New chemical teaching plant hailed as groundbreaking by industry leaders

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

CBE DiPP launch members

The new multi-million pound investment will develop industry-ready chemical engineers for the future, giving students access to real-world, scalable technology.

The DiPP is based in The Diamond building, the University of Sheffield’s largest ever investment in learning and teaching.

Industry leaders and senior figures from academia attended the launch of DiPP in April 2018.

The Diamond Pilot Plant (DiPP), the first continuous powder processing plant of its kind in any UK University, was officially opened at The University of Sheffield last week. Over 100 attendees from leading industry partners and academia were able to see the plant in action and take a tour of the University’s Diamond building.

DiPP is the cornerstone for educating future chemical engineers. Students will use, test and explore integrated processes with state of the art simulations and world class control systems in a safe, production orientated environment.

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.

DiPP has cutting edge equipment, software and products sponsored by manufacturing companies including NiTech, Solaris Biotech and GEA. In addition to giving students real world experience, the manufacturers benefit from having around 500 students per year exposed to their products and engineering philosophies. DiPP can also be used for training and upskilling employees of UK companies in modern engineering processes and tools.

At the launch event, short speeches were given by senior leaders from the University and key industry partners, Nestlé and AstraZeneca:

Professor Mike Hounslow Vice President and Head of Faculty (Engineering) at The University of Sheffield;

“We have a preference for action over rhetoric; we have a preference to do things, not just talk about them; we have a preference for our students to do things, not just hear us talk about them and the Pilot Plant is as fine example of this as you could hope to see.”

Dr Reinhard Behringer, Head Institute of Materials Science at Nestlé;

“The scientific excellence of the University of Sheffield, together with the analytical and technological capabilities of this new plant are, for us, a differentiator. I have been impressed with the research and teaching I have seen and I am convinced that this work will contribute to elevate our mastership of powder science and technology. “

Dafni Bika, Global Head Pharmaceutical Technology and Development at AstraZeneca;

“By supporting continuous manufacturing in the pharmaceutical industry, we can accelerate that process and both design and deliver drugs that address unmet medical requirements in a seamless way: from development to manufacturing, it’s fast, it’s meets industry needs by differentiating products and delivers the high quality that’s expected from this sector.”

Professor Jim Litster, Head of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at The University of Sheffield;

“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 from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering;

“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.”