What’s a pharma manufacturing facility without pharma manufacturing machines?
Whichever pharma product you decide to produce, your choice of pharma machines is integral to the whole process. Especially considering the high levels of automation in drug production, you want your machines to be safe, reliable and capable of getting the job done without too much human intervention.
Pharma manufacturing machines are essential components in the processing of pharma products, right from API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) production and solid dose manufacturing to freeze drying and packaging. The quality of your pharmaceutical equipment greatly influences the quality of your product and as a consequence, your facility’s adherence to regulatory standards. High quality pharma manufacturing machines ensure that every capsule, tablet, and liquid is created precisely to meet every applicable standard, with customised production methods capable of getting things right down to the very last nuance.
Pharma manufacturing machines: You can’t do without them
The correct pharma manufacturing machines can generate products very efficiently and reduce dependency on manual labour, which is often accompanied by human error, inconsistency and the introduction of other undesirable variables. Modern pharma machinescan help you streamline procedures at your plant, from the preparation of raw materials to dispensing and packaging, with automation enhancing not just efficiency but also long-term profitability.
However, this isn’t as easy as just purchasing a machine and getting set up. The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is increasingly competitive, and automating processes down to the smallest details of your particular product specification via customised machines will help you maintain your competitive edge. And then you must also periodically update your pharma machines to maintain strict adherence to the cGMP or Current Good Manufacturing Practices.
Pharma machines: More than just manufacturing
Production facilities use cutting-edge pharma machines to spot possibly faulty samples and inform operators of potential mistakes. Pharmaceutical labs also use analytical equipment to monitor test outcomes, track specimen reactions, accelerate manufacturing, and produce better products for consumers.
Commonly used pharma manufacturing machines
Pharma manufacturing machines are often divided by function. They usually fall in the categories of either processing equipment or packaging equipment. Naturally, even within these categories, the type of machinery used differs depending on the type of products manufactured as well as the scope and scale of the manufacturing facility.
- Heat exchangers: Used for both cooling and heating processes, heat exchangers are used to transfer thermal energy from a source to a working liquid. In pharma manufacturing, these are particularly important as chemical reactions to produce drugs and vaccines need to be carried out at defined temperatures. Even during storage, the environment and temperature of pharma products must be regulated.
- Mixers: As their name suggests, pharmaceutical mixers are used to mix materials – usually in powdered or granular form, but sometimes also liquid form – into homogenous blends.
- Agitators: Agitators are a kind of pharmaceutical mixer which is used when the materials to be mixed are in liquid form, especially liquids that do not mix together easily. Using them promotes chemical reactions as well as thermal transfers.
- Cooling towers: Since temperature regulation is key in pharma manufacturing, cooling towers are also integral to the process as they help remove unused or excess heat at different stages of the manufacturing or packing process, for example, before packaging, during moulding or after heating for the purpose of sterilisation.
- Pure steam generators: These are employed to produce biopharmaceutical grade pure steam used in cleaning, sterilisation, lyophilization and humidification.
- Centrifuges: Taking things apart is as important as putting them together. Industrial centrifuges are effective in separating mixed components of varying density – different fluids mixed together or particles mixed with fluids – by leveraging centrifugal forces. One of the main applications of centrifuges in pharma is achieving reactant purity.
- Dryers and granulators: These are used for the purpose of drawing out water or moisture from a substance, resulting in a final product which is in a dry solid or powder form. Their applications include creating granules to prepare tablets or capsules, preparing extracts, or reducing the bulk of a substance for easy storage and transport.
- Inspection machines: Not all pharma machines are used directly in the manufacture of drugs or vaccines, but they may be used for allied processes. Inspection machines allow for visual inspection of pharma products and may even be equipped with smart cameras to make the process more efficient.
- Pharmaceutical vessels: These are essentially holding tanks or containers suited to withstand high temperatures and pressures in which chemical reactions, mixing or other processes involved in pharma production can take place.
- Bottling and filling lines: The names of these machines are fairly self-explanatory – they are used to fill bottles with syrups or other liquids, and containers with capsules or tablets.
- Induction sealers: Induction sealing pharma machines are utilised to hermetically seal the tops of glass or plastic containers, eliminating the risk of contamination.
- Blister packers: Blister packaging is also known as unit dose packaging. Blister packers seal individual doses in a way that protects them from gas and moisture exposure, preventing contamination and increasing their shelf life.
These are only some of the manufacturing and packaging machines that you might have to employ in your pharma production plant. The specifics depend on exactly what you intend to manufacture, but here are some guiding principles that can help you make these difficult decisions.
Things to keep in mind while choosing the right pharma manufacturing machines
One of the first considerations while zeroing in on the right machinery is the product specifications. A super-advanced piece of machinery is pointless if it does not align with the desired product specification. Aside from customizations, you should also consider:
- Quality: Buying reliable equipment from reputable manufacturers is the hallmark of a superior pharma operation. Cutting corners can cost you as poor quality manufacturing would only lead to further wastage of valuable resources and expensive corrections, not to mention poor quality products.
- Ease of Cleaning: As mentioned before, simply buying and installing equipment is far from sufficient. Pharma equipment needs proper maintenance and care. It is of paramount importance to look for designs that are not only efficient in terms of operations but are also easy to clean and maintain via CIP and SIP integration.
- Automation Capabilities: In today’s day and age, automation is key to being a pharma frontrunner. A smart investment would be to rely on machines with advanced automation capabilities which can reduce your dependency on manual labour as well as maintain the consistency of your product over multiple production cycles.
Ultimately, equipment that is smarter and more efficient uses less manual labour and resources. It also leads to improvements in production procedures, thus lowering facility expenses as well as the overall cost per product resulting in higher profitability, customer savings, and other benefits. This, in turn, also makes it easier for more people to acquire the essential medications that they require. At the end of the day, investing in high quality pharma machines is a win-win situation for producers, governments and the general populace as it leads to better public health outcomes.