By: Dinesh Gupta, Director, Bry-Air | Chronicle Pharmabiz | November 2020
Humidity is all around us and air containing varying degree of moisture. Depending on the location, the season, the time of the day effects everything around us. The characteristic of the humidity touches and changes.
While it may be a negligible aspect of our day- to- day lives, when it comes to industrial products, the presence of moisture cannot be ignored. Various industries use several kinds of hygroscopic material for manufacturing end products and uncontrolled humidity can interfere in the processing, packaging and storage of these products/ goods. The good made in the presence of moisture are sub-standard and sometimes do not qualify and suitable for the distribution.
Moisture and humidity can also damage sensitive industrial equipment. To ensure right maintenance of high-tech equipment and its functioning, moisture control is must. Condensation upon the machines due to variation in humidity levels can lead to micro corrosion and malfunction in the devices, which can cause considerable losses.
Dehumidification and relevance for Pharma Industry
The simple and more efficient way for moisture control in any set up is Dehumidification. The pharmaceutical industry is well aware with the importance of moisture control and Dehumidification systems.
The FDA, GMP and other global policies and regulations further ensure the pharma industry to be front runner in implementing in Dehumidification system.
Pharmaceutical industry is one of the key consumer of Dehumidification technology. From the raw material of a medicine to its deliver to the end consumer through a hospital pharmacy, humidity control measure is an integral requirement for processing, manufacturing, storage, research and testing areas in the pharmaceutical industry. A basic operation of chemicals and pharma industry is the bringing together of the constituents, under precise conditions to form compounds. Unwanted moisture may impede desired reactions and cause formation of undesirable end products. Moisture is natural enemy of many grinding machines and pulverization issues too faced during powder milling process. The contact of water vapor with the product makes the material resilient and difficult to grind. The material sticks to the grinding machines and it makes it difficult to convey the material from one process to another.
Dehumidification is not only relevant at the manufacturing plant, but its relevance expands to the storage, cleanliness of the air in a hospital and even at the research and test labs. Most pharmaceuticals powders are highly hygroscopic and moisture reactive. Maintaining low humidity in the packaging areas is critical. Similarly, finished capsules effervescent tablets etc. need to be stored in a dry environment to prevent moisture regain and spoilage of products
With uptake of nutraceuticals, soft gelatin capsules are very much in demand. During manufacturing of the soft gelatin, warm liquid gelatin is spread over a slow revolving stainless steal drum. A supply of chilled dry air congeals that gelatin as the drum rotates, so that the tacky elastic band rolls off the other end. This thin band is aromatically formed into capsules filled with medicines. If the temperature and humidity levels are not maintain, gelatin will starts softening and solidification. Simply to prepare injections sterile conditions with humidity in the range of 45 per cent.
Dehumidification even after delivery of phrama products
Clean rooms are areas where communication are totally controlled. All the parameters including airborne particles, humidity air pressure is all strictly monitored. Even in the cold rooms or chambers where the perishable medical products such as blood, Vaccine, and other similar items are kept, humidity control is non-negotiable and is achieved by installing dehumidifiers.
COVID-19, pandemic as a matter of fact, expedited the uptake of dehumidification technology by the pharmaceutical industry. By it test lab or research lab, the need for the humidification increased with the need to keep the with the transmission of the virus low and air clean at hospitals where COVID test were being done and patients were being admitted.
From Intensive Care Units (ICUs ) the diagnostic rooms, these rooms contain computers, sophisticated analytical instruments and analyzer that are made of high end plastic and sensitive to temperature, humidity and dust. The COVOD rapid test kits, testing should be done is a controlled environment for correct diagnosis, thus making the application of dehumidification solutions are necessity of these areas.
Pharma Industry has become aware of the various aspect of the trade which require environment control. Rather than incurring losses in the term of spoiled medicines, malfuntioning of diagnostic kit or even in many cases lose of life due to compromise on quality of air …. the industry has risen to the opportunity of understanding and deploying dehumidifier and dehumidification solution wherever necessary. From world over the demand for these solutions is on a rise and key Indian players are leaving no stone unturned to use it to their benefit.
Pharma industry’s opportunity to make entirely in India
In the post COVID world, the Indian pharma industry decided to be further self-reliant. The focus had shifted away from the active pharmaceuticals ingredients (APIs) manufacturing for a few years and dependencies increased but the government in India was swift to make provision for incentivizing active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing with the objective to boost local manufacturing of critical active pharmaceutical ingredients.
Once the active pharmaceutical ingredients manufacturing begins in India at the most sought-after locations such as Vizag and its nearby areas, the HVAC&R Industry will see an other spur in demand from local manufactures. Writing India’s name on the world map, the Key player in the Indian HVAC&R markets is ready to meet the future demands with its products that are also manufactured in India. with years of research and experience of serving the local and international market, now the Indian HVAC&R Industry is ready to take the vocal for local mission to the another level.
(Author is Director at Bry-Air (Asia), New Delhi)