Creaform: Creaform’s mission is to develop, manufacture and
market cutting edge portable 3D measurement and analysis technologies that increase productivity. Through its expertise and the
passion and commitment of its employees, Creaform helps companies from the manufacturing industry to seamlessly create, simulate, verify and collaborate in 3D, significantly enhancing their
turnaround times and profitability. Through its 3D Engineering
Services department, Creaform develops CFD simulation techniques in multiple fields like transport, energy, environment, civil
works, electronics and HVAC.
For the project discussed here, Creaform was responsible for
the CAD reproduction of the entire pharmaceutical production
line and surrounding cleanroom, the CFD simulation of the air
flow with RABS and HVAC systems in operation, and the assessment of aerodynamic deflectors to optimize flow behavior around
Laporte: Laporte is a consulting firm specializing in biopharmaceutical, food and beverage and industrial engineering.
Its employees have experience in a wide array of services in the
process, building and infrastructure, automation, packaging and
regulatory compliance fields.
In the context of the project, Laporte was in charge of the process design, installation and commissioning for the pharma facility upgrade. These tasks include the HVAC design and the integration of the filling machine in the RABS system. Laporte was also
responsible for the smoke tests used for regulatory compliance.
A typical headache when carrying out a CFD analysis is not
having the geometry available. An even bigger headache is not
having confidence in the numerical geometry because the as-built
For technical products across many industries, small details are often modified without customers perceiving significant visual or functional changes. Manufacturers of such products or devices implement these changes to
save costs, simplify the manufacturing processes, or make a product more reliable. Typically, these alterations are relatively simple
to introduce as there are no regulatory restrictions on them; so
long as customers are still happy, no feathers are ruffled.
The pharmaceutical cleanroom in this study is a critical environment requiring a high level of protection against contamination. While the cleanroom itself is a grade B environment, the
interior of the RABS (Restricted Access Barriers) is protected
with screened barriers and HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air)
clean-air filtration, such that it is rated as a grade A critical zone.
The vaccine filling machine had to be incorporated in the RABS,
leading to many specific flow interactions which could not be predicted prior to installation, neither by the manufacturer nor the
integrator. It was therefore necessary to thoroughly understand
the fluid flow behavior in order to ensure proper flow path around
non-sterile components of the machine. Not only was the regulatory compliance of the cleanroom at stake, but with the amazing
production rate of the line (hundreds of vial fillings per minute),
a contamination would represent a considerable financial loss
because it leads to the waste of vaccine doses.
In that context, Creaform’s 3D modeling and CFD (
computational fluid dynamics) solutions came in very handy. Using basic STL
files such as the ones created by 3D scanners, the engineering
team numerically reproduced the cleanroom in CAD (
computer-aided design) software and performed a series of CFD simulations
Using 3D Geometry to Design
Bringing vaccine manufacturing validation to the next level using computational
n By Philippe B. Vincent & François Turgeon; Creaform; Gilles Grenon, Laporte
in section plane
at capping arm
elbow - original