Let us Start at the Beginning: What is Filtration?
June 21, 2022
Anyone for tea?
In our personal lives, filtration is everywhere. From the teabag that conveniently keeps tea leaves from spoiling our morning cup of tea while permitting the extraction of the essential oils during the brew, to the plughole that prevents blockage of the drains after a refreshing morning shower. Like the air we breathe, we do not give these a second thought, yet they are both simple examples of filtration in our everyday lives.
Shall we take a drive?
There are many commonplace things that rely upon filtration to keep them functioning. Oil, air, and fuel filters in the cars we drive ensure long life from the engine, and pollen filters ensure our driving environment is as clean as possible. We only think about these when they reach the end of their life and require replacement, but we subconsciously trust that they do their job.
The air we breathe…
The beverages we drink are filtered to ensure that they remain fresh for as long as possible and, along with other controls, are safe to consume. Filters are often found anywhere we need to protect something that matters, and that includes ourselves and our loved ones. There is no more visible example than the face coverings worn to reduce Covid-19 transmission, or the breathing filters we see on machines for those requiring intensive care. In the background of biopharmaceutical environments there are a myriad of filters involved in the production of safe drugs, therapies, and vaccines and we will explore these in more detail later in this series.
Filtration in drug manufacture
In the biotech industry, filtration, both as a term and process, is much clearer. A filter can be defined as, “a porous device for removing impurities or solid particles from a liquid or gas passed through it”. Within the biotech industry it is an intrinsic necessity that becomes clearly visible in many forms across a drug manufacturing process. Not only does filtration help define the final drug product, it becomes a tool to ensure patient safety.
Exactly what a filter looks like, and is made of, varies depending upon the nature of what needs to be removed and retained. Similarly, the level of performance required – how good the filter is at doing what you need it to do - depends on the degree of removal that needs to be achieved and the consequences of not achieving that. This means that there is a huge variety of filters, each tailored to a specific function.
Filtration vital to every industry
The reality is that filtration is a vital part of almost every industry and, while we often do not even give it a passing thought, we rely upon it every day. Filtration can be ridiculously simple or remarkably complex, it can be an absolute essential or the just plain sensible. But just maybe, it is the unsung hero (or heroine) behind (almost) every process.
So, let’s continue our filtration journey in the next blog as we explore in more detail, exactly how filters work.
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Mark Ayles, Senior Marketing Manager
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