Born in Graz, I decided to move to Graz after finishing school at HTL Kaindorf (near Leibnitz, in the south of Styria) in the field of automation technology and mechanical engineering to study process engineering at Graz University of Technology. In the time between the graduation and the beginning of my studies in winter term 2012/13 I did my alternative civilian service. After the bachelor‘s programme I continued with the master’s programme of process engineering and finished it in February 2020. Within the scope of my master thesis, at the Institute of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology (CEET), I dealt with the planning, construction and commissioning of a falling film absorption plant. Due to my extensive knowledge in the field of plant control and automation and my interest in pharmaceutical process engineering, which I discovered during my master studies, I joined the working group "Continuous Processes" of Heidrun Gruber-Wölfler at the Institute of Process and Particle Engineering (IPPE) in spring 2020. Employed as a project assistant, I am now continuing with my PhD studies.
Within the scope of my work at the IPPE I am dealing with the further development of continuously operated tubular crystallizers for the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Most active pharmaceutical ingredients are further processed in crystalline form. Therefore, it is of special importance to design crystallizers under the aspects of Quality by Design (QbD), so that besides high throughput rates, optimal process control can be guaranteed. Based on various model systems, a special interest lies in the research of measures to eliminate or reduce deposits and accumulations in the hose lines. Such deposits lead from initial cross-sectional reductions to complete blockages, which ultimately mean production stoppages and require expensive and time-consuming cleaning steps. The aim of these measures is a targeted increase in the mean time between failures (MTBF) for practical application in fully continuous crystallization.
Standard equipment such as peristaltic or syringe pumps, mass flow controllers (MFC), cooling or heating baths, etc. are used to carry out practical experiments with various model systems. In the field of measurement and control technology, single-board computers, e.g. Arduino, are used. For the analysis of crystalline products, the institute has several devices available for this purpose. By means of laser diffraction, sizes and size distributions of the crystals can be determined with the Helos® series from Sympatec. In addition, the QicPic® of the same company can be used to determine the shape and other product characteristics. Using a high-speed camera the particle flows inside the tube of the crystallizer can be observed and followed.