Superior Controls is partnering with long-time customer Acorda Therapeutics to bring a new manufacturing process online this year. 

Superior Controls is proud to be part of an elite team working with Acorda Therapeutics to bring a state-of-the-art manufacturing process online for a new therapeutic drug for Parkinson’s disease.  Acorda has developed this inhaled therapeutic for people with Parkinson’s and the race is on to ramp up manufacturing capacity quickly so that the drug is available to all patients.

Superior Controls Acorda Therapeutics

Currently in the construction phase, Superior Controls visited the Acorda Therapeutics facility during the installation of the spray dryer and bag filter equipment for a new manufacturing process.

Manufacturing requires batches of the API to mix with liquid ingredients, sprayed into the spray dryer, and brought to a high temperature to be atomized so the liquid flashes to vapor.  The powder that’s left travels across a series of filters in a large piece of equipment called a bag filter, where it is collected.  After collection, the powder is pressed into capsules for inhalation.

Superior Controls plays a critical part in bringing the manufacturing online, and has been developing several key process components:

  • Control system to run the spray dryer, including design, validation and programming
  • Feed system for batching and pumping the API
  • Process control system to handle all liquid ingredients
  • Clean-in-place (CIP) system for the feed systems and spray dryer

Superior Controls is providing programming and equipment:

  • Including all coding and graphics for the four PLCs and multiple HMIs
  • Integrating the control system with Acorda’s existing manufacturing system
  • Designing and constructing PLC control panels
  • Providing all field instrumentation, such as valves and transmitters and analytical

Technology used in the control system:

  • Superior Controls’ in-house biotechnology control system library, customized and validated for the manufacturing process
  • Rockwell Automation ControlLogix PLCs
  • Rockwell Automation FactoryTalk Operator Interface for the HMIs

The new line is being constructed in a historic brick-clad manufacturing building, which is being renovated to house the spray dryer, bag filter, and other equipment.  A custom steel frame was built and lowered into the space by crane.  The structure supports the new spray dryer.

Superior Controls has a talented group of 12 automation engineers working on the project team.   Project manager Tag McCormick said of the team, “From a personal standpoint, the team I’m working with here at Superior is one of the most talented groups of people that I’ve ever worked with in my career.  It’s been extremely rewarding being able to work with this group, and everyone is doing an amazing job.  We’ve got a really good combination of very experienced engineers, and we also have some new engineers who are really enthusiastic, eager to learn and apply themselves, and who are also extremely intelligent.  It’s been a great experience.”

Tag speaks for the entire team, saying “We are excited to be a part of such an important product, which will directly impact people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.”