dryer Horizontal Plate Filter/Dryer Continuous Equipment Rotary Drum Filter Centrifugal Filter Horizontal Belt Filter
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