Asahi Kasei Bioprocess Launches DAC Ergo, an Innovative Large-Scale Chromatography Column Design

Market leader in large-scale stainless steel columns simplifies the unpacking and maintenance experience.


Glenview, IL. – The Fluid Management business unit of Asahi Kasei Bioprocess today launched DAC Ergo, a novel liquid chromatography column design that permits large-scale stainless steel dynamic axial compression LC columns to be safely unpacked, disassembled and reassembled by a single operator in minutes using a unique hydraulic system combined with an innovative bottom plate fastening approach. This patent-pending feature supports the growing demand for DAC columns that are required for large-scale cGMP purifications of microbial-derived proteins, oligonucleotides and peptides.


“DAC columns are used regularly to pack 10 to 40 micron particle size chromatography media for large-scale purifications of microbial-derived proteins and oligonucleotides,” said Michael Brandt, Lead Innovation Engineer for Asahi Kasei Bioprocess America. Constructed out of stainless steel to withstand the operating backpressures, the weight of these large-scale columns has historically resulted in a cumbersome experience for end users during column unpacking, disassembly and re-assembly. “Our observation has shown that many pharmaceutical manufacturers schedule 3-4 operators for a full day shift to successfully complete the unpacking, disassembly and reassembly of legacy large stainless steel chromatography columns. We decided not to accept that and set out to improve the safety profile and the user experience,” added Brandt.


Smaller particle chromatography media pack into rigid beds that cannot be easily reconstituted in situ or unpacked through column slurry outlet ports when spent. Instead, they are unpacked by pushing the media cake out of the bottom of the column tube with an integral axial piston after manually removing the bottom plate from the depressurized column. DAC Ergo safeguards these steps through the implementation of a quick-release bottom plate fastening design combined with a hydraulic column lift that is driven by a simple handheld control pendant. Novel I-bars fasten the bottom plate to the column tube instead of conventional threaded bolts. After using the pendant to properly position the column, the I-bars can be disengaged by one hand without tools.


“As industry demand for these large-scale columns is increasing to meet growing production volumes of insulins, oligonucleotides and other mid-sized therapeutic molecules, AKB has been focused on providing a safer and more efficient way to operate our well-regarded LC columns,” said Chris Nordhoff, President of Asahi Kasei Bioprocess America and head of AKB’s Fluid Management business unit. “DAC Ergo allows a single operator to disassemble the column bottom plate and unpack the column in less than 30 minutes, while the performance of the column and its renowned flow distribution remain first-rate. Through both operator safety and labor savings perspectives, this new feature aligns strongly with our division slogan of ‘Pioneering Biologics Safety and Manufacturing Efficiency.’ No other column can match the high performance, improved safety and reduced labor inherent with this design.”


DAC Ergo is currently available in column diameters between 60 cm and 120 cm i.d. at pressure ratings up to 35 bar. Additional diameters and pressure ratings are in development.





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About the Fluid Management business unit of Asahi Kasei Bioprocess

The Fluid Management business unit of Asahi Kasei Bioprocess is an expanding engineering group devoted to solving therapeutic product safety, efficiency and purity challenges within the pharmaceutical and bioprocess industries. The business unit is based at the headquarters of Asahi Kasei Bioprocess America, Inc. in Glenview, IL. Asahi Kasei Bioprocess America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Asahi Kasei Medical Co., Ltd, a core operating company in the Health Care Sector of Asahi Kasei Group.