Filtration Uses in the Production of Pharmaceuticals

Filtration uses in the production of pharmaceuticals

Filtration is a critical process for purification and is necessary for the pharmaceutical industry. It keeps water and pharmaceutical components clean from any contaminants which would interfere with the quality of the end product. 

Pharmaceutical manufacturers utilize filtration to remove undissolved powders and solid impurities in various stages. As a result, there are many types of filters and filtration systems used at different stages of production. 

This blog provides comprehensive information on pharmaceutical filtration engineering, including the areas to filter in a pharmaceutical process.

Filtration in Pharmaceutics

Filtration and separation processes are critical to ensure that the public receives safe and effective pharmaceuticals. High-quality filtration ensures that manufacturers utilize their resources without losing valuable ingredients during the drug development process.

What Is The Difference Between Filtration And Centrifugation?

  • Filtration is separating desired particles from a mixture using gravitational force. 
  • Centrifugation is the process of using a centrifuge machine to separate liquid portions of a mixture.

What Is The Difference Between Sieving From Filtering?

Filtering is the act of using a filter to remove unwanted substances from a solution. Sieving is the process of using a mesh screen to separate particles of different sizes. Both sieving and filtration have applications in the micronization of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Areas to Filter in a Pharmaceutical Process

Pharmaceutical firms use filtration to capture impurities early to reduce the time and costs of the manufacturing process. Suppose some particles or bacteria pass through to the end products. In that case, it can be expensive and time-consuming to track the source and rectify it, and that’s why it’s essential to apply filtration in different phases. Here are the critical areas which require filtration in a pharmaceutical setup:

Areas to filter infographic
  • Utility and storage areas – where the facility receives and stores municipal water
  • Formulation tanks – where the active pharmaceutical ingredients are stored and formulated, bacteria can quickly breed and move to other areas.
  • Fill areas – where the active ingredients are mixed with other agents or coatings. Filtration ensures you don’t introduce any unwanted substance to the elements.

Types of Filtration in the Pharmaceutical Industry

There are three main types of filtration systems used in the pharmaceutical industry. They include:

  • Surface filtration
  • Depth filtration
  • Ultrafiltration

These methods are used in different production stages for various purposes.

Surface Filtration

Surface filtration retains particles at the solution or matter being filtered. The level of the particles continues to increase with time and forms a surface layer known as the cake layer. The cake layer increases the filtration efficiency but increases the maintenance needs for the system.

Depth Filtration

The depth filtration method removes particles, soluble, and other colloidal elements found in a solution. In this method, the fluid/matter is passed through a long pathway that contains multiple filters. Depth filtration holds the large particles at the surface, thick at the middle, and finer particles at the bottom. 

Compared to surface filtration, depth filtration is more costly but more effective. Pharmaceutical firms use the depth filtration method when they do not want any soluble particles in the end batch.


Ultrafiltration is an advanced filtration method that removes particles and microorganisms. The process uses a membrane that filters out any types of microorganisms which might be present in the solution. The membrane also filters particles according to size so that you can easily choose the ideal membrane for your needs.

Which Types of Filters are Used in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing?

The filter media must be compatible with your pharmaceutical ingredient. Here are the main types of filtration filters used in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Magnetic Filters

Magnet filters allow the matter to flow through a magnetic core. Filters remove iron and other magnetic particles from the solution. Magnetic filters do not guarantee 100% purification, so they are used when average purification is needed. Once the process completes, magnetic filters can be manually cleaned to remove unwanted particles trapped in the filters.

Large industrial machinery

Bag Filters

Also known as pocket filters, bag filters filter solutions containing small particles. The solution is passed through the bag. The pure liquid comes out, and the unwanted particles remain in the bag. The bag filters are easy to clean.

Self-Cleaning Filters

Self-cleaning filters are used in large pharmaceutical firms with many filtration needs. These filters have a self-maintenance mechanism, so they don’t demand full attention when cleaning.

Filter Membrane

Filter membranes are used for ultrafiltration. The filters are treated so they block microorganisms and any other unwanted elements in the solution from passing. Filter membranes are the most effective filtration processes, so they are used in processes that demand the highest purity levels.

Choosing the Right Pharmaceutical Filtration Equipment

Manufacturing of pharmaceutical products applies filtration in many areas, from removing undissolved powders to sterilizing and dissolving drugs. Each stage requires unique filters, so it’s paramount to understand the different filters applicable in the industry to choose the best for your needs. If you need help buying filters for your pharmaceutical firm, seek professional guidance and advice.

Filter Holdings manufactures products superior in fine particle retention and separation in 50 microns to sub-micron ranges. Contact us today to discuss which filter media is right for you.


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