Scale-up of Electrospinning: Market Overview of Products and Devices for Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Purposes


Recently, the electrospinning (ES) process has been extensively studied due to its potential applications in various fields, particularly pharmaceutical and biomedical purposes. The production rate using typical ES technology is usually around 0.01–1 g/h, which is lower than pharmaceutical industry production requirements. Therefore, different companies have worked to develop electrospinning equipment, technological solutions, and electrospun materials into large-scale production. Different approaches have been explored to scale-up the production mainly by increasing the nanofiber jet through multiple needles, free-surface technologies, and hybrid methods that use an additional energy source. Among them, needleless and centrifugal methods have gained the most attention and applications. Besides, the production rate reached (450 g/h in some cases) makes these methods feasible in the pharmaceutical industry. The present study overviews and compares the most recent ES approaches successfully developed for nanofibers’ large-scale production and accompanying challenges with some examples of applied approaches in drug delivery systems. Besides, various types of commercial products and devices released to the markets have been mentioned.

Development of Electrospinning Machines from Laboratory to Industrial Scale

The continuous increase in passion and research in electrospinning has led to increased competition among laboratory-scale equipment’s suppliers. The market movement was revived with various spinning and collecting-electrode devices and accessories. For example, 4Spin Company (Dolní Dobrouč, Czech Republic) offers highly modular systems and polysaccharides such as hyaluronic acid, chitosan, or cellulose can spin, resulting in a fiber diameter of 300–500 nm [98]. E-Spintronic equipment (Gernlinden, Germany) is characterized by being easy to clean and capable of forming 3D spinning movement with a speed of 1–600 mm/min [99]; information on the fiber diameter range is not available on their website. HOLMARC Opto-Mechatronics (Kerala, India) designed equipment suitable for the production of protein NFs, carbon nanotubes, and inorganic NFs of diameter size 50–5000 nm. They provide systems for research in various fields, such as thin films, biotechnology, nanotechnology, life sciences [100]. NEU KatoTech Co. Ltd. device (Kyoto, Japan) uses electrospinning techniques to safely and easily produce NFs with diameters of 50 to 800 nm. This device is widely used in the automotive industry to research and develop filters and fuel cells [101]. Nadetech Innovations (Navarra, Spain) produce completely automatized ES systems, with completely controllable ES parameters with high accuracy and reproducibility.


Keywords: Electrospinning (ES); Nanofibers (NFs); Scale-up; Pharmaceutical industry