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  • Peg Minichiello

How Does Moisture Affect Operations in the Pharmaceutical Industry?

A sterile environment is crucial in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure quality operations. This is why particular emphasis is placed on the air quality in the pharmaceutical facilities. These facilities use compressed air that must be free of contaminants. The presence of these contaminants is likely to disrupt productivity. In worst case scenarios the entire production may come to a complete stand still.

Aside from contaminants, the amount of moisture present in the atmosphere is also important as it can also affect your manufacturing processes. Let’s take a closer look.

Problems Caused by Moisture

The presence of moisture in the air in pharmaceutical facilities has the following adverse effects on operations:

- Some products are destroyed if the air reaches -50ᵒF dew point

- Certain products may be deactivated or desiccated

- The moisture can react with certain materials causing rusting

- Moisture can freeze in control lines especially in cold weather resulting in faulty operational controls

The Solution

Using Dry Air

Using dry air is achieved through the drying process. Generally all atmospheric air contains water vapor. Over time this water vapor will condense into liquid water in the compressed air.

Here the air cools past the saturation point where it can no longer hold water vapor. The temperature where this happens is what is referred to as the dew point. This dew point is crucial in determining how much of the compressed air needs drying.

Using Refrigerated Air

Some facilities use refrigerated air. Here the air is cooled to remove water after which it’s returned to room temperature which significantly lowers the humidity in the room. This way you don’t have to deal with problems associated with moisture build up such as bacterial growth.

Regulating the Dew Point

Another option may be to regulate the dew point temperature. Use at least -10ᵒF for indirect product contact and around -50ᵒF for direct product contact.

Need Help?

Do you need more information regarding dew point & moisture and how it affects your productivity? CDA systems specialize in dew point and moisture management. Not only will we give you the necessary information and advice, but we’ll also help you identify the right moisture spec for your facility. Call us on 925.667.3400/ and our experts will assist you.

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