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Lubrication challenges in Pharmaceuticals

Machineries used in pharmaceuticals have many moving parts that require lubricants,to maintain reliable and efficient operation.These range from hydraulics,gear boxes,bearings and chains to vacuum  pumps and compressors.Some major lubricants related issues in pharmaceuticals are discussed below.
  • Lubricants used in the pharmaceuticals must meet basic requirements like wear protection,good lubricity,long life etc.If lubrication is insufficient or lubricant is not suitable for the application high friction  and rapid wear on the compounds may occur.This is quite undesirable in pharmaceuticals because in a clean room the minute wear particle will contaminate the ambient air.(lubricants based on pre fluorinated poly ether oils and PTFE are particularly suited for clean room applications.They offer good wear protection and are chemically resistant to sterilization techniques employed in clean rooms).
  • Lubricant leakage is a major headache in pharmaceuticals because if incidental contact occurs,they do not discriminate against materials with which they come in to contact,so contamination control is a major issue in pharmaceuticals.Hence the usage of lubricants are technically unavoidable pharmaceutical manufacturers are insisted  to use food grade lubricants to reduce the contamination risks,because standard lubricants are mixes of base oils and chemical additives,many of which harm human health if ingested.Food grade lubricants use additive types that are more benign.A good food grade lubricant will use synthetic base oils such as PFO,which offers long oil life.    

Lubricants for pharmaceutical use must have NSF H1 registration and ISO 21469 certification.