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Weighing and dispensing activities are processes of transferring specific amounts of powder or liquid raw materials from the bulk container and into smaller units that will be dispensed in specific quantities for batch manufacture. These two unit operations can be seen inside a warehouse during bulk product manufacture, or in a pharmacy during small-scale compounding processes.
These are two common yet very critical activities in pharmaceutical industries as they set up the foundation of the final drug product. This is the stage where amounts of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and the excipients must be precisely measured according to the recipe indicated. In a pharmaceutical plant, the operators normally follow the step by step procedure in the Batch Manufacturing Record (BMR) and afterwards, sends it out to the production team. A small amount of the raw materials will also be set aside for Quality Control; this is to guarantee that quality is embedded from beginning of production.
Meanwhile, in a pharmacy setting, compounding recipe will depend on individual patient information and their medication regimen. In both scenarios, strict adherence to the formulation recipe is necessary to ensure the production of safe and efficient pharmaceutical dosage forms.
Since these activities are usually handling substances in bulk form, they are at high risk for incidents of spills, leaks, and hazardous volatile emissions. Also, it is very likely that these activities will cater to concentrated substances which may have unwanted adverse health effects to operators exposed for a prolonged period of time. They may even cause contamination to the surrounding environment. To prevent this, engineering control measures – primary (equipment) and secondary (cleanroom facility) – must be present to provide a good ventilation flow and suppress the formation of fumes and/or dust clouds. As per international guidelines, such can be achieved with an equipment using unidirectional laminar air flow with specific pressurization controls and airflow velocity.
For industries that handle chemical substances with explosive properties, an ATEX zone must be specified by an ATEX specialist. This ATEX rated zone must then be considered when designing the facilities and choosing the equipment for weighing and dispensing operations.
As part of guideline development surrounding pharmaceutical companies, it is important to have a data logging or tracing of actual process events. Different equipment used for weighing and dispensing therefore, upholds this requirement by integrating human machine interfaces (HMI) which can be connected to each company’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.
From weighing scales to actual equipment used to contain the powder or liquid substances handled, modern designs allow for such data logging.
Esco Pharma is equipped with an experienced team of engineers who designed a number of equipment for weighing and dispensing activities of pharmaceutical industries. These equipment provide the necessary protection for users, product, and the environment to prevent any possible cross-contamination and exposure during the handling of different pharmaceutical substances.