A revolutionary vacuum drying philosophy

Forget conventional dryers: this is a whole other planet. It is Planex® System, the ingenious innovation developed and manufactured by Italvacuum, which brings in a true revolution in vacuum drying technology. A multi-patented machine which is conquering the most demanding operators from all around the world, by guaranteeing results that were unthinkable till now with conventional systems, both horizontal and vertical.

Planex® System is Italvacuum's special horizontal vacuum paddle dryer with an eccentric agitator featuring two independent movements, allowing it to simultaneously revolve around its own axis and to rotate tangentially to the drying chamber.

Designed to dry wet flowing powders from filtration and centrifuging processes Planex® System is ideal for the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), fine chemicals and intermediates.

The combined rotations of the agitator and its small size compared to the drying chamber diameter, ensures the perfect mixing of the entire batch, and allows consuming at least three times less energy than conventional dryers with concentric agitators. This means a threefold reduction in mechanical and thermal stresses on the batch being dried (1). As a result, even the most delicate and temperature-sensitive products are treated with maximum care.

But there is more. Planex® System, thanks to its agitator’s ZeroFriction® planetary movement, prevents the product from being rubbed against the drying chamber walls and thus heating up due to friction, a typical problem in conventional paddle systems.

In addition, the rotation of the paddles tangentially to the chamber walls, conveys the product into the small clearance between the agitator and the chamber surface, preventing lumps formation and guaranteeing an even more effective drying and a controlled final particle size distribution, which is impossible to achieve with conventional dryers.

Planex® System is multi-product, since it can be used with a wide range of products, both with crystalline and amorphous structure. In addition, thanks to the agitator movement controlled by the “Stop & Swing” program, it is also ideal for drying small batches.

Planex® System is versatile, because it drastically reduces the downtime needed to rearrange the line, wash, clean and inspect the system before switching production processes. This is an important added-value, as it makes it fast and easy to pass from one production run to another.

Planex® System is safe for operators, the environment and the product, because it is designed and manufactured in compliance with European Union ATEX Directives and CE marking requirements, as well as with the increasingly stringent US FDA standards and cGMP Current Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations.

Certifications Planex System
Applications

Pharmaceuticals

Fine Chemicals

Chemistry

Cosmetics

Food Ingredients & Additives

Outstanding results and maximum respect for the product

The major added-value of the patented Planex® System dryer is the eccentric agitator with two independent movements that can simultaneously revolve around its own axis and rotate tangentially to the drying chamber. The combined rotations of the agitator ensures optimal product mixing, continuously renewing the surface exposed to evaporation in the whole volume of the chamber. This facilitates the release of solvents, thus drastically reducing drying times.

Horizontal vacuum dryer

The agitator’s axial and planetary movements can be either clockwise or counterclockwise, and the speed parameters can be set by the operator according to the type of product being dried.

In addition, the agitator’s small size compared to the drying chamber diameter allows higher rotation speeds, consuming at least three times less energy than conventional dryers. This means a threefold reduction in the energy transferred through friction to the solid particles to be dried (1). As a result, even the most delicate and temperature-sensitive products are treated with maximum care.

Moreover, the Planex® System control software allows to automatically command the agitator movements with the Stop & Swing program. In this way, the agitator swings back and forth, thus remaining all the time immersed in the product, and guaranteeing its continuous mixing. This approach is particularly effective when processing small batches.

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All the quality of a one-of-a-kind multi-patented system

  • Energy consumption three times lower than in conventional dryers (1)
  • Threefold reduction in mechanical and thermal stresses, to the benefit of product purity
  • Eccentric agitator with ZeroFriction® planetary movement:
  • No localized friction on the product
  • Possibility to process very delicate temperature-sensitive products
  • No product build up
  • Guaranteed final particle size
  • Paddles profile for each type of application
  • Ideal for processing also small batches, thanks to the automatic Stop & Swing program
  • Easy total discharge thanks to:
  • Minimum clearance between agitator paddles and drying chamber
  • Special automatic program
  • Faster drying times thanks to the combined rotations of the agitator, which increases the product surface exposed to evaporation
  • Very high final vacuum levels
  • Easy cleaning of interior and exterior, with practical access for inspection and swab testing
  • Simple agitator paddles dismantling and removal, without long machine downtimes
  • Full system automation guarantees batch-to-batch process

A further guarantee of purity

The agitator’s ZeroFriction® planetary movement prevents the product from being rubbed against the drying chamber walls and thus heating up due to friction, a typical problem in conventional paddle systems.

This is why Planex® System is particularly suitable for processing very delicate and temperature-sensitive products, because it preserves their purity and prevents them from deterioration.

In addition, the rotation of the paddles tangentially to the chamber walls, conveys the product into the small clearance between the agitator and the chamber surface, preventing lumps formation and guaranteeing an even more effective drying and a controlled final particle size distribution, which is impossible to achieve with conventional dryers.

The entire batch without wastes

The minimum clearance between agitator profile and chamber walls not only prevents product buildups, but it also makes discharge significantly easier. In addition, there is a specific automatic program for the discharge operations.

These operations are even more effective thanks to the “pendulum” movement of the agitator (the agitator “pendulum” movement), which swings by 90 degrees in the discharge area.

