Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Chemical and Paper Engineering

First Advisor

James Springstead

Second Advisor

Said AbuBakr


Pfizer is a pharmaceutical company that is looking to expand into a new and developing market of contract manufacturing. The company has a facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is the largest Pfizer facility in the world. With a growing demand for new and improved pharmaceuticals, it is proportional to the growing complexity of the synthesis of new drugs. Many companies lack the ability to make some of their own research and design products; however, Pfizer is looking to take advantage and monetize this lack of synthesizing capabilities by creating more modular processes to market to all different types of product synthesis.

Currently, Pfizer is a global leader in pharmaceutical production. The Kalamazoo facility specializes primarily in steroid production. The growing field of contract manufacturing has captured the eye of the Pfizer company and has lead to the launch of the branch called Pfizer Centreone, which is the contract manufacturing company embedded in the Pfizer company. This is a relatively new branch and the Kalamazoo site would like to be more involved in the contract manufacturing business. The primary goal of this project is to design two new reactor work centers that will give the Kalamazoo site a pilot scale contract manufacturing facility, which can be used for a variety of reactions based on the design flexibility. These reactions can be done at a relatively low cost and will not hold up any plant capacity, while generating large profits.

Over the course of four months, Pfizer has asked the Western Michigan University senior design team to specifically design the reactor system around the modularity of the work center, which will have the capability to conduct a variety of reactions. Although the work center demand is unknown, the aim for the work centers is to use Pfizer’s new manufacturing facility for contract purposes because the reactions and processes are so complex that many other companies simply do not have the capabilities of creating their own product. With this being said, Building 91 is aimed to be the intermediate step in the manufacturing process. This is where the backbone structure of the products are created. After, the product is moved around to different facilities within Pfizer for further development.

The total capital investment for this project is about $4.68MM, which includes the reactors, recycling pumps, condensers, valves and piping all required for the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) production at work centers D and G in Building 91. The new work centers will incorporate new technology, which will allow the engineers to create a more pure product as well as the capabilities to monitor the reaction during production without compromising the integrity of the product. Furthermore, the new technology was designed to assist operators in safer operation practices through inherently safer design.

As the increase for contract manufacturing increases and new drugs are created, there is a greater need for complex processes in pharmaceutical manufacturing for the pharmaceutical industry. With large resources and extreme knowledge of chemical synthesis, Pfizer will take a strong foothold in the contract manufacturing field with the addition of the two new work centers, which have the capabilities of a wide variety of reaction scheme needs.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted

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