GlaxoSmithKline clinched the top prize at the IChemE 2012 Awards last night in recognition of its radical change in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals.
The organisation won the Outstanding Achievement in Chemical Engineering Award alongside project partners GEA, Siemens, Sagentia and the Universities of Newcastle, Warwick and Surrey.
The winning entry, which also earned the Chemical Engineering Project of the Year Award, demonstrated that tablet production can change from stepwise and time-consuming batch processing with intermediate material transfer steps and frequent testing.
The outcome was a fully integrated and closely controlled process that ensures consistency, reducing costs by 20%, the process equipment footprint by a factor of ten and the capital cost by a factor of three.
In what proved to be a successful night for the healthcare company, GlaxoSmithKline also won the Health and Safety Award for its Liquid Dispensing Technology (LDT) a new tablet-manufacturing process that delivers microgramme doses with unparalleled precision and earned highly commended status in the Energy, Innovative Product and Water categories.
The night’s other biggest winner was Sellafield Ltd, winning the Nuclear Innovation Award and Core Chemical Engineering Award.
Other winners included: Renmatix, winner of the Bioprocessing Award for creating a faster and less expensive method of converting biomass into sugar; Air Products won the Education and Training Award for establishing a graduate council to work with new employees and the local community; and Huntsman Pigments won the Innovative Product Award for developing a coating that helps to cut energy bills by keeping buildings cooler.
New Zealand based company Aurecon won the Food and Drink Award in recognition of its salt production facilities where capacity is increased by 63% whilst energy increases have risen by only 10%. Australian chemical engineers celebrated a double success with SUSOP winning the Sustainable Technology Award and chemical engineers from Monash University being presented with the Innovation for Resource-Poor People Award.
Elsewhere, The University of Southampton won the Water Management and Supply Award, Malaysia based Denny KS Ng won the Young Chemical Engineer of the Year Award and Martin Tangney from Celtic Renewables lifted the Innovator of the Year Award.
IChemE CEO David Brown says the range of award winners highlight the diversity of the profession: “Chemical engineers are working all over the world on innovative projects and finding solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing society today – a growing demand for secure and sustainable energy, access to clean and plentiful water supplies, food and nutrition and societal health and wellbeing.
“The IChemE Awards give us a platform to recognise some of the best work taking place all over the world throughout the chemical and process engineering community.”
More than 500 chemical engineers and invited guests from around the world attended the event in Manchester, UK which was hosted by journalist and TV presenter Colin Murray.