As a result, the amount of product left in the Planex® System chamber after discharge is truly minimal, averaging less than 1% of the volume.

Maximum efficiency

Special filtration systems can be mounted above the drying chamber to satisfy any process need: filter sleeves with PTFE membrane, or, alternatively, metal or PTFE filter cartridges, the efficiency of which during the process is ensured by an automatic nitrogen backwash system.

To optimize the drying process and assure full protection to the vacuum line, Italvacuum's experience suggests the use of an additional external heated cyclone filter, designed as to prevent pressure drop and condensation.

Solutions designed to meet any need

All the parts of Planex® System that come into contact with the product are made of AISI 316L stainless steel, but other weldable materials such as Alloy C-22 and AISI 904L are available on request. The drying chamber walls, the agitator shaft and the access hatch are heated by diathermal fluid circulation to prevent cold spots that could cause solvent condensation or product buildup.

Internal surfaces of the drying chamber are lapped or electropolished to optimize corrosion resistance, reduce adhesion and friction on the product, improve powder flow behavior and facilitate cleaning operations.

From lab to installation: the best way to choose the right industrial system

In its factory Italvacuum has a range of pilot systems which allow to carry out semi-industrial and laboratory scale drying tests on customer’s products.

During pilot trials, product samples can be taken for analysis without breaking the vacuum and the process parameters can be modified at any time in order to reach the ideal drying process. In this way customers can choose the Italvacuum system that best meets their needs in terms of both size and performance. At the same time, Italvacuum acquires important information to correctly size the industrial systems.
A full report containing process parameters graphs and conclusive comments is issued at the end of each trial.

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 Pilot test drying

Unparalleled ease of cleaning

The patented Planex® System is designed and developed to make cleaning operations outstandingly fast and effective. This is an important consideration for any machine, and one that is absolutely essential for a dryer that customers from all around the world have selected for its versatility and ability to be used in multi-product assets. Ease of cleaning, in fact, means that all the operations involved in washing the interior of the dryer, removing the internal parts, inspecting the unit and cleaning the exterior are simple and straightforward.

Internal washing

The fully accessible chamber interior, with no hard-to-reach zones or areas that could trap product residues, ensures that the entire dryer can be perfectly cleaned. To make the washing operation even more effective, the dryer is equipped with an efficient C.I.P. (Clean-in-Place) system with retractable rotating washing head.

Equipping Planex® System with the C.I.P. washing unit not only guarantees perfect cleaning, it also provides significant savings: the agitator’s off-centered position enables it to rotate during washing, thus reducing the amount of liquid needed.

Internal parts removal

Thanks to its special structure, the agitator can be readily disassembled into removable sectors, thus making cleaning operations even more effective.
This is an exclusive feature that makes Planex® System a one-of-a-kind dryer: in conventional systems, the agitator is made of a single structure and removing it requires the use of bulky equipment and long system downtimes.
The force of innovation stays also in the details: technological excellence, for maximum efficiency.

Internal inspection

The big front-opening hatch provides full access to the entire drying chamber.
Other advantages include the agitator’s off-centered position and the ease with which the paddles can be removed.
This allows the operator to have more room to work, making it even faster and easier to carry out swab testing.

External cleaning

The exterior of Planex® System is also easy to clean. The entire machine is housed in a sealed external casing (cGMP particle-free configuration) which encloses the insulation and all electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic circuits. In addition, no support to the machine is present in the clean room, as the drying chamber is flange-mounted on the wall. In this way the chamber exterior can be cleaned quickly and effectively, avoiding product accumulations in slots or junctions.

These features, combined with the partitioning approach, permit clean room installation, so that the clean area can be pressurized and kept separate from the technical area.

All the quality of an integrated system

In addition to the dryer, Italvacuum is the only manufacturer in the world that can design and produce internally all the auxiliary units – vacuum system included – ensuring that they are sized to meet any processing requirements:

  • Saurus939 high vacuum pump
  • Vacuum condensation unit for drying time reduction and extracted solvent recovery
  • External cyclone filter, designed in order to prevent pressure drop and condensation, for full vacuum line protection
  • Heating/cooling units for system temperature regulation
  • PLC control system with CFR 21 Part 11 certified software, able to guarantee reproducible dried batches and interface with centralized control systems.

Versatile and flexible

The patented Planex® System features outstanding loading flexibility. The system is available with total volumes ranging from 150 to 3,200 liters. The loading capacity varies, depending on the product to be dried and the process. The system can meet all the production needs of the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, as it is capable of processing small amounts of product, thanks to the automatic Stop & Swing program, as well as large batches. Maximum loading capacity is determined through tests with gradually increasing loads.

 Dimensions Planex System
PLANEX System PX 150 PX 300 PX 800 PX 1200 PX 1800 PX 2700 PX 3200
Total volume (l) 150 300 800 1200 1800 2700 3200
A mm 1400 1830 2300 2550 2880 3290 3470
B mm 2100 2770 2950 3210 3500 3850 4200
C mm 780 990 1230 1360 1490 1800 1800
D mm 1700 2190 2620 3130 3450 3650 3980
E mm 125 150 150 200 200 250 250
F mm 200 200 200 250 250 300 300
G mm 1200 1510 1700 2000 2200 2360 2550

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