Working process of Air Handling Unit

Air handling methods are crucial in the pharmaceutical sector to ensure the efficacy and security of the products being manufactured. In this article, we will look at how air-handling units work in the pharmaceutical business to ensure that the products produced to satisfy the highest requirements.

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What is the principle of Air Handling Units?

An essential piece of equipment in the pharmaceutical sector is the air handling unit. It is employed to regulate the atmosphere in the cleanroom. The device allows for temperature, humidity, and air pressure adjustments. It additionally filters the air to get rid of impurities. The air handling unit’s operation is governed by the laws of thermodynamics and fluid dynamics. The device draws air from the outside using a fan, which it then circulates through a number of filters. The air is then sent into the cleanroom after being appropriately warmed or chilled. An essential step in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals is the air handling unit. It is employed to regulate the atmosphere in the cleanroom.

What are the operational stages of AHU operations?

One of the key elements of a pharmaceutical factory is the air handling unit (AHU). AHU is essential for maintaining temperature control and air quality during the production process. Startup, operation, and closure are the three primary stages of an AHU’s operation in a pharmaceutical factory.

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How much time does AHU require to maintain conditions?

To attain the appropriate air quality and temperature, an AHU’s filters and fans are initially turned on during the startup phase. Normally, this process takes 15 minutes. The AHU runs constantly after initialization until it is turned off or restarted. The ventilation system of the plant must be modified at startup to make room for the new AHU activities.

In order to control airflow and temperature, an AHU’s operating phase entails running the fans and filters at predetermined speeds. This stage aims to keep the temperature and air quality constant throughout the manufacturing process. The ventilation system of the plant must also be continuously modified throughout operation to account for variations in AHU production.

Shutdown phase

Deactivating all fans and filters during an AHU shutdown enables the plant to resume its original ventilation settings. Normally, this procedure takes five minutes. The ventilation system of the plant needs to be modified once the shutdown is finished in order to allow new AHU operations.

Since they are in charge of transporting air throughout the facility, air handling units are essential in the pharmaceutical manufacturing process. A steady flow of air is delivered, the temperature is controlled, and impurities are removed by air-handling devices as they function.

Mechanism of working of AHU


  • A control unit that examines the area’s climate control requirements turns on the device. The blower in the device is turned on and the air circulation process starts.
  • To keep the workplace comfortable for the staff, the thermostat controls the temperature of the air.
  • The unit’s filters remove contaminants including pollen, dust, and bacteria that may lead to disease.
  • Filter exhaust is released into the atmosphere outside of the plant after being channeled through an exhaust system.
  • The machine’s control unit keeps an eye on the plant’s air quality and adjusts the blower speed, thermostat settings, and filters as appropriate.
  • The room receives fresh air thanks to AHUs. The systems draw outside air into the system, filter it, and condition it (cooled by a cooling coil or heated by a heating coil).
  • The air from the rooms can be circulated to save electricity in areas with lesser hygiene requirements for air quality.

Types of Air Handling Units

Air handling devices come in a wide variety of varieties on the market today. Every kind of air-handling device has a special set of features and advantages. Here are some of the most well-liked categories of air handling units:

The fan coil air conditioning unit is the most prevalent form of air handling equipment. This device is utilized to deliver warmth or cooling to a space. It operates by using fans to circulate air within a system.

The reversing cycle air conditioning unit is another form of air-handling machine. A refrigerant is used by this kind of unit to cool or heat a space. After passing through the unit’s coils, the refrigerant is let loose into the atmosphere.

The absorption chillers are the third category of air handling unit. In order to remove gases or liquids from the atmosphere, these devices employ cold air to freeze them. Ice crystals are produced using this procedure in the production of pharmaceuticals.

Dehumidifiers and humidifiers are the last two. Dehumidifiers provide moisture to the air while humidifiers increase moisture by using water. These devices are utilized to modify the humidity levels in a space.

Additionally, AHUs come in a variety of sizes. Terminal units, also known as fan coil units or blower units, are compact, straightforward machines. These appliances might be limited to a coil, blower, and air filter. A larger AHU that only treats 100% outside air is called a makeup air unit (MAU). The fresh air handling unit is another name for this device (FAHU).

Uses of the Air Handling Unit

The quality of the air is one of the most crucial factors in the pharmaceutical sector. An air handling unit can help in this situation. A device used to regulate and circulate the air in a room or building is called an air handling unit. Using an air-handling device in a pharmacy setting has many advantages.

One advantage is that it might contribute to bettering the air quality. It can assist in removing any potential toxins by circulating the air. This is crucial in assuring the greatest quality possible while producing pharmaceuticals and other goods.

It can also aid in temperature control, which is another advantage. This is crucial to making sure that medications are kept in temperature-appropriate storage. The quality of the medicines may be impacted by temperature extremes.

An air handling unit can also assist in lowering noise levels. This is crucial in the pharmaceutical industry since working in a distraction-free environment is necessary.

Checklist for Air handling unit maintenance

Here are some more preventative maintenance tips for air handlers. When performing more difficult activities, such as lubricating and greasing the motor and blower bearing, such as those on this checklist, such as cleaning the filters, call an American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning Dealer:

  • Inspect the device for vibration and noise.
  • Clean all filters installed on the AHU
  • Drain and wash the condenser pan.
  • Grease and lubricate the blower and motor bearings.
  • Using a fine comb, straighten the coils.
  • Make that the motor pulley and belt are operating properly.
  • Look for damage or loose connections in the wiring.
  • Verify the bypass valve on the device.

Darshan Singh

The author has 20 years of experience in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Companies. Have exposure to all audit documents for WHO-GMP, PIC/S, USFDA, Export documents, US-FDA documents, Validation of Pharma machinery, and Quality Control Instruments. Expert in Pharma Plant Setup and sale and acquisition of running pharma company.

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