Applications of Compressed Air in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Process Air Application
Process applications employ compressed air for a specific kinetic activity. For example, during pill production, the uncoated pills are churned in a large drum as part of the coating process. Compressed air often drives the drum. Similarly, it plays a large role in the conveyance process. For Process Air Applications, ELGi offers a range of oil-free or oil-lubricated air compressors.
Direct Contact Application
Direct contact entails the direct contact of compressed air with the application, thus making air quality critical. For example, compressed air is used to coat tablets to ensure their structural integrity. Impurities in this air will compromise the integrity and worse, contaminate the product. It is also critical in jet milling, where nitrogen is used to reduce active ingredients. Specifically, the powder is fed into a milling chamber where compressed air or nitrogen, usually in a vortex motion, promotes particle-to-particle collisions. Particle classification is made by inertia, following reduction via impact and abrasion.
Compressed air is also used for bottle cleaning to safely remove dust and small particles from containers before filling. The system is particularly suitable for removing loose contaminants that may have accumulated during shipping or storage. Containers first enter the rinsing area and are then bathed with ionized air generated by special transvector air flow amplifiers. The static charge that attracts debris to the surface of the containers is neutralized. Rinsing heads use a blast of compressed air to clean them. A vacuum collects the loose particles which are then disposed. As a final direct application, membrane technology with nitrogen generators uses compressed air forced through a polymeric hollow fibre to selectively permeate oxygen, water vapour and other impurities out of its side walls while allowing nitrogen to flow through its centre and emerge as high purity N2 gas.
ELGi offers a range of oil-free air compressors providing Class ‘0’ air for critical direct contact applications in the pharmaceutical industry.
Oil Free Air Compressors in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Amidst the companies that render pharmaceutical products & services, oil free air compressors play a pivotal role in the manufacturing of medicine and related products. With growing regulatory authorities scrutiny, strict warnings over toxic impurities and delicate pharmaceutical manufacturing processes, the quality of compressed air meeting the highest standards, is of upmost importance. On the other hand, continuous air supply must be guaranteed, since a disruption can lead to an immense loss of production and a negative impact on the manufacturer’s reputation due to product contamination.
There is a growing industrial need for oil-free and contaminant-free compressed air during the manufacturing process such as Tablet Coating & Drying, Bottle cleaning, Nitrogen separation and much more. To achieve high air purity levels, compressors must offer specialist air treatments and adhere to industry regulations to ensure debris, particulates and oils are removed, hence there is a need for an oil-free compressed air system. The amount of allowable oil in compressed air depends on its application and often has to be inn line with the ISO8573-1 compliance norms which classifies the quality of air based on oil content as Class 0 to Class 4.
Oil-free compressors are used in diversified pharmaceutical applications, from conveying capsules and packaging to providing factories with a steady supply of clean, high-quality air. Oil-free compressors are essential components to pharmaceutical industry processes, particularly during manufacturing medicines, capsules and other consumable products. As these products requires highest purity, the inclusion of oil-free air compressors ensures production remains free from contamination.