Pharmaceutical manufacturers are of four different types or combinations of bulk products, intermediate products, active ingredients and FDA approved drug products. Bulk pharmaceuticals and intermediates are often made by fine chemical companies.
The following vacuum applications are used to make the above products.
Drying (Tray, Rotary, Tumble, Conical & Freeze Dryers)
Drying is a low cost, relatively low temperature process where the biological or active ingredient is not harmed/degraded/oxidized by pulling vacuum to evaporate liquids from the solids. Pharmaceutical/Biological products are dried to remove solvents, water, etc. and typically require a vacuum below 1 torr in the final drying stage. The remaining cake is granulated, blended and pressed into pills. The low residual moisture levels make the product useful for longer term storage.
Reactors are used in fine chemical, pharmaceutical and fragrance industries. The vacuum is used to reduce/control the temperature of the reaction, remove reacted products, reduce cost, control/improve product quality and recapture product.
There is a wide array of chemical reactions suitable for using dry pump technology. These include: pharmaceutical intermediates, chemical reactions for neutralization and adsorption, stripping/cracking of hydrocarbons and other chemicals, synthesis of chemical compounds.
Distillation is the separation of two or more distinct layers or zones, which differ in temperature, pressure, composition or phase state. As the tower moves to equilibrium, each zone will have a different concentration and thus, can be separated from the original mixture. Simply put, the distillation column provides an atmosphere where each liquid component can separate from another by changing the vacuum and temperature.
The vacuum system removes the non-condensable load, water and light ends from the system allowing the feedstock to be processed through the column to achieve separation. The gas removed from the top of the tower is condensed and the liquids are reintroduced into the tower for further separation. Typically used on fatty acids, monoglycerides, vitamins (A,E), oils, esters, paraffins, insecticides, plasticizers, etc.
Degassing is the removal of dissolved/trapped gases in a liquid or product. Vacuum allows the vapor to be removed from the liquid improving the physical characteristic, improving the product for further processing and avoiding cross contamination or corrosion.
The following is a brief list of applications:
- Degassing oils to improve purity (hydrocarbon oil, transformer oil, turbine oil, brake fluid, hydraulic brake oil, etc.)
- Degassing glues, pastes, paints to remove unwanted gases that would harden or degrade the product
- Degassing polymers in an extruder to obtain a higher quality product or bubble free sheet
- Degassing water for medical, food and boilers
Crystallization is accomplished by evaporation and cooling of a supersaturated liquid to form crystals. These crystals are easy to handle, store, and are sold in this finished form. Our vacuum pumps are ideal to control the evaporation/cooling rates across all pressure ranges to reduce production cost by lowering the boiling point of the liquid.
Several applications include:
- Concentrating: Desalination, Sewage, radioactive waste, black liquor, sugar, sugar beets
- Recovering plating materials, photographic solutions
- Producing Ammonium nitrate, sodium hydroxide, etc.
- Crystallizing sugar, salt, naphthalene, aniline, Urea, Gypsum, Potash, amino acids, penicillin, and antibiotics
Sublimation is a process whereby a solid is transformed to a gas phase without going through the liquid phase. This allows for the removal of excess material without creating a degraded condition for the end product. The process is used in freeze drying, optical products, laboratory, etc. The vacuum system rapidly cycles and sublimes the material and exhausts the material into a controlled environment where it will turn to a solid.
Filling and/or Transfer of Material
Creams and pastes require removal of air when filling tubes, etc. This is accomplished with small liquid ring pumps or rotary vane pumps located on the filling machine. Liquid transfer occurs by using a vacuum pump to fill the tank and then discharge it via a compressor.