Pigging systems allow more efficient processing of ointments How the Dutch company Tiofarma BV profits from Swiss know-how

Tiofarma BV in the vicinity of Rotterdam is a «manufacturing pharmacist» producing ointments for various pharmaceutical companies, among other products. The specialised company profits from a new filling plant with technology from the Swiss company URESH AG that sets new standards. The double pigging system specially manufactured by URESH cleans the Tiofarma piping system in a highly efficient manner.
The pig ejects the material from the pipes and minimises thus the losses.

The challenge of the ointment production

The filling of medical ointments presents significant production challenges. The ointment must be transported
through pipes and filled with absolute no contamination. The used lines must in a complex process be removed, cleaned, sterilised and re-installed before they can be used for the next production batch. The high viscosity of ointments makes the process more difficult. Thorough flushing cannot wash out the residual product mass from the pipes but the material must be cut out and disposed of as special waste. This is not only very expensive due to the work involved but also due to the value of the ingredients of the ointment.

Closed pigging system
The new intelligent pigging system from URESH for Tiofarma is an enormous improvement for this filling and cleaning process. The double pig runs in a closed system which can also be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide. The URESH pigs are pushed with water through pipes with a diameter of 6.6 cm and a total length of 30 meters to eject the remaining ointment from the pipes. Two parallel filling systems are connected. The pig allows the use of most of the 90 litres of ointment mass be left in the pipes. This becomes a significant revenue factor when processing a product costing up to 100,000 Swiss francs per 4 metres of pipe.

In operation since 2015
The fully automatic system from URESH allows Tiofarma to convert their production line for different products in a significantly shorter time. This allows the company to easily produce multiple small batches. “Our new plant has brought Tiofarma a great step forward and the pigs function perfectly,” says Monique Otto from Tiofarma. The plant in the vicinity of Rotterdam was planned and constructed by URESH AG and their partners. The pipes are double-walled and can be heated to provide an optimum processing temperature for the ointment. The system is validated and has been in operation since 2016. Approx. 350 different batches have been processed.

The result of many years of research
The current pigging system from URESH AG was developed over many years of research and fine tuning processes. The blue pigs are naturally the company’s secret to the success of URESH. ”Every groove has a function,” says Urs Hofer, the father of the product. His pigs contain magnets for controlling and locating the pigs. The production site is at the company headquarters in Biel-Benken close to Basel, from where they are shipped for use all over the world.

URESH AG was founded in 1992 and is domiciled in Biel-Benken (Switzerland). Its range encompasses pigging systems, cleaning-in-place systems and tailored engineering services. The company operates worldwide as a system provider for the process industry (pharmaceuticals, food, drinks and cosmetics).

Contact: Urs Hofer,
Tel. +41 61 721 65 45 urs.hofer@uresh.ch