The Future Of Single-Use Technology
On day three of Interphex, Todd and Todd conducted an interview of Max Blomberg, the Director of Operations for Meissner Filtration Products about the companies developments in single-use system engineering. Blomberg also touches on outsourcing trends, and why single-use systems have become more of the norm.
Todd S: Good afternoon this is Todd and Todd live from New York with Life Science Connect Radio on location direct from Interphex day three. We have an exciting guest up next, but before that, we are getting close to the end.
We have had a great series of conversations and I am going to be sad when it all ends. Day three; it still seems like day one. At the end of the day the depth and the quantity of stuff that we are talking about fills the brain all night and it starts to seem like one day.
Next up is Max Blomberg. He is the Director of Operations for Meissner Filtration Products. Max welcome to the show.
Max: Thank you for having me.
Todd S: Thank you for stopping by and joining us. Max before we get into a conversation around Meissner take a quick few seconds and tell us a little about you and your background.
Max: I have been with Meissner for about nine years. I have a mechanical engineering background by trade but moved into the bio-pharmaceutical marketplace and haven’t left.
Todd S: There is probably a reason for that. Talk about Meissner Filtration for a minute. What do you do and how do you serve the market?
Max: Meissner Filtration has been around for 30 years at this point serving critical filtration needs, and about 10 years ago we started moving to single usage. We have our core competency, which I would say is our critical filtration and single use systems for the bio-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical marketplace.
Todd S: I have seen the term single-use system engineering expertise associated with Meissner. Give us another level of detail on what you are saying.
Max: When end users go to implement single use systems they are really relying on the suppliers and engineering acumen to design a system that is going to accomplish everything that they are looking for it to do.
The process is designed to be consistent with good engineering processes and ultimately one that can be optimized in a fairly complex regulatory environment, which we all function. Often times, that actually results in outsourcing a little of that end user engineering to a supplier. It is not outsourcing engineering but at least some of the control.
Todd Y: It is really fascinating. Single-use has been a common theme on the show here at Interphex, but some organizations, Todd, are saying that it is not the standard yet. We are just getting into figuring things out and where the marketplace is going and others have been doing it for 10 years like Meissner.
It is interesting that the economy and the percent of the different organizations that have appeared on the show…where do you think this thing stands? Is it now the standard? That is clearly where I think that you guys are, but talk about that for a bit.
Max: It is becoming more of the standard. There is a growing regulatory comfort with single-use and as they get implemented in more and more downstream processes. You are right— it has certainly been one of the biggest, in the last 10 years, one of the most talked about topics.
We are just now starting to get to that point where it is more than the norm. When a new facility comes online these days, it is typically coming online using some level of single-use systems, if not all of single-use.
Todd Y: In terms of the whole concept of outsourcing engineering or a piece thereof, it seems to me that there is some unique field it makes sense to outsource something like that.
I am going to use it once. Why would I want to build all of that in house? It makes sense to outsource it. Single-use is going to become someday whenever that is a very common thing. Isn’t that something that you would rather do in house versus outsourcing?
Max: That is a good point and I think that that is another area where end users are really starting to get a level of comfort. When you are implementing the traditional stainless steel system, you would be retaining an engineering firm or using your own in house engineering resources to accomplish things like design, validation, implementation, and deployment.
Those engineering things don’t go away when you use single-use systems, but a lot of that is effectively outsourced to the supplier. I think that we do a good job of bringing end users along as well, but ultimately, that knowledge base lies with your suppliers.
It is really important from an end user’s perspective that you pick the supplier that has that engineering acumen to cover all of that.
Todd S: Max, talk about what Meissner is showcasing here at Interphex.
Max: We are showcasing a number of unique technologies. In a large part what we are showcasing is what we just spoke about, which is our single-use systems engineering expertise; our premier product that we have on display here.
Todd Y: How do you do that? I mean, I don’t mean to be a wise guy, I’m a great engineer, and talk is cheap. How do you really demonstrate that at this type of venue?
Max: That is a very fair question. We have a unique showcasing of products put together to meet the end user need and being able to articulate to an end user—the process at which you arrive. I would say that is probably the way.
Todd S: Let me put it to you this way; Todd and I love stories. Tell us an example of an engineering feat or big success of yours.
Max: I have one that will encompass four of the technologies that we are currently applying.
Todd Y: Only four?
Max: Only four. There has been a market need for large scale multi-stage single-use filtration systems. They could be put together or cobbled together. That is a negative term but very robust.
We have come up with a unique way, much like Lego’s, you can put your filters together, coupled or snap technology, so that you can deliver a single multi-stage filtration system that is truly plug and play to an end user’s process.
There are a couple of unique technologies there. One the snap for safety, an alpha-g filter, which is on the marketplace for gamma stable pre-filtration, which was addressed, and then we have a unique single-use sensor technology, which is called NGT or single-use gauge, which allows users to basically add a hands- free sensor gauge.
A traditional pressure gauge for an end user in [inaudible: 00:06:12] contact manner, which simplifies things to a great degree. The fourth technology organizing technology I would say is our FlexCessory product line, and those are accessory products made to use at the point of a single-use system at deployment.
That is one of the unique things about our systems is that you are effectively deploying your system every single time that you use it, whereas traditional are deployed once and that is it.
Todd S: Wow, that is pretty darn impressive of an example there. How do you get the expertise; I want to expand that question. How do you get the overall expertise and then retain the expertise to do the things that you just described?
Max: That is a good question. A workplace that is very enjoyable is able to retain top talent. I think Meissner is that way. It is a relatively young industry so it is difficult—no one comes out of college with a Master’s in single-use technology.
A lot of it is homegrown. We have some key individuals at large, but there is a training period to come up to where you need. What is nice is that it is a really exciting marketplace where engineers can make a difference right now because it is starting to become more standardized, but it is certainly not completely established.
People can come in and make a difference. I certainly think that can help to retain them if they are challenged on a regular basis.
Todd S: All engineers want the new sandbox to play in. Let’s set aside Meissner for just a second. The closing bell is coming pretty soon and I want to know what Max Blomberg’s key takeaways from this event are going to be.
Max: It has been a great year. We definitely saw an end to some. There are new folks here who we haven’t seen before in terms of suppliers. I would say it is excitement. That is my takeaway.
It has been an exciting year. There are some new technologies, and I am certainly looking at Meissner, but I like to take a walk around as well. It is much broader than single use systems, but there are a lot of exciting technologies. Again, I will take excitement as a key takeaway.
Todd S: Max is going to take excitement. We are about out of time, but before I let you go, how can people get in touch with you and learn more about Meissner?
Max: Through our website; www.Meissner.com, and my personal contact information is on there. We have a great team and support. They can come out, meet with you, and try to figure out how to best address your situation.
Todd S: Max Blomberg, the Director of Operations for Meissner Filtration Products. Max, it was great to have you. Thanks for stopping by and joining us.
Max: Thank you.
Todd S: That wraps this broadcast. On behalf of our guest Max Blomberg, my co-host Todd Youngblood, I am Todd Schnick. Science Connect Radio’s live coverage from Interphex will be right back.