Processes Involving Pharmaceutical Dust

  • Tablet presses
  • Tablet coating
  • Fluid bed drying
  • Spray drying
  • Blending
  • Granulation
  • General room ventilation
  • House and high-vacuum systems

Farr Gold Series® Camtain® on Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Applications

  • The Farr Gold Series (GS) Camtain units can be used in a variety of pharmaceutical dust collection applications, including tablet presses, coating, fluid bed drying, spray drying, blending, granulation, general room ventilation, and house and high-vacuum systems.
  • The GS Camtain is perfect for high-efficiency filtration where reuse of the product is not required.
  • Bag-in/bag-out containment systems are available for both the filter cartridges and discharge system underneath the collector. The cartridge change utilizes the safe change filter replacement method while the discharge uses continuous liner technology.
  • The GS Camtain can also support traditional dust collection for nuisance dusts and fumes that do not require full isolation and containment.
  • Camfil APC has containment dust collectors for pharmaceutical applications in North, South and Central America, Asia, and Europe.


  • In the Farr Gold Series Camtain, filter cartridges are sealed via an internal cam bar action, allowing convenient changeout through the safe change filter replacement system.
  • High entry, cross flow inlet eliminates upward velocities that can hold fine particulates in the filter cartridges, reducing the re-entrainment of the particulate matter.
  • For heavy loading applications, vertically arranged filters shed particles better than horizontal filters.
  • High-efficiency filters up to MERV 16 stop 99.99% of the dust at 0.5 microns!
  • Specially treated filter media repels fine particulates for a lower pressure drop and longer filter life.
  • Gold Cone® cartridge filter design provides 25% more media for long service life. HemiPleat® filter technology ensures uniform pleat spacing with synthetic beads that hold the pleats of the filter cartridge wide open.

The Farr Gold Series contained dust collector is a winner for our pharmaceutical applications. It is way ahead of the curve of anyone in the dust collection industry. The results from the potent compound surrogate test are very positive. Nice work!

-Project Engineer, Major Pharmaceutical Company

The Quad Pulse Package compact dust collector

Many processes in the pharmaceutical industry can produce hazardous dusts in high concentrations. Cleanable filter systems are sometimes necessary to facilitate continuous manufacturing processes, preventing regular, expensive filter replacements.

The Quad Pulse Package PX utilizes segmented cleaning of the filter cartridge to provide the following benefits:

  • Economical, space-saving cleaning unit requiring just a single primary filter cartridge
  • Cleaning during operation for production process and product quality control
  • Efficient segmented design allows cleaning with low pressure to further reduce noise and back pulsing
  • Low pressure drop across the filter for energy cost savings
  • Camfil's pleated filter technology provides exceptional dust release, enabling extended filter service life and reduced filter replacement

Surrogate Tested Dust Collection System for Performance Verification

The GS Camtain contained dust collection system has been independently surrogate tested for validated performance verification. A major pharmaceutical company's surrogate testing protocol was followed with an independently contracted, AIHA accredited laboratory (Bureau Veritas) performing the testing.

Using 100% milled lactose as the surrogate, we collected over 48 area, personal and swab samples for both the safe change filter replacement and the continuous liner discharge. The GS Camtain can handle risk-based category 3, 4 and 5 compounds with OELs less than 1.0 mcg/m3 for an 8-hour time-weighted average. Full test report data is available upon request.

Health and Safety Considerations

Two key concerns are critical when handling pharmaceutical dusts: the potent, toxic or allergenic properties of the compound as it relates to personnel exposure and the explosion properties of the compound.


The first issue involves understanding the toxicological properties of the material, reviewing the Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) and performing a risk-based exposure evaluation to determine the methods for proper control. In most cases, some level of isolation and containment is required because the pharmaceutical dust is extremely potent while being captured in a non-production area. Therefore, it cannot be released into the surrounding environment.

In most cases, Camfil APC recommends a HEPA secondary polishing system. With HEPA backup systems and the dust collector, recirculation of the filter air back into the HVAC system is possible. This can significantly reduce energy costs while providing the necessary level of filtration for discharge air required by the EPA.


The second concern involves deflagration and explosion potential. Control measures such as explosion venting, chemical suppression, and isolation systems may be required depending on the physical characteristics of the dust relating to Kst, Pmax, MIE and the location of the collector.

When explosion vents are required, they must be vented to the outside by either placing the collector outdoors or ducting the vent exhaust a specified distance through the building structure. To prevent outdoor or off-property exposure in the event of a dust explosion of potent compounds, either chemical suppression or containment designs for explosion and isolation valves are preferable to venting. The reason why is because these two protection options do not release materials to the environment.

Camfil APC recommends that an independent PE is involved with the risk assessment to determine the appropriate explosion protection requirement along with the supplier of the dust collection equipment. All applicable standards should be reviewed in the risk assessment, including NFPA, ATEX, local fire marshals and insurance carriers.

Resource Downloads

Here are some informative documents regarding health and safety in industrial dust collection:

Article: Five Ways New Explosion Venting Requirements For Dust Collectors Affect You (PDF)
OSHA Instruction on the Subject of the Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (PDF)
Summary Table of Surrogate Test Report on the Farr Gold Series Camtain (PDF)

Other Pharma Specific Options

In addition to the safe-change containment systems above, the GS Camtain has special options just for pharmaceutical applications including:

  • Pharmaceutical upgrade package

    • Deflectors to eliminate all internal horizontal ledges
    • Closed cell silicone gaskets and caulk at all bolted connections
    • HEPA filter on the pressure taps for the pressure differential gauge
  • Explosion vent

    • Burst detector
    • Vertical plenum
    • Weather hood
  • Chemical suppression

  • Chemical isolation

  • Mechanical isolation

Proper Application of the Farr Gold Series Camtain

Camfil APC has an entire team assembled specifically to support the pharmaceutical market. Qualified engineers will work with you to properly apply a GS Camtain containment dust collector on your pharmaceutical application. Below is a sample of the questions/considerations:

  1. Is the material being collected considered a potent compound?
  2. What is the source of the dust?
  3. If it is coming off of a process machine, who is the manufacturer of the machine?
  4. What is the air volume that the collector is required to handle?
  5. What is the estimated dust loading?
  6. What are the hours of operation?
  7. What is the required total static pressure the collector is required to withstand?
  8. Will the collector be located indoors or outdoors?
  9. What is the operating and maximum temperature?
  10. What is the Kst value (deflagration index) of the dust?
  11. Will they be using explosion vents or an explosion suppression system?
  12. If they want a suppression system, are they asking us to provide this?
  13. If they are venting, are they venting through a wall (horizontally) or ceiling (vertically)?
  14. What is the distance of the vent duct?
  15. Is containment specified? Is it for both the doors and discharge?
  16. If the unit is indoors what is the size of the room (l x w x h)?
  17. Are pre-filters/after-filters required? Do they require safe change filter replacement?
  18. Is the job site domestic or overseas? If it is overseas, what country?
  19. Does the customer currently have dust collectors? Whose? Are they contained?
  20. What do they like/dislike about collectors/collector manufacturers with which they have experience?

Users and Specifiers of the Farr Gold Series Camtain

Two GS8 collectors at BOSCH Manesty

  • Wyeth
  • Pfizer
  • Abbott
  • Bio Vail
  • BMS
  • Warner Chilcotte
  • Merck
  • Tyco Mallinckrodt (Covidien)
  • Upsher Smith
  • J & J Ortho-McNeil
  • J & J Janssen
  • Eli Lilly
  • GSK
  • Sandoz-Eon Labs
  • Perrigo
  • Novartis