AHUs, Air Types, Air Changes and their Functions in Pharma Industry

One vital component of these systems is the Air Handling Unit (AHU).

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Drug Medicine Pharma manufacturing Factory Industry Unit
Picture: Pixabay
SDCO Cum Licensing Authority |
Food and Drugs Administration, (FDA) Haryana, India. |
Email ID: dahiya19@yahoo.com
Rakesh Dahiya

Last Updated on January 3, 2024 by The Health Master

AHUs, Air Types, Air Changes in Pharma Industry

In the pharmaceutical industry, maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels is crucial to ensure the quality and efficacy of products.

Achieving precise environmental conditions requires the implementation of appropriate HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems.

One vital component of these systems is the Air Handling Unit (AHU).

In this article, we will delve into the various types of AHUs, air types, air changes, and their essential functions within the pharmaceutical industry in India.

Air Handling Unit (AHU):

An Air Handling Unit (AHU) is a device used to regulate and circulate air as part of an HVAC system.

AHUs play a critical role in maintaining controlled environments by controlling temperature, humidity, filtration, and ventilation.

They are commonly used in pharmaceutical industry to ensure a clean and sterile environment for drug manufacturing and storage.

Types of AHUs:

Constant Volume AHUs:

These AHUs provide a fixed airflow rate, maintaining a consistent volume of air throughout the system.

They are suitable for spaces with predictable heat loads and offer cost-effective solutions for pharmaceutical industries.

Variable Air Volume (VAV) AHUs:

VAV AHUs adjust the airflow rate based on the required cooling or heating load.

They provide flexibility in managing temperature control and energy efficiency, making them ideal for spaces with varying heat loads or zones with different cooling requirements.

Energy Recovery AHUs:

Energy recovery AHUs help conserve energy by transferring heat or cooling between the exhaust and supply air streams.

They recover energy from the exhaust air and use it to pre-condition the incoming fresh air, reducing energy consumption and costs.

Air Types:

Supply Air:

Supply air refers to the conditioned and filtered air supplied to the pharmaceutical industry. It is usually treated to maintain the desired temperature, humidity, and cleanliness levels.

Exhaust Air:

Exhaust air is the air that is expelled from the facility.

It typically contains contaminants and should be properly ventilated or treated to prevent the buildup of pollutants within the facility.

Return Air:

Return air is the air drawn back into the AHU from the conditioned space.

It may contain some contaminants and is usually mixed with fresh outdoor air for treatment and filtration before being supplied back into the facility.

Air Changes per Hour (ACH):

Air changes per hour (ACH) is a measure of the number of times the total volume of air within a space is replaced in an hour.

In the pharmaceutical industry, maintaining appropriate ACH is crucial to remove contaminants, control odours, and ensure air quality.

The recommended ACH varies depending on the specific areas within the facility, such as manufacturing areas, cleanrooms, and storage areas.

Functions of AHUs in the Pharma Industry:

Temperature Control:

AHUs play a vital role in maintaining precise temperature control within the pharmaceutical industry, ensuring optimal conditions for drug manufacturing, storage, and research activities.

Humidity Control:

Controlling humidity levels is essential in pharmaceutical industries to prevent moisture-related issues, such as product degradation or microbial growth.

AHUs help regulate humidity by removing excess moisture from the air or adding moisture when required.

Filtration:

AHUs incorporate filters to remove airborne particles, dust, and contaminants, ensuring a clean and sterile environment.

High-efficiency filters are often used to achieve the required air quality standards in pharmaceutical settings.

Ventilation:

Proper ventilation is critical in pharmaceutical industries to ensure a constant supply of fresh air, remove contaminants, and maintain a safe and healthy working environment.

AHUs facilitate efficient ventilation by exchanging indoor and outdoor air.

Conclusion:

In the pharmaceutical industry, AHUs are integral to maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels, controlling air quality, and ensuring a clean and sterile environment.

By understanding the different types of AHUs, air types, air changes, and their functions, pharmaceutical companies in India can effectively design and implement HVAC systems that meet the stringent requirements of drug manufacturing and storage.


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