From handling raw materials to disposing of wastewater, pumps are used throughout the entire pharmaceutical process. And it is important to have confidence the entire product line meets the strict guidelines and highest levels of quality.

Since a variety of different types of liquids needs to be handled throughout the pharmaceutical manufacturing process, it is key that the right pump is used for each situation. Types of pharmaceutical pumps can include centrifugal, flexible impeller, diaphragm, rotary lobe, and submersible. Stainless steel pumps are also used since they are corrosion resistant.

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Pharmaceutical Pumps

Equipment selections made by medicine and drug manufacturers, as well as biotech, biopharmaceutical, and life science operations, are done to improve processing capabilities, which improves their ability to overcome common production challenges in a repeatable process.

Pump selection is the first step for pharmaceutical companies trying to achieve optimal processing. In this article, we will examine the various types of pumps used in the pharmaceutical industry and how they contribute to the growing sector.

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When choosing a pump for a pharmaceutical facility, the cost comes second to the quality of the pump’s construction and design. The pump’s dependability is critical, as a faulty pump can cost a company thousands of dollars in non-compliant pharmaceuticals. If it doesn’t work properly, it can even introduce bacteria into the medicine.

To make matters even more complicated, it’s worth noting that the pharmaceutical industry uses different grades of water depending on the result. These are defined as bulk waters produced on-site or packaged waters produced in highly controlled environments. Pharmaceutical pumps are available in a variety of types and sizes. Let’s take a look at some common pumps that are used in the pharmaceutical industry below.

Popular lines of pharmaceutical pumps

Booster pumps

Booster pumps are additional pumps that are used to boost flow rate. They are used in tandem with other types of pumps to help satisfy higher flow requirements. Booster pumps can be used at a treatment plant and along the pipes, to help maintain a safe level of pressure.

Centrifugal pumps

This style is by far the most common example of the kinetic pump design. In fact, the majority of all pumps currently being used in the processing industries are centrifugal. Their dependability, hygienic design, and relatively low cost make them a popular choice for many high-purity applications.

Since less viscous liquids are much easier to accelerate with kinetic energy, centrifugal pumps can transfer them more efficiently than other designs. They are capable of very high flow rates with the consistent, non-pulsing flow and are available in multi-stage versions for applications that require extremely high output pressures.
Centrifugal pumps are typically the go-to choice for transferring lower viscosity fluids.
However, not all products are a good fit for centrifugal pumps. The high-speed impeller creates a dynamic environment inside the pump casing, which may be harmful to some shear-sensitive fluids. And while some centrifugal pumps are capable of pumping fluids with viscosities as high as 1000 cPs, the efficiency of a centrifugal pump drops considerably once the fluid viscosity exceeds about 100 cPs.          
  • Excellent for transfer of low-viscosity fluids
  • Available with hygienic design and traceability options for high-purity applications
  • Flow rate can be easily adjusted with a valve at the pump outlet
  • Low purchase cost compared with many other pumps
  • Simple, reliable design is easy and inexpensive to maintain
  • Small dimensional footprint
  • Steady, pulsation-free output
  • Available in single-stage through multi-stage designs capable of a wide range of flow and pressure outputs
  • Compatible with fluids containing some suspended particulates or small solids

  • Not recommended for viscous liquids
  • Not recommended for fluids with large suspended solids
  • Not recommended for shear-sensitive fluids
  • Limited inlet suction (or “lift”). The inlet must be adequately flooded to meet the pump’s net positive suction head (NPSH) requirements to avoid cavitation
  • Turbulence in the casing can cause surface corrosion (rouging) on the casing’s internal surface with some fluids
  • Flow rate is impacted by changes in head pressure
  • The dynamic action of the impeller tends to entrain air into the product
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Lobe pumps

Lobe pumps have exceptional sanitary properties, as well as high efficiency and corrosion resistance, and are made up of rotating lobes that form massive pumping chambers. This allows the pump to easily handle small solids, pastes, and other liquids. Even if the pressure changes, the flow remains constant because the lobes keep turning.

Diaphragm Pump

Air-operated diaphragm (AOD) or double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps (sometimes referred to as “membrane” pumps) are powered by compressed air rather than electric motors or drives. They repeatedly compress and decompress flexible diaphragms to pull fluid into the pump chamber then push it out. Check valves control the flow of fluid in and out of the pump chambers during each stroke. Diaphragms separate the pump drive components from the wetted area, so they don’t have a mechanical seal, which makes maintenance more straightforward and provides superior cleanability. It can also run dry for extended periods without damaging the pump.

