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In the process of manufacturing pharmaceuticals, every input into the final products has to be scrupulously hygienic and sterile, from the start to the end of the manufacturing process. The process also requires specific equipment, which also has to meet stringent standards.

AdockIngramOctoberZT315VSDWhen Rand-Air supplied an Atlas Copco ZT315VSD oil-free air compressor to Adcock Ingram, a major South African pharmaceutical manufacturer, the unit was modified to the customer’s requirements. The ZT315VSD is being used as a standby compressor at Adcock Ingram’s Steriles and Critical Care Manufacturing facility in Aeroton.

Adcock Ingram’s Aeroton facility plays a key role in South Africa’s pharmaceutical supply chain, producing a range of intravenous fluids, renal dialysis products, LVPs (large volume parenterals) and SVPs (small volume parenterals); as well as medical-grade sheeting for steriles and blood collection bags. The pharmaceuticals facility currently has its own two centrifugal compressors, which supply oil-free air. This high-purity oil-free compressed air is fed into an extensive stainless steel piping installation which prevents rust formation, oil carry-over or other contamination.

An absolutely reliable supply of completely contaminant and oil-free compressed air is essential for pharmaceutical high-speed mixing processes, as well as for blending, packaging and the in-house water plant which produces the water, combined with active ingredients used to make drugs that are injected into our bodies. This water is also used as the final rinsing agent for any component that comes in contact with the drug such as vials, ampules, caps and stoppers. 

“The Atlas Copco ZT315VSD with its 1,557 cubic feet a minute, 8.6 bar supply is eminently suitable for this application as it supplies completely contaminant- and oil-free air. In this instance, we did not supply a dryer as Adcock Ingram’s takes the feed from our compressor through their own in-house dryer,” explains Rand-Air Marketing Manager Byrone Thorne.

While the ZT315VSD is a standby unit, in the event of an operational issue with one of the in-house centrifugal compressors, the Atlas Copco ZT315VSD would take over the supply of compressed air with minimum disruption to the facility’s manufacturing capability. The unit is well-suited for the rigorous 24/7 duty cycle required by the customer, and its output is critical in ensuring uninterrupted production.

The rental supply contract is for a period of three years, Thorne adds. While the customer has the responsibility to make sure that the compressor is suitably located and secure, Rand-Air’s service and maintenance is part of the package. Furthermore, in the unlikely event that the customer experiences any issues, Rand-Air will be on hand to supply a replacement unit in the interim.

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