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Pressure Vessels and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Pharmaceutical manufacturing is a far-reaching, global industry that plays a role in your everyday life. Pressure vessels are used extensively in this industry to develop and transport medicines and the chemicals used to make them, but why are they such a necessary component? This guide will show you a few examples of how pressure vessels are used to help manufacture medicines.

What is the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry?

Pharmaceutical manufacturing is part of the industry dedicated to developing, creating, and marketing medications. Manufacturing refers to the part of the industry that focuses on mass production of drugs, including manufacturing chemical compounds, pressing pills, applying coatings, and other processes needed.

How are pressure vessels used in manufacturing medicines?

Pressure vessels are used to manufacture medicines in all kinds of ways, including some of the following examples:

  • Chemical synthesis
  • Fermentation processes
  • Mixing compounds

Chemical synthesis

Chemical synthesis refers to the process of making complex chemicals from simpler ones. The vast majority of medications are complex chemicals. How they are manufactured depends on the components needed and how they can be combined, by-products removed, and the result transported effectively.

Complex chemicals that require gases like oxygen, nitrogen, helium, and others need pressure vessels to process, contain, and pressurize those gases.

Fermentation processes

Fermentation in pharmaceutical manufacturing uses microorganisms to process materials into components for medicines, including antibiotics and insulin. Fermentation processes often release gas as a by-product, which needs to be contained and removed. For pharmaceutical manufacturing, the microorganisms need to be kept in a sterile environment, which is created and maintained by using pressure vessels.

The pressure vessels are used to keep the environment free from contaminants like unwanted microorganisms or others while allowing gases to be removed from the system in a controlled manner.

Mixing compounds

For large-scale chemical manufacturing, mixing compounds correctly in large quantities is critical. The materials making up a compound have to be evenly distributed throughout the entire batch, otherwise the medicines made from it might not have the correct dosages for a given volume of material.

Large, specialized mixing containers are used to ensure the materials are evenly distributed. Keeping the contents of the mixing container under pressure can help keep the environment sterile. To do this, many specialized containers for mixing chemicals also double as pressure vessels.

Learn more

Do you have more questions about pressure vessels, their uses, and how to design, build, and maintain them? Rexarc is an expert in pressure vessel design and fabrication, and we’d be happy to talk to you! Please reach out here.



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