(335a) Integration of High-Fidelity Simulation and Surrogate Modeling for Reduced Model Development in Continuous Pharmaceutical Unit Operations | AIChE

(335a) Integration of High-Fidelity Simulation and Surrogate Modeling for Reduced Model Development in Continuous Pharmaceutical Unit Operations


Chen, Y. - Presenter, University of Delaware
Bhalode, P. - Presenter, Univeristy of Delaware
Ierapetritou, M., University of Delaware
Developing accurate prediction of continuous manufacturing (CM) lines has been an active research area for pharmaceutical industry with economic incentives and government initiatives to manufacture high quality products [1, 2]. Process models used to obtain the prediction for unit operations are commonly developed using system-level process knowledge and experimental data, which provide overall systemic information. However, this can limit the insight into the unit dynamics and hinder the prediction of important critical quality attributes [3, 4]. In CM routes for solid-based products, continuous powder blender plays a central role, providing mixing of ingredient powders. For blenders, the important quality attributes (CQA) include blend uniformity (BU) and residence time distribution (RTD) [5]. Powder holdup within the unit is another important attribute that impacts material flow in the blender, along with BU and RTD. To model this unit operation, a popularly used approach involves use of RTD models [6, 7] which lacks calculation of BU and holdup variability. Recent studies have explored the prediction of BU using compartment modeling strategies [8], but these models do not capture the variation of powder holdup along the blender [9] along its effects on CQAs [10]. To address these drawbacks and develop accurate models for unit operations, the proposed work aims at developing a reduced model based on integration of high-fidelity simulations, that can incorporate detailed unit dynamics, with surrogate models to reduce the computational complexity. This approach is demonstrated for a continuous powder blender.

The proposed work is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on developing a reduced model of the powder blender using high-fidelity discrete element simulations (DEM) [11]. Initially, the entire blender unit is simulated using DEM. Based on the observed flow of powder, the unit is broken down into the inlet section, multiple intermediate sections, and the outlet section. The dynamic information of each section, such as powder holdup, blend uniformity, and residence time, is extracted. This information is subsequently used to construct a reduced process model of the blender, incorporating powder flow and mixing along the different sections of the unit. The resulting process model thus incorporates axial mixing, radial mixing, and variable holdup profiles along the length of the blender. The second part of the work aims at improving the developed process model to incorporate the effects of varying process conditions on the degree of mixing and powder flow using a surrogate model. Physics-informed neural networks (PINN) is implemented as the surrogate model, given the flexibility of this model to incorporate physics within the construction of neural network [12]. PINN follows the general structure of an artificial neural network (ANN) [13], with a modified loss function to apply penalty to the predictions that violate physical constraints such as material balances and limits of holdup variations [12]. Therefore, the predictions that violate the constraints result in an increase in the loss function, allowing the training algorithm to favor the predictions that satisfy the physical constraints. The PINN model is integrated within the developed reduced model leading to accurate predictions. The developed process model for continuous blender can thus provide accurate predictions of with low computational cost, allowing the integration into process flowsheets and the Pharma 4.0 framework. This approach can also be generalized to other processes to better utilize physical knowledge, reduce computational complexity in process simulation, and improve predictability.


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