Businesses today, rely heavily on natural resources for energy. When we talk about energy resources, the most essential ones are air and water. To utilize these resources in any process, they must be treated to acquire the desired form and quality. Utilities will serve as the core of the whole process system in every sector.

Considering our field of Pharmaceuticals Industries, utilities are working to support all process equipment, production equipment & complete packing line. In the projects initially, we need to think about the selection of the Boiler, Compressor, Electrical HT, and water treatment processes. Another main part will be the design & distribution of the utility as well. In this blog, we will discuss the basics of utilities & their application in the project.

Utilities are categorized into two parts Clean Utilities & Black Utilities.

Clean utilities and black utilities are separated based on their end usage and if they are in direct contact with the product or utilized indirectly.

Clean Utilities

The utilities that are in direct contact with the product during its preparation are clean utilities. Clean utilities contain two major utilities,

1.Pure Steam – Superheated Steam ( PS)

2.Purified water (PW)

These two are majorly used during most of the batch preparation & other processes. Superheated (Pure) steam is mostly used for Autoclaves & sterilization procedures. The temperature of superheated steam is usually more than 120oC.

Purified water can be obtained using multi-level water purification system which majorly removes Bacteria and Microorganisms, Organic and Inorganic compounds, Particulates, Dissolved Gases & De-Ionizes & Balances the PH. We generally use a double pass Reverse Osmosis ( RO )+EDI ( Electro De-Ionization ) water purification system.

Purified water is generally used as one of the main excipients in the formulation process. Apart from being a key ingredient in the manufacturing process, it is also utilized for internal washing in Granulation line, Oral Liquid preparation process, Binder preparation, Coating and Pet/Glass bottle washing area.

Black Utilities

Black utilities are essential for the energy exchanges of many processes. However, they do not come in contact with the product directly but through the equipment they are indirectly utilized to aid the main manufacturing process

Majorly Potable water, Soft water, Steam Generator – Boiler and Compressed Air.

Potable Water is normal tap water which is processed through multi-grade filters (MGF) facility which is used to remove algae & bacteria majorly along while removing other fine dissolved particulate matter. The potable water could be used for drinking, Toilets etc.

Soft Water is produced by processing potable water by reducing the hardness of water may be up to 5 ppm using Softener. This will be used for Equipment Rinsing, Backwash etc.

Steam is the second most important utility utilized in the plant after water. Boilers are the primary source of Steam generation which are usually used. The temperature of Steam is around 100 oC. Steam bulky used in the Coating procedures like FBC(Fluid Based coater), FBP(Fluid Based Coating), in process or batch preparation Melting & Heating, process of FBD to remove the moisture & overall Humidification if required. Selection of boiler is mainly depending upon the calculation of steam requirement in the complete process considering losses during the distribution.

Compressed Air is mostly used for pneumatic actuators and valves for Process & Production equipment, Packaging area .

Clean Compressed Air is also used in direct contact with products in various machinery that include Tablet compression, Capsule filling, Ampule, Vials & Ointment filling, Liquid filling. In the Granulation procedure, processes like RMG, FBD & tipper pneumatic actuation are present.

Primary packaging like Blister Packaging, Ampoule packaging, Vial packaging, Bottle filling machine, strip packing, and sachet poaching also utilized compressed air heavily. In the secondary packing area during the operation of Carton filling machine or Box filling machinery, the compressed air is utilized. It is also used in the coating processes. Same as Boiler selection of Compressor is based upon the calculation of compressed air consumption in the complete factory. Based on the total volume of air needed to be compressed, the most economical type of compressor is selected.

We believe that by writing this blog, we help you understand the fundamentals of utilities and how they are used in the process. In our subsequent blogs, we will attempt to provide more extensive definitions of each utility. I hope you will remain tuned for our future blog series’.

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