Working together to solve a feeding problem
A college engineering department solves a pharmaceutical company's material-feeding problem.
Pfizer Inc., headquartered in New York, produces human and animal prescription medicines for national and international markets. One of the company's global research and development centers, located in Ann Arbor, Mich., operates a pharmaceutical sciences pilot plant in nearby Holland, Mich., that produces preproduction quantities of various products for testing before full-scale production at other facilities. The pilot plant was experiencing an ongoing problem manually feeding a range of solid materials into various-sized inerted reaction vessels that contained a solvent. To solve this problem, the company collaborated with a nearby college and funded a senior-level engineering student R& D project in which the students designed and built a custom-engineered feeding system to accurately feed the solid materials into the solvent-containing, inerted reaction vessels at varying feedrates.