For this reason, they are commonly used in high-purity processing for dosing, coating, and filling operations, chromatography, fluid injection, and aseptic transfer of proteins, cells, and other materials.
Diaphragm pumps are excellent for metering applications where highly accurate volume control is critical.
One characteristic common to diaphragm pumps is significant pulsation. While pulsation-dampening devices are available for reducing or eliminating unwanted pulsation, consider the use of an AODD carefully to be sure they meet the cleanability requirements of your high-purity application.
Air-operated diaphragm pumps, also known as “multiple-use” pumps, can be cleaned-in-place (CIP) or steamed-in-place (SIP) and reused many times. Single-use versions have pump chambers designed for just one processor batch. With single-use pumps, the pump chamber is removed and discarded after each process and replaced with a new chamber.
Chamber replacement can save time and money by avoiding some cleaning and validation procedures, and it eliminates the risk of cross-contamination between batches or products. If products are changed frequently and require quick changeovers, single-use AODDs may be a wise choice.
  • Excellent for high viscosity fluids, large suspended solids or high suspended solids content
  • Well suited for hazardous environments due to the air-powered, intrinsically safe design
  • A common choice for areas where electricity is unavailable or not allowed
  • Available in a wide variety of metal and non-metal materials
  • Pumps can run dry for extended periods without damaging the pump
  • Self-priming
  • Significant flow and pressure pulsation
  • Not recommended for high-pressure applications; Fluid output pressure is limited to the air pressure available to drive the pump, typically around 120 psi maximum
  • Low maximum flow capabilities compared to other pumps
  • Vibration and air venting can create a significant amount of noise

Chemical Pump

Chemical pumps are capable of delivering consistent performance and mechanical dependability. This pump can transfer water and other liquids such as oils, solvents, and other chemicals and can also deal with aggressive and corrosive liquids.

Screw pump.

Screw pumps can be used throughout the pharmaceutical process: production of raw materials by fermentation, precise dosing of raw materials and products to the mixer, product transfer, precise dosing of finished products into pots, and packing.

In addition, the line of screw pharmaceutical pumps also appears in the wastewater treatment process of liquid waste products. The requirement is that the pump has a hygienic design when needed, and can be cleaned using CIP procedures. They have low-cut, low-pulse operations. Handles low and high viscosity products, even those that do not flow or are very sticky, such as molasses, pastes for toothpaste, mica, cream products, etc.

They can also handle abrasive and corrosive chemicals, such as sodium hypochlorite or phosphoric acid. In addition, special products such as: – MBS Tubular Heat Exchanger (THE) or Scraped Surface Heat Exchanger (for viscous products 30000 cP and up) from MBS. – Homogenizer + Colloidal Mill of BERTOLI. – Premix Mixer Shear Pump.

General characteristics of pharmaceutical pumps:

Sanitary pumps used in high-purity applications such as pharmaceutical processing and biotechnology typically require a level of design that is higher than in most other processing industries. The pumps not only need to transfer product efficiently, but they must also meet strict design and cleanability requirements mandated by the many organizations that establish standards for ultra-clean processing!

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Many pumps in the pharmaceutical industry are fairly standard, but this is a demanding industry and some specialized components are required. In particular, there are three pump selection factors in these complex pharmaceutical applications as follows:

– The first is hygiene, which is perhaps the most obvious limitation. The need to ensure absolute hygiene applies throughout the manufacturing process of pharmaceutical products. As a result, pumps designed for pharmaceutical use need to meet stringent standards, such as 3-A or EHEDG certification. The need for hygiene is generally also related to the need for quick, efficient product changes to avoid cross-contamination between lots.

– The next consideration is the ability to handle very specific fluids, such as living cells. That requires extremely sophisticated handling in the form of a low-shear pump.

– The third is the need for absolute precision in dosing and measuring, whether it’s in-process or component packaging. These applications often require pumps that can maintain steady output, with little fluctuations in volume and pressure – known as pulseless flow.

Application of pharmaceutical pump

Perfectly cleanable process pumps are the ideal solution for pure water circulation, cleaning applications,… Typical fluids are purified water, WFI, CIP, syrups ,… Standard centrifugal pumps, especially suitable as CIP return pumps. Process pumps are used in most food-related industries as well as in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. They are the ideal solution for filtration, pasteurization, evaporation, yeast propagation and CIP cleaning applications.

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Contact Thai Khuong Pumps Today to Find the Best Pump for Your Business

There is a wide range of pumps available for many of the applications required in the pharmaceutical industry. If your company is looking to improve its pharmaceutical processes by upgrading your pumps, Thai Khuong Pumps can help.

At Thai Khuong Pumps, engineered solutions and reliable and efficient products are at the heart of everything we do. Our extensive and comprehensive range of industrial pumps provides your pharmaceutical business with the best option. We provide customers with consistent expertise and attention to efficient engineering and design, equipment uptime, and performance.

If you’re looking for the most powerful and efficient pumps for your pharmaceutical business, we can advise you on the best industrial pump for your specific applications. Take a look at the industrial pumps we have to offer! or Take a look at our equipment maintenance, repair, and installation services!

Pumps For Pharmacy Industry