Solving water for the pharmaceutical sector

Solving water for the pharmaceutical sector

Water is the most widely used ingredient in pharmaceutical manufacturing, playing a vital role in the $1.5 trillion global pharmaceutical market. As water issues like scarcity accelerate, here's a look at how leading pharma manufacturers are addressing the sector’s complex water challenges, including meeting regulatory standards for water quality and reliability, while managing rising water costs.

Water’s critical role in pharmaceutical manufacturing

High purity water – including Purified Water or Water-for-Injection (WFI) – is critical in the development and production of medicines and products used every day to treat, cure, prevent or diagnose a disease, as well as to promote well-being. To achieve quality standards for both Purified Water and WFI, pharma manufacturers leverage a range of water-treatment technologies, including softeners, UV light, carbon filtration, particle filtration, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and ion exchange, among others.

Outside of manufacturing systems, pharma companies utilize different forms of water for a range of other purposes, such as research and development, laboratory testing and utilities. Many pharma manufacturers are also required to meet discharge requirements and have wastewater systems on site to treat the water they’ve used before sending it to their local utility for additional treatment and return to the environment.

How pharma manufacturers are addressing water challenges

Forward-thinking pharmaceutical companies are harnessing innovative technologies and solutions that improve the efficiency, reliability and cost effectiveness of their water systems, while ensuring regulatory compliance. Here’s a look at three pharma manufacturers leading the way.

  • A global leader in advanced wound care, consumer wellness and medical devices was experiencing water quality challenges at a U.S. manufacturing plant in the mid-South. The factory had an existing water system composed of pretreatment, reverse osmosis and a final polishing step that was not effectively maintaining microbial control. As a result, the plant had to temporarily shut down production lines to conduct frequent sanitizations of the water system, reducing manufacturing output. To combat the problem, the customer turned to a comprehensive water treatment solution incorporating advanced technologies and proactive service that’s providing the site with reliable bacteria control and water quality, while eliminating unplanned downtime.

  • A medical device manufacturer needed to expand production capacity without exceeding mandated discharge limits that could result in crippling financial penalties. The company also wanted to reduce its raw water requirements and waste disposal costs. By turning to a leading-edge nanofiltration system, the customer achieved its requirements to reduce water consumption by 10%, while saving more than $3 million over a 10-year period.

  • A healthcare products manufacturer needed to expand operations and production without increasing its water needs and water discharge requirements. The customer implemented a high purity water system designed to maximize water conservation and optimize product production through an innovative approach that starts and stops heat sanitation depending on need, rather than continuous recirculation, to provide significant energy and cost savings. The result? The manufacturer was able to conserve 16 million gallons of water and comply with regulations, while also increasing profits.

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