Setting up a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical manufacturing plant that not only serves your company’s purposes, but is also feasible in the long run is no mean feat. We know you’re already working overtime to ensure that all the other little details are in place for your manufacturing operation to be a success. But let’s be honest, it’s impossible to be an expert in all aspects of your business, especially the technical elements for which you could use the support of a subject matter expert.
That’s where we come in.
Here, we’re talking about heat exchangers – some of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need when setting up your pharmaceutical operations. This guide will help you find the best heat exchanger manufacturers for your specific needs. Be it sizing, design selection, craftsmanship, material traceability or testing – let your heat exchanger manufacturer take care of it all so that you can focus on delivering products that enhance and save lives.
But first things first,
There are many different approaches and methods to sterile manufacturing, and we’re here to break them down for you.
What is a heat exchanger?
A heat exchanger is any system that is designed to transfer heat between a source and a working fluid. Heat exchangers are used for both heating and cooling processes. They are, essentially, temperature control mechanisms that have applications in a variety of industries from refrigeration and air conditioning to petrochemical plants and sewage treatment. The food and beverage and pharmaceutical industries also use heat exchangers, though in these sectors, there are high sanitary requirements in each part of the process. Further, they are used for more than just managing electrical waste heat; the chemical and biochemical reactions that occur in these industries need perfectly controlled temperatures and heat exchangers are the best thermal management solutions.
Heat exchangers come in myriad geometries, sizes and materials. Making a decision about which manufacturer of heat exchangers can give you the best products depends on a number of factors, including the features of your processes, like type of liquid, temperature, pressure, viscosity, density, chemical composition and thermodynamic properties amongst many others.
So before we get around to finding what makes the best heat exchanger manufacturers, let’s first look at the design characteristics that should be at the top of your mind when selecting your equipment from heat exchanger manufacturers.
What to think about when you’re thinking about heat exchangers
- Cleanability, drainability and contamination prevention
As we’ve mentioned earlier, heat exchanger manufacturers should pay special attention to the sanitary requirements of the processes they are designed for. In pharmaceutical applications, it is critical to have equipment that is easily cleanable and drainable to maintain the integrity of your final product; integrated CIP/SIP functionalities are ideal. The equipment should not have any difficult-to-access dead spaces. Neither should it be made of any material that cannot tolerate your preferred cleaning regimen. Most importantly, there should be no risk of contamination; a double tube sheet design by your heat exchanger manufacturer will permit leak detection and prevent cross-contamination.
Passivation also prevents risk of contamination by making the surface of the heat exchangerunreactive or inert, thereby ensuring that no unwanted materials enter the product and the integrity of the process is maintained from start to finish.
- Material: thermal efficiency, costs, availability and more
The primary function of a heat exchanger is, well, to exchange heat. So the thermal conductivity of the material of the tube is key. But while copper or copper/nickel alloys are the most conductive materials out there, you also have to think about other factors like cleanability. In sanitary industries like pharma, your product surfaces must be stainless steel or a higher alloy to comply with strict industry guidelines that demand prevention of buildup and easy cleanability. For instance, at TSA, all heat exchangers are constructed with 316L stainless steel, with surface finishing of less than 0.3 Ra, to ensure efficient maintenance.
The best heat exchanger manufacturers produce heat exchangers in the geometry and design that best suits your pharmaceutical production processes. Head on over here if you want to be able to assess if your manufacturer of heat exchangers is giving you the design you need.
What to look for in a manufacturer of heat exchangers
- Reputation and experience
If a heat exchanger manufacturer is any good at what they do, they are bound to have a good reputation in the market. Do your research, know which manufacturer of heat exchangers your competition is relying on, and find indications of their experience in solving simple and complex problems. This will ensure that you not only get a good product, but also good service when it comes to repair and maintenance.
- Supplier resources
Make sure that the heat exchanger manufacturer that you are working with has access to a number of suppliers who can provide the specific alloys that your equipment needs. Make an assessment of how quickly your heat exchanger manufacturer can get their hands on the metals you need, how cost effective they are, and the fabricators capabilities in working with your choice of alloy.
- Service promise or AMCs
Downtime in any production line is expensive, so you want to make sure you’ve taken care of your equipment’s maintenance needs as quickly and efficiently as possible without burning a hole in your pocket with last minute unanticipated costs. Enter Annual Maintenance Contracts, or AMCs, which ensure that your equipment is looked after regularly by trained professionals. Not only do AMCs help increase the longevity of your product, they also take some of the unpredictability out of your maintenance costs. They also give you the privilege of expertise on demand, allowing you to focus on your own core. In case you were wondering, at TSA, we provide AMCs with all of their offerings.
This goes without saying – the quality of equipment, its components and the overall design sets the best heat exchanger manufacturers apart from the rest. Quality should be at the centre of everything you do. Not only is it a question of process feasibility or equipment longevity, but in the pharma industry, quality is a matter of life and death. So make sure your heat exchanger manufacturer never compromises in this regard.
- Clear Understanding of Customer’s Needs
Finally, a heat exchanger manufacturer may be the very best in the world at making state-of-the-art machines, but if those machines don’t work for you – the customer – then they are absolutely pointless. The best heat exchanger manufacturers will understand you, the customer and your specific needs to deliver a product that will never fail to support you in your pharmaceutical manufacturing process.
At TSA, all our offerings come with the additional support of validation documentation, cleanroom FAT facilities, AMCs and spares. This means that your relationship with us doesn’t end after you make a purchase. Whatever challenge you have, even after you’ve safely installed and put your heat exchanger to use, we are here to help.
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