Tech & Gadgets

Using An Exposed Sensor Connector To Sustain Harsh Process Conditions

A large multi-national; a pharmaceutical manufacturer in the United Kingdom produces a fermented product which must be approved and organized by one of its divisions located in continental Europe. This is achieved through the maintenance of parts that have been completed in their original fermentation tanks and send them to the division via road transport.

When the products arrive, they are immediately transferred from the fermentation tanks which will then be returned to the UK. Once the ships were received, they were stripped of their aid equipment, which included temperature and pressure instruments, and then placed in the autoclave for sterilization. Once the autoclave sterilization process has been completed, the filling equipment has been changed and the tank fermentation is prepared for the production of more fermented products.

Customers have a common problem involving the removal and reassembly of the temperature sensor, in particular, the resistance of the PT100 thermometer during the activity and the attempt to obtain a convincing pressure seal after reassembly of the equipment. A manufacturing company is invited to consider the possibility of building a temperature sensor that can remain worthy of the ship even during the sterilization process.

Consequence of PT100 resistance thermometer

Seeing that the PT100 resistance thermometer was to remain in the tank, it became apparent that some type of quick release connector was required. These release Military grade connectors must also withstand frequent cycles of sterilization; many types are contemplated, but most are unsuitable because the connector body must be of 316-grade stainless steel while resisting sterilization temperatures and pressures while being simple to use and stable enough to withstand the processes.

Manufacturers do thorough research before making the final decision to use a commonly used connector for military and aerospace purposes but manufactured with the 316L grade stainless steel required. The Hermetic connectors use an airtight glass that can be made up to 250ºC while withstanding the pressure differential of 69 bars. The connector also has six gold-plated nickel connection pins, allowing either a PT100 duplex with three wire configurations or a single PT100 with a four-wire connection to use. The connection itself is a type of bayonet with external pin locations designed to ensure proper orientation.

The female connector is spring-loaded for a tight and firm fit, while the male connector is welded into a machined 316L stainless steel shell welded to a 6.0 mm sensor width. Diameter made from the same material.

Because the female Hermetic connectors are exposed only to surrounding conditions, it is made of unnecessary stainless steel, so it is made rather than nickel-plated aluminum.

When the unit is built, it’s called SSA200. The customer initially took delivery of 10 units for testing and analysis, and many batches of fermented products were produced and shipped like Military grade connectors. The 10 units are kept in the specifications, forcing the customer to order another 60 units for the remaining fermentation.

Following this success, a well-known India-based vaccine manufacturer successfully completed a three-step trial of a new vaccine and began production plans. It was agreed that the product should be manufactured in 100-liter fermentation flasks, all of which require sterilization after completion of each batch.

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