Contec Airflow, offering its service to the Indian pharma sector for over 17 years, is a known name for completing and handling over the project as per the technical requirements and within timeline. Mukesh Sehgal, Managing Director, Contec Airflow, talks about the company’s business strategies to Usha Sharma
Contec Airflow is involved in offering large centralised air conditioning and cleanroom projects. Tell us more about the company’s ongoing business activities.
Our main focus have been on the HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) projects especially cleanroom applications. In cleanroom also, the major focus segment is pharmaceuticals, however, there have been a large number of requirements from thermal/ hydro power plants, dairy plants, logistics warehousing, cold storage, textile (spinning, quench, take up areas), digital printing etc. As production machines are getting more sophisticated, HVAC requirements is becoming necessary.
Contec has been serving the Indian pharma industry since the last 17 years. What changes did you see?
Clients have become very knowledgeable which in turn makes them very demanding. Their main focus is on compliance to the WHP cGMP / US FDA guideline. Everyone wants the best of the facilities.
The pharma industry is a highly regulated one. Which regulatory requirements do you adhere to?
We follow ISO 14644-1, 2, 3, and 4 guidelines for all our HVAC system designs and its validation. As far as process layout it is the prerogative of the client.
Contec is specialised in turnkey air handling system. Tell us more about it
Our main focus is on the design and build jobs. We focus on the industrial applications which provide design challenges in the system. Not that we don’t do routine jobs like hotels, offices, shopping malls etc. but these applications does not provide the required challenges/ excitement at the time of commissioning. We are working on design for hydro power plants which are 300 ft below the ground in a tunnel. We are implementing projects requiring humidity as high as 90 per cent RH and as low as 10 per cent RH and temperature ranging from +40° C to -30° C. Class of cleanliness from pure ventilation system to class 100 applications, from oral solid dosages to class B/A sterile areas.
Why clean room needs to have air conditioning?
In a cleanroom application, HEPA filters are part of the air filtration sequence. These filters are non-washable and throw away type. If the area is not air conditioned then we will have to have 100 per cent fresh air system. If it is 100 per cent fresh air system, then HEPA filters will get choked in about three to six months of time. This will increase the operating cost.
As the temperature increases, the disturbed state of motion (entropy) of the air increases. If the area is not air conditioned, the movement of dust particles is higher as compared to the air conditioned area. This higher energy levels or disturbed state of motion makes it difficult to maintain the class of cleanliness.
Tell us about the regulatory requirements in maintaining the air conditioning temperature?
The temperature to be maintained in purely guided by the process requirements and dress codes of the operators.
How critical it becomes in the pharma industry if the humidity is not maintained and And how adverse will it be?
Maintaining humidity is very critical. If the humidity is not maintained, quality of products suffers. This can have serious impact on shelf life, fungal/bacterial growth and end performance of product. Humidity levels are purely guided by hygroscopic nature of the product and it is very important and critical to maintain humidity as per product requirements.
Which are your major products and how does it work?
Our company’s main thrust area is projects and to complete a project, major equipment used are
- Air handling unit
- Pre fabricated ducts
- Terminal HEPA filters
- Cleanroom partitions
- Paintings and floorings
- Building management system
- Cleanroom equipment (Pass boxes, laminar airflow, dispensing booth, air shower etc.)
Some of the products are manufactured by us and the other products are made in our associates factory as per our specifications.
How many projects have been commissioned in the pharma sector?
In the industry on the whole, I’m not sure about the number of projects getting executed. We normally execute between 15-20 pharma projects in a calendar year.
Where do you see the Indian pharma industry in next two years and how it will help to accelerate company’s growth?
With regulatory authorities getting stricter, latest guidelines getting very comprehensive, manufacturers have to upgrade their existing facility. Therefore, the growth of pharma industry is phenomenal and the opportunities are immense. It is not about taking projects, it is about completing and handling over the project as per the technical requirements and within the timeline.
Whom do you consider as a major client and why?
Intas pharmaceuticals, ITC and ONGC petrochemical additives [OPAL] are some of the major clients for whom we are executing projects. Right now they are major clients because they give us large size projects on a continuous basis i.e. one after the other.
Tell us about the company’s future plans.
The company wants to focus on energy efficient design i.e as per green building codes and guidelines. Major operating cost in any pharma plant is power cost. With our design and calculation, we mainly focus to reduce the energy consumption. We have various equipment and design to achieve this goal. We are planning to have in-house manufacturing for cleanroom partition, cleanroom equipments and upgrade/ update the existing facility for AHU and filters.