Clean utilities are essentially plant support services/systems which have to fulfil regulatory requirements.
In the pharmaceutical, healthcare, food and beverage industries the most common clean utilities are water based. These can be separated into several pharmaceutical grades of purity including Purified water (PW), Highly Purified Water (HPW) and Water for Injection (WFI).
Other clean utilities include clean compressed air, clean gasses (like nitrogen and oxygen), clean steam, special organic solvent systems and vacuum systems.
There are many limitations and disadvantages of conventional utility systems. These include;
- Mixing of different utilities (cross contamination)
- Corrosion and Scaling of Equipment Jackets
- May call for Special Equipment Design (Dual jacket /Limpet)
- Effective Condensate recovery is difficult
- Temperature control accuracy is difficult to achieve
- Thermal shocks to equipment as well as product
Plant engineers are therefore encouraged to understand these limitations and issues so that they apply technically advantageous, best practice solutions and thus realise operational benefits. Such benefits include;
- Improved product quality
- Higher product yields
- Reduced manpower cost
- Safer operation
- Simpler operation and maintenance
- Improved regulatory compliance