Protecting Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Apotex is the largest Pharmaceutical manufacturer in Toronto. Their facilities have been affected by poor power quality, mostly due to weather, animals and older utility infrastructure.

Most pharmaceutical manufacturing processes have an obligation to comply with the stringent sterility standards set by various drug regulatory bodies (WHO, FDA, MHRA etc.). HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems are usually used to maintain this sterile environment at the production area by enforcing a positive pressure difference between the production area and the external areas surrounding it. This could be imagined as concentric layers, with the most sterile environment at its core (production area) and relaxed sterility as layers move far away from the production area.
An HVAC system that consists of ducts, fans, motors, etc. maintains this sterility, by providing a constant flow of clean air circulation to enable positive difference in pressure. Induction motors, typically used as a constituent part of HVAC system are generally driven/controlled by Variable Speed Drives (VFDs). Though VFDs offer various advantages namely, increased efficiency, variable speed, reduced maintenance etc., they are also widely recognized as one of the most susceptible equipment to voltage sags and short interruptions.

Voltage sags and short interruptions are, by far, the two most common types of power quality disturbances and the most frequent causes of disrupted operation of many industrial processes, particularly those using power electronics equipment












The Issue

There are many types of loads used in Pharma manufacturing, each with its own unique characteristics. There is one common denominator, which is they all need a reasonable amount of voltage to operate.

There are several basic issues

1) Manufacturing plant services such as compressors pumps and controlled HVAC

2) Individual manufacturing processes which are typically proprietary to each manufacturer

3) Test laboratory equipment .

The plant in question is supplied at medium voltage 27.6kV to a transformer within the building and the plant operational voltage is 600V.

The customer had no space inside the building for the AVC so the project involved an outdoor house positioned on the roof. The insulated and air conditioned house also has to include the 5000A bypass switchgear for the AVC .

Connection from the transformer to the AVC and from the AVC to the existing switchgear is via cable duct arranged by the customer with a specialist supplier. This has to connect to the underside of the outdoor house.

The cable duct supplier , the installing contractor and the house manufacturer had to liaise closely as the house weighed 66,00lbs and could not be moved once it was put in place













It is very important to have metering on your incoming voltage to capture these sub-cycle events as the most cost effective way to correct the voltage issues is to protect for the problem on that site rather than to protect for all and any eventuality.


The solution

In order to reduce or eliminate the losses in manufacturing as a result of these possible voltage sags, one must install a product designed to correct all types of voltage conditions.

This voltage conditioner must be available in Low and Medium Voltage and be able to perform the following functions:
1. Correct for deep voltage sags (1-phase up to 60% correction) in less than ½ a cycle
2. Continuously provide voltage regulation for +/-10% voltage
3. Maintain voltage balance to all loads it feeds
4. Reduce voltage harmonics
5. Be 99% efficient, as every kWh lost is expensive
6. Have a small foot print, and have an option for storage so that you can get the back up diesel generators online without dropping the load.