Water temperature control is crucial in the pharmaceutical industry because water is used in various processes such as manufacturing, cleaning, and testing. Water that is too hot or too cold can affect the quality and efficacy of pharmaceutical products, leading to potential health hazards for consumers.
A point-of-use water cooler is a device used to provide chilled water at a specific location where it is needed. In the pharmaceutical industry, point-of-use water coolers are used to deliver chilled water for various applications such as cooling equipment, cooling products, and maintaining the temperature of sensitive materials.
To facilitate the safe operation of heat exchangers, Enerquip uses its double tube sheet design for cooling. These double tube sheets help prevent contamination of treated water, promoting high hygiene levels during production.
How are POU Water Coolers used in the Pharmaceutical Industry?
Water cooling is essential during the research and development, manufacturing, and packaging of various pharmaceutical products. For example, manufacturing capsules requires accurate temperature control during the molding process that creates the gelatin. Other procedures that require process cooling include:
- The wet granulation process
- Sterilization of liquid pharmaceuticals
Point-of-use water coolers are primarily used in the pharmaceutical industries and with various dairy or food applications. These coolers are positioned in all parts of the facility at the end of different production processes, just before packaging.
Water for Injection (WFI)
Point-of-use coolers are popularly used in pharmaceutical companies for cooling water for injection. They facilitate fast cooling of WFI so that it can be packaged in IV bags and transported to hospitals. WFI has numerous applications in the pharmaceutical industry. For example, it can be used:
- As a diluent and solvent for drugs
- For deep cleaning and sterilization of pharmaceutical equipment
To uphold the quality of this highly purified water, it is critical to make sure it is stored and transported at the required temperatures. Point-of-use water coolers can help facilitate this by cooling the water for injection to the desired temperatures at the point of use. Note that the faster you can chill the water, the less likely it will be for bacteria to grow.
During the production of medicines in the pharmaceutical industry, various types of waste are generated as byproducts of different manufacturing processes. Pharmaceutical waste can occasionally become mixed with other waste, leading to the acceleration of equipment deterioration or environmental damage. It is important to regulate the temperature of wastewater in order to avoid harming wildlife, as the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requires it to be kept within specific temperature ranges.
Materials Considerations for POU Water Cooler for Pharmaceutical Industries
There are many factors to consider before selecting the most appropriate material for the shell and tube heat exchanger. You can evaluate the heat exchanger material options based on the following criteria:
- Thermal efficiency
- Cost and availability
- Corrosion resistance
As per the customer’s preference, the exterior of a shell and tube heat exchanger can be mechanically polished to facilitate sterile processing. When requested, the tube side or product side can also be electropolished. An electropolish finish is smooth, uniform, and highly reflective. During electropolish, the stainless steel is immersed in an electrolyte bath to remove the metal layer, smooth the surface, and aid in cleanability.
In critical industries such as pharmaceutical processing, contact surfaces must be made from stainless steel or a higher alloy to comply with international quality and sanitary standards. This is why most companies avoid copper and carbon steel, as they are easily porous and may corrode.
Point-of-use water coolers are designed with a lower flow rate to ensure easy packaging. And due to their fast cooling rate, their water consumption is high, leading to high utility costs. This explains why they are set up in small batches.