Understanding Pharmaceutical Drying Systems

Getting a better understanding of pharmaceutical drying systems will help you make better purchasing decisions when you are looking to buy a vacuum oven.

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What is pharmaceutical drying?

Pharmaceutical drying can be explained as the removal of water or other solvents through evaporation from semi-solids or liquids. Different process methods are used in the pharmaceutical industry. These include;

  • Belt Dryer
  • Tray Dryer
  • Vacuum Tray Dryer
  • Fluid Bed Dryer
  • Rotary Dryer


Vacuum dryers or vacuum ovens are typically constructed of cast iron in order to withstand the vacuum pressure process and maintain the structural integrity of the vacuum dryer. The machine divides into hollow trays which increase the overall surface area for optimal heat conduction . The door is locked air tight and is attached to a vacuum pump to reduce the pressure. The vacuum drying process is a particularly useful method for heat sensitive solid pharmaceutical products.

Most dryers are direct dryers, meaning hot air is used to evaporate water or other solvents from the pharmaceutical product. Drying is one of the most energy intensive unit processes, due to the high latent heat water vaporization rates and the inefficient use of hot air generally as the most applied drying medium. Depending on the specific product attributes required, different pharmaceutical industry sectors require various types of drying technology. Heat sensitive pharmaceuticals and biological products require special attention when dried via the high temperature convection methods.


Pharmaceutical Drying Aspects To Consider

Drying In Pharmaceutical And Biotechnological Industries – Read Full Text Here

“The process used for drying pharmaceuticals has a high impact on the final product characteristics, both on the active ingredient (high chemical purity product) and the end drug product (complexgalenic formulation).

For example, it is well-known that there is a direct relation between the absorption of the active ingredient and its characteristic crystalline or polymorphic form. In some cases, the latter is related to the procedure and conditions of drying.

The consequences of the process used to dry a pharmaceutical product may be different depending on the development phase: pre-clinical studies or manufacture (production). The drying process may greatly influence the quality of the drug substances in several aspects: the polymorphic form of the active ingredient, the structural changes that may have an effect on the activity of the substance, the degradation products formed due to the drying conditions and the presence of residual solvents undesirable or above the permitted limits after drying.

Consequently, it is important to know the influence of all the factors and to establish the product specifications, as well as the nature and limits of residual solvents, in agreement with current regulations.”


Ace Industries have a produced a short video illustrating the vacuum tray dryer process. See below to view the video.


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