Discontinuous and continuous separation processes
The simulated moving bed (SMB) technology has come a long way since its beginnings in the petroleum industry. Today, various applications in biotechnology or the pharmaceutical industry utilize its ability to continuously perform difficult binary separations Out of mixtures containing more than two substances, a conventional closed loop SMB unit, consisting of four distinct zones, can only purify either the least or the most retained component. This concept of combining multi-component mixtures to pseudo-binary separation tasks is feasible for a number of tasks. However, if the target component has an intermediate affinity to the stationary phase a different approach is needed. The insights obtained are valuable, because even complex multi-component mixtures can often be considered quasi-ternary, as a target product in a mixture will most likely be framed by other substances with either higher or lower affinity to the stationary phase.