Achieving Energy, Performance,
and Quality Targets with the Right
Compressed Air Strategy
When it comes to compressed air, maintaining high air quality at the
lowest possible operating cost is paramount.
By Chad Larrabee, Ingersoll Rand
Today, large pharmaceutical companies are leaning on outside contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) more than
ever. This allows big pharmaceutical companies to
focus their efforts on research and development of
new drugs as well as keep up with demand.
Because CMOs are focused on manufacturing
quality products, they have the expertise, tools,
and equipment in place that big pharmaceutical
companies may not have.
The key difference between the two is that big
pharmaceutical companies have a lot of resources
while CMOs often have small margins to work
within. Thus, CMOs always are seeking new ways
to increase efficiency to meet and maintain lean
budgets, while ensuring high-quality output.
When it comes to compressed air, a high-cost
utility, maintaining high air quality at the lowest
possible operating cost is paramount for CMOs
because of their restricted budgets.
There are three key API manufacturing factors
that play into a compressed air strategy, and it
takes the right operating strategy to achieve energy
efficiency, performance, and quality targets.
It’s important to know which approach to take
for a compressed air system—any downtime or
quality and performance issues can result in a
significant loss of resources for CMOs. This, in
turn, impacts the corresponding big pharmaceutical
When a contracted API manufacturing facility
makes a hefty investment, like a compressed air
system, it’s important to consider all associated
costs—the compressor itself, maintenance and
service, parts, quality of output, among others.
In this situation, CMOs are paying for the
equipment as well as the air power. They need to
consider all of the associated costs and create a
plan for downtime, if it occurs.
To combat some of the associated maintenance
costs of purchased equipment, API manufacturers
are turning to renting compressed air equipment
versus buying a compressor through a dedicated
rental with a multi-year agreement.
By treating compressed air like any other utility,
such as water or electricity, API manufacturers no
longer have to worry about buying compressed
air equipment and can “rent” it instead, freeing
up capital to purchase other equipment they need
to optimize production of the pharmaceutical
Dedicated compressor rentals are provided
according to the unique needs of the site and give
CMOs the benefits of high-quality equipment,
without the hassle of dealing with maintenance
over time since service is included with the rental
Identifying the Right Equipment
Another factor to consider is the type of equipment
that is being utilized. With dedicated rentals,
CMOs can pay a little extra every month to use
new, advanced compressed air equipment that can
save them resources on power and increase energy
For some CMOs, the cost of an oil-free
compressor is too much to take on, so they opt