Metals Polishing for Pharmaceutical Applications
One of the most interesting aspects of working in metals polishing is that I am consistently exposed to a wide variety of end-use applications and corresponding industries. From general construction to food and beverage to oil and gas, metals polishing touches every industry. Metals polishing not only increases the aesthetic and surface quality of the raw material (generally stainless steel), but also, improves the structural integrity of the product. By removing a product's surface flaws through abrasive belts, metals polishing ensures that the raw material can withstand environmental forces without sacrificing structural soundness. The removal of surface flaws also serves the purpose of increasing a surface’s cleanliness and protecting it from harmful contagions or external threats. This aspect of metals polishing evidences its value to end-uses industries such as bioprocessing, food and beverage, and most of all to pharmaceutical. This blog post will highlight why and how metals polishing is crucial to the pharmaceutical industry while providing examples.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) heavily regulates the pharmaceutical industry due to wide-spread use amongst consumers and the general population. When constructing a pharmaceutical plant, architects and fabricators must ensure their construction is compliant with FDA requirements. Following design, one of the most crucial components of the project is the selection of raw material. Three factors influence the selection of raw material: 1) flow thru, 2) corrosion resistance, 3) anti-contamination, and 4) ease of fabrication which generally results in the use of stainless steel. However, while stainless steel is suitable for pharmaceutical construction, the raw stainless steel must be polished to enhance the material’s intrinsic qualities and to comport with FDA regulations. Diamond Brite Metals’ extensive metals polishing capabilities and ability to meet regulatory specs allows it to become involved in pharmaceutical construction projects across the United States.
Why Metals Polishing
Although selecting the correct raw material is crucial, the stainless steel must be processed for the ultimate end-use. One example of this Inner-Diameter (ID) polishing of large pipe and tube that are used in passing through compounds and solutions. The surface of these heavy tubes generally has pitting, pronounced weld lines or other surface flaws, which makes the pipe or tube susceptible to decreased flow thru and contamination through the build-up of residue or bacteria. Metals polishing improves surface quality through the abraiding by abrasive belts thereby increasing flow thru rates and decreasing the probability of contamination.
Even the raw material not used directly in the mixing process requires substantial polishing. The polishing of raw material used in support structures, platforms, or stairs in pharmaceutical plants increases the material’s corrosion resistance in demanding internal environments. Sanitary concerns also demand metals polishing. For example, recently Diamond Brite Metals polished approximately 2000’ of flat bar to a sanitary #4 for a support structure in a major pharmaceutical plant. Other projects have included small diameter pipe and tube polished to a sanitary #4 for railings in pharmaceutical plants and diamond tread plates polished to a sanitary #4 for the walkways in pharmaceutical plants.
Metals polishing is a necessary requirement in pharmaceutical construction and an indirect, but crucial component in drug manufacturing. Diamond Brite Metals has extensive experience in polishing metals for pharmaceutical end-uses and welcomes any and all inquiries. To submit an RFQ, please contact Sales@diamondbritemetals.com.