Rapid response engineering saves Leukemia Treatment Vials
Freeze Dryer engineering hythe marine services

Fast-Response Engineering Puts Pharmaceutical Company Back On Track

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    Hythe Engineering Repair Storage Equipment for Pharmaceutical Company Porton Biopharma Ltd. 

    Even with the best-maintained systems, unexpected issues can still occur. In 2020, Hythe Engineering was on hand to resolve an issue with a freeze-dryer shelf for Porton Biopharma, who work in the pharmaceutical industry. 

    Freeze Dryer Shelf Hythe Marine Services Porton Biopharma Pharmaceutical Company

    The problem was down to a shelf in a freezer unit that had warped.  This meant the shelf was no longer distributing the freezing oil evenly around the plate. The shelf in question was part of storage for Juvenile Leukaemia treatment vials, each with a cost of £30k per vial, so the urgency to fix was paramount. 

    Hythe Engineering worked closely with experts from Freeze Drying Services and got the freeze dryer back up and running as efficiently as possible. 


    “cGMP and GEP are critical requirements within the pharmaceutical industry. However, even with the best maintained system unexpected issues occasionally occur.  During one such event recently, Hythe Engineering were quick to respond, especially considering COVID-19.  Their attention to detail, work ethic, craftsmanship and specialist knowledge on stainless steel works were just a few attributes that delivered this job and resolved the issue.  Well done, it was a pleasure working with you.”

    Renaldo Davis, Process Engineer, Porton Biopharma Limited


    Porton Biopharma and Freeze Drying Services

    Porton Biopharma Ltd. protect patients’ health through the quality-assured development and production of biopharmaceuticals. They develop new vaccines, therapeutic proteins and enzyme products. Their work has been crucial to the healthcare industry throughout the global pandemic and development of vaccine technology.

    Since 1991, Freeze Drying Services design, install, calibrate, service, upgrade, and provide full technical support for all types of freeze drying equipment.

    In the pharmaceutical industry, freeze drying, also known as lyophilisation, is a low-temperature dehydration process that involves freezing the product, lowering pressure, then removing the ice by sublimation

    A freeze dryer shelf evenly distributes freezing gas or oil around the plate.


    What Did The Engineering Project Involve? 

    Although Hythe Engineering has a history of maintaining Royal Naval Vessels, the skilled team are also experts in delivering bespoke solutions for commercial and industrial applications. 

    The repair of the new shelf started with a witnessed reverse engineering of the existing shelf so it could be precisely recreated. Hythe Engineering then produced drawings for the new shelf. These included the dimensions, weld positions and bend angles for Porton Biopharma to approve. 

    Fast-response engineering hythe marine services freeze dryer shelf repair pharmaceuticals

    Greg Strange, who completed the project alongside Director of Value Engineering Luke Fitzgerald, explained, “Repair was initially discussed, but once the shelf was taken to the workshop and dismantled the team were able to identify the exact issues and recommended a complete replacement. This involved providing totally accurate measurements and drawings. A bespoke unit was constructed using materials in compliance with industry requirements, i.e. non-animal-based products.”


    Testing the Freeze Dryer Shelf 

    Due to the nature of the project, there were key requirements that had to be met. Rigorous testing of the welds and freeze dryer itself ensures the product is fit for purpose. 

    Some of the tests and inspections carried out during this project included:

    • Material test and inspection
    • Pressure testing
    • Vacuum test by Freeze Drying Services
    • Weld samples and non-destructive testing (NDT)

    Find out more about non-destructive testing and quality-assured welding at Hythe Engineering in our article Lloyd’s Coded Welders: Why We’re Different…


    Interested in working with Hythe Engineering? Contact our team to discuss how we can assist with your next project.