New integrated Pilot Plant 

The Department is thrilled to announce a major new integrated Pilot Plant to be installed in the Faculty of Engineering’s teaching facility ‘The Diamond’ building. 

The Diamond Pilot Plant (DiPP), will feature a world leading continuous powder processing plant - the first of its kind in any UK University.

This pioneering new facility will manufacture pharmaceutical tablets from blends of model active ingredients and excipients. DiPP will include key powder processes steps for formulated product manufacture such as crystallization, blending, granulation and tableting.

DiPP will spearhead industry driven research and learning for engineering students across the globe. Researchers will target industry based problems to understand the different mechanisms in modelling the whole continuous process.

Students will use the facility to test design models for individual unit operations and also use the integrated manufacturing process for open ended research and design projects, making sure they are industry ready after graduation.

There are also opportunities to use DiPP for training and continuing education for employees in the pharmaceutical industry and those industry sectors that manufacture formulated products.

Head of Department Professor Jim Litster said;

“The pharmaceutical industry is undergoing the most significant change in manufacturing processes in the last 30 years. It is tremendous that our students can use this cutting edge technology in their education at MEng, MSc and PhD level studies.”

“The new continuous powder processing plant emphasises the importance of complex particulate products, and formulated products more broadly, in modern chemical engineering - and we are reflecting this our new curriculum. It is truly research led teaching.”

Project Lead, Professor Agba Salman said;

“Product development using continuous powder processing platforms is becoming the first choice in the pharmaceutical industry.”

“The integrated powder processing line here at Sheffield will help address knowledge gaps by experimental and modelling techniques and support industry’s drive to adopt continuous solid oral dosage manufacturing technologies.”

DiPP will be launched at the University of Sheffield in Spring 2018.

Key features

  • Dedicated Industrial Control Room

The processes and units will be controlled, monitored and optimised by state of the art distributed control system. This system enables students and researchers to experiment and conduct high-quality research safely pushing boundaries to meet industry needs. It helps to teach and understand the basic and complex instrument and control schemes, safety systems, process integration, commissioning and shutdowns, and production costs and maintenance.

  • Power to X pilot plant to convert renewable energy to environmentally friendly diesel fuel

The Power to X pilot plant gives students an opportunity to learn hands on core skills in mass and energy balances, reaction engineering and separation processes applied to cutting edge technology. At all stages, students can measure intermediate and product compositions on line, and use the information to optimize the product and process. The different grades of diesel produced by different student teams will be tested on dedicated diesel engine test beds, to discover optimum performance-composition characteristics.

  • Next-generation bio-manufacturing using sustainable feedstock

DiPP will house state-of­ the-art fermenters for cultivation of various microorganism types, novel bioreactors and advanced downstream processing instrumentation for product recovery; purification and formulation. It will provide hands on training in fermentation, bioprocess monitoring and downstream processing including protein separations and formulations. In addition, the students will get the chance to learn about the challenges in scaling up production.

  • Manufacturing of high value formatted products eg pharmaceutical dosage forms

Students using this facility will be immersed in the culture of product engineering using high class characterisation equipment to measure both the properties of the formulations and the attributes of product tablets they produce. The facility will include key powder processes steps for formulated product manufacture such as crystallization, blending, granulation and tableting.

For more information contact Communications Officer Philip Strafford p.strafford@sheffield.ac.uk