3 Uses of Immersion Heaters in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Last updated on August 31st, 2023 at 07:34 pm

The pharmaceutical industry relies heavily on immersion heaters for various processes. They can facilitate various laboratory processes, including the sanitation of medical and pharmaceutical products. This post will examine three pharmaceutical processes when an immersion heater is necessary.  

Immersion Heaters for the Sterilization of Pharmaceutical Compounds

Sterilization is an essential step in the production of pharmaceutical products and vaccines. The purpose of sterilization is to eliminate microbes that have the potential to contaminate prescription drugs and therapeutics. Laboratory technicians often use sterile filters to facilitate this process. 

With that said, these filters need sterilization themselves, typically after 14 days of usage. The use of steam helps unclog these filters of microbial contamination. Typically, this happens between temperatures of 110°C and 140°C for 10-30 minutes. 

An immersion heater can help produce the steam needed to clean these filters. Screw plug immersion heaters for water vessels are ideal for this steam cleaning and can help keep microbial contamination in labs to a minimum. As an added side benefit, they can reduce the need to replace sterile filters repeatedly. 

Immersion Heaters for Use in Autoclaves

Invented in 1879 by French microbiologist Charles Chamberland, autoclaves are machines that kill pathogenic microbes. They are sterilizers that use steam to kill bacteria, viruses, fungi, and prions that may contaminate medical or pharmaceutical devices and tools. 

Medical Apparatus Autoclaves Decontaminate

  • Surgical tools such as forceps, scalpels and retractors.
  • Laboratory instruments such as funnels and bottles, burettes and pipettes and lab burners.
  • Pharmaceutical items such as spatulas, spinning rods and ointment slabs. 

Immersion heaters apply high temperatures to the pressure vessels of autoclaves. That allows the autoclave to generate sufficient steam to kill off pathogens contaminating medical equipment. Immersion heaters help create an environment where pressurized steam can penetrate and remove microbes within 15 minutes or less.  

Immersion Heaters for Pill Drying

Humans have relied on the process of pill drying since 1500 BCE. The process remains largely the same, except that sophisticated machinery now completes much of the work. Drug makers use heat to help the wet excipients dry and assume the shape desired by manufacturers. Thermal heat processing makes this easier to do. 

During this process, technicians use wet granulated fluids such as water, ethanol, and isopropanol to help the bonds form in the pill. Steam helps these bonds form. Using immersion heaters for water (and other fluids) supplies vessels with pressurized steam, making forming such bonds possible. 

Immersion Heaters Provide the Steam for Big Pharma 

The processes of sanitizing medical apparatus and creating pharmaceutical compounds are labour- and time-intensive. In previous eras, they were more arduous, but steam heating has made these processes easier. Immersion heaters in their various forms help create safe and functional environments that keep both laboratories and products safe. They also eliminate waste since the use of heat prevents the need to dispose of components such as filters. 

If you want an upgrade to your existing heating unit, get in touch with us. Here at Wattco, we supply immersion heaters and steam-heating machinery for all industries, including the medical and pharmaceutical fields.