Vacuum Technology for Production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients

Shanghai, China The important role played by vacuum technology in sustainable API production in China was recently the subject of a knowledge seminar held by Busch China. Participants included approximately 20 vacuum technology end users from the API production sector.

Active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are the chemical basis for the manufacture of life-saving drug products. In API production today, vacuum technology makes an important contribution to quality, environmental health and safety (EHS), efficacy and sustainability.

With the demand for constantly improved levels of environmental protection and sustainability, API producers are increasingly turning to dry screw vacuum pump technology. A special focus of the knowledge seminar was therefore COBRA NC series of dry screw vacuum pumps, which are designed for difficult applications in the pharmaceutical and chemical processing industries.

Dry screw vacuum pump technology is an environmentally sustainable solution, offering the advantages of energy efficiency and savings in water use to reduce the amount of sewage generated by an API plant. Furthermore, the COBRA NC series is available in ATEX-certified versions for applications in which flammability and explosion present a risk.

Vacuum is used in a large number of API applications, including evaporation, distillation and crystallization processes, and for sublimation, the process in which vacuum is used to transform solids to gas without the substance going through a liquids phase.

In recent years the domestic pharmaceutical industry in China has moved ahead in leaps and bounds, particularly as a result of API outsourcing to production facilities in China. According to Research & Markets (, China's domestic pharmaceutical market is the second largest in the world, after the USA, and the size of the market is expected to increase from US$105 billion (2014) to US$200 billion in 2020.

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