Pharmaceutical Condensers

Evolution of Pharmaceutical Condenser Design

Titan Pharmaceutical  Condenser DiagramDuring the 1990s many outside factors influenced the proper design of overhead condensers for pharmaceutical installations. The FDA, EPA, product costs, downtime costs, and global competition have all affected today’s condenser designs. The FDA has been a major factor with validation, contamination and CGMP regulations. Today’s condensers need to be totally non-contaminating. This means there can be no way for the service side fluid to contaminate the process.

Additionally, the condensers must fully drain as any liquid holdup can increase flush times or contaminate the next batch.
The EPA has also been a major factor as the push for decreased emissions has lowered condensing temperatures. More of the light ends and volatile solvents are taken out of the vent stream when the condensing temperature is reduced. This has dictated a change to silicone based heat transfer fluids as the service side cooling medium.The fully welded condenser designs are best suited to these applications such as is present in Tantalum heat exchangers.

Today’s condensers must be . . .

  • contamination-proof
  • corrosion-proof
  • fully drainable
  • compatible with silicone based heat transfer fluids
  • fully welded tube bundle
  • rugged and maintenance free

Tantalum condensers meet all the above challenges and are now the preferred best option choice.

Tantalum - The Obvious Choice

Tantalum Lined Tubesheets, Flush Faced.Tantalum is a refractory metal, as its melting point is 5425°F (2996°C). It is a tough, ductile metal which can be formed into almost any shape. It is used in corrosion resistant applications for environments no other metal can withstand. Tantalum’s major limitation is its reactivity with oxygen and nitrogen in the air at elevated temperatures.



No Production Downtime

Tantalum condensers are exceptionally durable with fully welded designs, and will perform for many years without any lost production time for repairs or replacement. The traditional material of construction (graphite) is a fragile material susceptible to mechanical damage and frequent breakdowns caused by resin loss into9 the liquor. The greater failure rate of carbon block condensers results in higher maintenance costs, scrapped product and lost production. Long term cost comparisons demonstrate that despite higher capital costs, tantalum is more economical than graphite. The break-even point in comparing tantalum to graphite has been documented to be about eighteen months. The tantalum advantage will then continue for decades.

Longer Equipment Life

The naturally occurring oxide film on tantalum’s surface makes it resistant to corrosion in the most severe acid environments and completely resistant to organic compounds. This equates to much longer service life and maintenance-free dependability.


Standard Design Pharmaceutical Condensers

  Shell-side Tube-side
Design Pressure (psi/bar) 150 psi/FV
(10.34 bar/FV)
150 psi/FV
(10.34 bar/FV)
Max. Design Temp. (F/C) 400ºF (204.4ºC) 400ºF (204.4ºC)
Min. Design Temp. CS/SS (F/C) -20ºF/-150ºF
Design Corrosion Allowance (in/mm) .0625" (1.58 mm) 0" (0 mm)
Materials of Construction Carbon Steel or Stainless Steel Tantalum with 2.5% W
Hydrotest Pressure (psi/bar) 195 psi (13.44 bar) 195 psi (13.44 bar)


Thermal Sizing of Overhead Condensers

The proper sizing of an overhead condenser used with a glass-lined steel reactor is always difficult. The problem is that during the life of the reactor, it is frequently used for many different production campaigns. Even during the same production cycle, the reactor and condenser may be asked to perform properly using many different operating chemicals, temperatures and pressures.

Titan have the experience to match the condenser to the size of the reactor allowing for the potential variation in batch liquors.

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