Bioprocessing steel was the centre of debate a few years ago, threatening the steel industry to some extent. Many mistakenly thought that stainless steel would become a technology of the past. How wrong they were!
Today, bioprocessing steel takes its place among the technological advances ensuring the continuation of steel into the future. Exploring the story is of great interest.
Defining Steel Bioprocessing
First up let’s get our definition straight. Bioprocessing is the backbone process that translates scientific discovery into useful industrial products. It references combining living matter or components thereof with nurtures to create specialty biotherapeutics, chemicals, and reagents.
Initially becoming SU (Single Unit) or once-off applications, bioprocessing spearheaded the now problematic disposable product industry.
In relation to steel, bioprocessing threatened many of its uses, but not for long.
Bioprocessing Steel Domination
In an article entitled ‘Watson-Marlow on the Future of Stainless Steel in Bioprocessing’, the well-qualified Mark Pelletier and Mark Embury noted:
“Chromatography and perfusion stages are still widely dominated by stainless-steel equipment and although there are innovative new products being released regularly, some stages of bioprocessing simply cannot be carried out as effectively as they can with a stainless-steel system…”
Disposable plastics and Singe Use (SU) equipment may have their day, but the lifespan of steel makes bioprocessing it the most sensible decision.
Steel Bioprocessing Alive and Well
Vice president of ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineering Committee) Brady Cole, appropriating the famous Mark Twain comment upon reading the fake news of his passing in the morning paper says: ‘reports of the death of stainless-steel equipment have been greatly exaggerated.’
The fact is that bioprocessing steel was inspired by the new technologies that threatened it, to step up, get creative, and pave the way for less expensive and more effective techniques.
All said and done, there is every good reason to continue to improve the ability to integrate the processes within the realm of stainless steel for incorporating future technological discoveries.