Fine chemicals, which are used as raw materials in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and agrochemical sectors, differ from basic chemical products because of their high purity.
Producing fine chemicals involves many processes of synthesis and purification employing vacuum technology. These processes include reaction, drying, distillation and crystallization.
Industrial vacuum pumps for reaction processes
Chemical reactions are widely used in synthesizing compounds, where vacuum is required to avoid high temperatures and to remove oxygen and secondary products. Reactions normally take place at temperatures around 10/20 mbara. Vacuum reactors generally have a volume between 1 m3 and 10 m3. For these applications, it is often sufficient to use a vacuum pump with a nominal output between 80 e 380 m3/h. Here, the double stage Saurus939 is the ideal solution, thanks to its resistance to corrosive solvents and reliability in the most demanding work environments.
Examples of areas where the Italvacuum vacuum pump has been used include the synthesis of:
- Compounds for the agrochemical sector, where the ATEX Zone 0 version of the Saurus939 is used
- Performance additives for the lubrication market, where the Saurus939 piston pump is the only technology that can be used because of the aggressive solvents and significant amount of powdered materials involved.
Industrial vacuum pumps for drying processes
Vacuum drying takes place immediately after centrifugation or filtration. It is a process that removes the moisture from a wet solid by introducing heat. This operation is performed under vacuum in order to dry heat-sensitive substances at temperatures that are lower than would otherwise be possible. In the fine chemical industry, vacuum drying is a batch operation and can be carried out using a variety of technologies, depending on the product involved.
Applications for the Italvacuum vacuum pump include drying:
- Raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry, where the double stage roots compressor version of the Saurus939 piston pump is used
- Raw materials for the biopharmaceutical industry, where the basic double stage version of the Saurus939 vacuum pump is used.
Industrial vacuum pumps for distillation processes
Vacuum distillation is a process in which the pressure above a liquid mixture is reduced to less than the latter’s vapor pressure, thus causing the more volatile liquid to evaporate. This process is used when the liquids to be distilled have low volatility (Teb > 150°C) or can undergo chemical decomposition at temperatures near their atmospheric boiling point. Vacuum distillation is also used to remove impurities from temperature sensitive materials such as flavorings. The pressure at which distillation is carried out may vary according to the compounds to be separated, ranging from values near absolute vacuum up to 60 mbara. Vacuum distillation columns generally have a volume between 5 m3 and 20 m3. For these applications, it is advisable to combine the Saurus939 vacuum pump with a Roots compressor in order to increase nominal output and reduce limit pressure.
Applications of the Italvacuum vacuum pump include distillation of plant-based fragrances and flavorings for the cosmetics and food industries
Industrial vacuum pumps for crystallization processes
This is a process in which a solid compound is precipitated from a solution. Crystallization is employed in cases calling for extremely low operating pressures, obtained under very low absolute pressures, and for applications that involve relatively small amounts of high value-added material. It is thus usually a batch operation. Crystallization cycles last from 2 to 8 hours. The pressure at which crystallization is carried out can vary from near absolute vacuum up to 30 mbara. Vacuum crystallizers generally have a volume between 1 m3 and 4 m3. For these applications, it is often essential to employ the Saurus939 vacuum pump in combination with a Roots compressor.
Thanks to uncontaminated vacuum and continuous recovery of extracted solvents, the Italvacuum vacuum pump maintains total finished product purity.