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Inflatable seals in the

pharmaceutical industry

Today I am going to share my thoughts on, what is an inflatable seal and its uses in the pharmaceutical sector. Before I begin let’s try and get a brief understanding of the pharmaceutical industry.

the pharmaceutical industry

The world population, as of today while I am writing this blog, has already crossed 7.8 billion.

With continuous advancements in medicine formulations complemented by an ever growing global population, growth of the pharmaceutical industry was inevitable. The need to serve mankind and animals from infectious diseases, pandemics, or genetic diseases has become the growth pillar on which the pharmaceutical sector is thriving. The pharmaceutical sector, contrary to other sectors, does not fluctuate with external conditionstt as drugs are required 24×7. This is not a seasonal, but an evergreen industry.
And hence, the need for manufacturing more drugs is not a choice but a necessity.

Coming to the manufacturing process, drugs or as we call them medicines in layman language, are processed by binding APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients), intermediates, with the help of unit processes, to manufacture liquid, semi-liquid, or oral solid doses of drugs.

Some of the machines used in these unit processes include:

RMG (Rapid Mixer Granulator)

for wet granulation

FBD/FBP (Fluidized Bed Processors or Fluidized Bed Dryers)

for drying and other processing operations.

Tablet Compression Presses

for tableting

Tablet Coater Machines

for coating the tablets

inflatable seals

Here is where I am going to introduce the product inflatable seals. Let’s first understand what are inflatable seals and how they work.

An inflatable seal, as the name suggests is nothing but a hollow rubber profile manufactured in the form of an enclosed tube which can dynamically expand using pneumatic air supply to seal a gap between any two rigid surfaces.

All of the above mentioned machines need to be sealed completely while in operation. The reason can vary from contamination, if the machines are not sealed, to health hazards, if the person comes in contact with certain API’s.

Sealing is also essential to maintain adequate pressure inside the machines for smooth processing.

This kind of critical sealing is at the heart of manufacturing drugs, vitamins, nutrition tablets, protein powders, and other edible items. Hence, a robust sealing mechanism was required for sealing. Therefore inflatable seals were gradually introduced as a specialized seal for certain applications instead of conventional seals for all sealing applications.

What kinds of machines use inflatable seals?

1. IBC (Intermediated Bulk Containers)

As mentioned above, an inflatable seal does the perfect sealing job because of its ability to expand and seal using pneumatic air supply. It is perfect for use in IBC lids for sealing the container, especially containing moisture or light sensitive drugs.

2. Fluid Processing Equipment

As the name suggests, fluid processing equipment like blenders, Fluidized Bed Dryers, also use inflatable seals to seal various sections of the machine. Generally 3-4 inflatable seals are used in an FBD for sealing its filter bag chamber, the top chamber, and bottom chamber.
These chambers are also known as upper plenum, lower plenum, and filter bag plenum.

See the inflatable seal in action:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_NHnxXw4jg

3. Coater Machine

Coater machines generally have high pressure spray guns discharging coating solution. Inflatable seals are preferred here as well to prevent any contamination arising from leakage.

Some of the OEMS and end users (drug manufacturers) in the pharmaceutical sector we directly work with include:

OEMs :

end users: :

For more information on inflatable seals please visit www.westernrubbers/inflatable-seals.com

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