GEA Membrane Filtration in Biotechnology

GEA’s Filter and Process Technology Division designs, manufactures and supplies GEA membrane filtration for the biotechnology, biochemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Membrane filtration in biotechnology

Biotechnology … According to the definition of Karoly Ereky from 1917, biotechnology covers “all sectors where products are made from raw materials with the help of living things.”

A very simple example of this would be the compensation in the production of alcoholic beverages or the use of yeast fungi in beer brewing. But one knows today still far more complex application possibilities.

Since then, biotechnology has become a revolutionary process with the potential to dramatically improve the overall quality of life and to capture healthcare, agricultural products and industrial chemicals. However, with this potential, there is tremendous pressure to develop efficient and cost-effective products that meet the promised goals.

Membrane filtration provides the biotechnology industry with tremendous opportunities to perform very different separations and purifications, resulting in significant advances in product development and quality.

Cross-flow membrane filtration technology

GEA Filtration specializes in cross-flow membrane filtration technologies, namely microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis. In addition to its process experience, the manufacturer offers a broad range of polymeric and inorganic membrane systems to provide the best possible solutions to its biotech clients.

With over 20 years of experience in developing high-quality membrane systems for these industries, GEA Filtration has been uniquely positioned to work with biotech companies from initial process development through to final production.

Pharmaceutical and biochemical applications

Membrane filtration offers advantages in its ability to achieve specific fractionation of high quality products in biotechnological processes such as cell harvest, fermentation broth clarification, solvent extraction, and many others.

This results in many cases in an extremely high purity of these products and at much higher yields than can be achieved by any conventional separation methods, such as centrifuging or with filter-presses.

Some of these applications include:


• antibiotics
• proteins and peptides
• amino acids and vitamins
• vaccines
• growth hormones
• antigens and antioxidants


• enzymes
• insecticides and pesticides
• industrial alcohol
• biodegradable plastics and foils
• fine chemicals

Product range and services of GEA membrane filtration

In addition to turnkey production systems, GEA Filtration offers a comprehensive and versatile selection of membrane plants on a laboratory and pilot scale. The company also has an experienced and well-resourced process development group available for laboratory and pilot trials as well as process scale-up.

Pilot filtration systems

GEA Filtration’s global technology center in Hudson, WI, as well as their European pharmaceutical and biotech operations in Skanderborg, Denmark, offer the opportunity to test everything from small-volume membrane screening tests to large-scale optimization trials.

A large selection of pilot plants in all types of membranes is also available for on-site testing at the customer’s premises. From laboratory lab models to high flow, continuous, semi-automatic pilot systems.

GEA Filtration’s process and technical staff can provide valuable support from the initial membrane selection to the final system design. This commitment to their customers ensures the best possible chance of success in every project.

A reliable partner in filtration technology

GEA Filtration is part of GEA, a global leader in process engineering in the life science industry, with more than 150 globally operating companies with diverse specializations.

GEA Filtration is thus a team member with other technology leaders, such as Niro, Wiegand, Niro-Soavi and Tuchenhagen, who specialize in valve construction or liquid and powder processing systems. Thus, GEA Filtration can offer both customized membrane filtration systems and complete process lines specifically tailored to the exact needs and requirements of each customer.

Services include:

• Regulatory compliance
• 3A hygiene standards
• FDA approved materials
• cGMP standards
• EQ, IQ, OQ engineering support
• Validation support

Global experience, local presence

Multidisciplinary teams in dedicated GEA Filtration Centers in the USA, Germany and Denmark can offer the following value-added services:

• Pilot trials and application development
• Scaling the system
• Project development
• Process integration
• Controls and automation
• System production
• Documentation and validation support
• System installation and commissioning
• Service and plant audits

For more information on all GEA Filtration products and services, visit the membrane-filtration section of the GEA Filtration website.

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