Pneumatics in the medical and pharmaceutical industries

Pneumatics in the medical and pharmaceutical industries

Have you ever wondered how pneumatics affects the pharmaceutical and medical industries? If so, you’re in the right place! Pneumatics, although often associated with mechanics and engineering, plays a key role in areas that directly affect our health. In this article prepared by a specialist from CPP “PREMA” S.A., we will dive into the world of pneumatics and its applications in medicine and pharmaceuticals.

We will start with the basic design and operation principle of pneumatic components, such as actuators and valves. Then we’ll move on to special solutions and materials that are essential for contact with aggressive substances. We will also not miss the topic of air quality and the importance of oil-free compressors in this context. And finally, we’ll look at practical application examples – from respiratory support systems to dental machines.

Construction and operation principle of pneumatic components: actuators and valves

In the world of pneumatics, two main components play a key role in the operation of systems: actuators and valves.

1. Basic pneumatic components and their role

Pneumatics, as a field of science and technology, uses a variety of components, but actuators and valves are its heart. Actuators are responsible for mechanical movement, while valves control the flow of a medium, usually air.

2. How do pneumatic cylinders work?

Pneumatic actuators are driven by compressed air. Their main part is a piston that moves in a cylinder. With this movement, actuators can perform a variety of tasks – from simple lifting of objects to more complex operations, such as controlling machinery in the pharmaceutical industry.

3. Operation rinciples of pneumatic valves

Pneumatic valves (in CPP “PREMA” S.A. designs, such as the ZMG series or diaphragm valves) act as gates that open or close to control air flow. They can be manually, electrically or pneumatically operated, and have a variety of functions. In the pharmaceutical industry, valves are often made of corrosion- and chemical-resistant materials, which is key to maintaining high product quality.

Use of appropriate elements

In the previous chapter, we discussed the basics of pneumatic components such as actuators and valves. Now it’s time to look at the practical application of these components, especially in the context of the pharmaceutical and medical industries, where requirements are more stringent than in other sectors.

Special actuator design: acid-resistant materials

In the pharmaceutical and medical industries, actuators often have to deal with aggressive substances such as acids or alkaline liquid solutions. It is therefore important that they are made of acid-resistant materials. An example of such a solution is the STK Series ISO Actuator D32 11.016E.0060PK, D32 with a stroke of 60 mm, along with a piston rod, nut and screws in acid-resistant steel. The use of the above material not only extends the life of the application, but also ensures process safety and product quality.

Chemical-resistant cables: why are they important?

Like actuators, hoses in pneumatic systems must also be resistant to aggressive chemicals. The use of CPP “PREMA” S.A. chemical-resistant hoses, such as the 60.0051 series of polyethylene with high chemical resistance, minimizes the risk of damage and failure, which has a positive impact on the continuity of production and the life of medical and pharmaceutical products.

Using the right components in pneumatic systems is not only a matter of efficiency, but also of safety and quality. That’s why it’s important to understand exactly what materials and technologies will work best for a given application.

In the following chapters, we will look at how these principles are put into practice, specifically discussing applications in various medical and pharmaceutical fields.

Application of oil-free compressors

In the context of pneumatics in the healthcare industry, air quality is one of the most important factors. This is where oil-free compressors come onto the scene, offering a number of advantages over traditional oil compressors.

Why is air quality crucial?

In the industries in question, air quality has a direct impact on product quality and patient safety. Any admixture of oil or other condensates can have serious consequences, such as product contamination or medical complications. That’s why CPP “PREMA” S.A.’s specialists in medical applications requiring high efficiency, quiet operation, durability and reliability select the right model of oil-free vane compressors. The great advantage of this compression and oil separation technology is the provision of high-quality compressed air, free of pressure pulsations. In systems with smaller requirements, oil-free reciprocating compressors can be used. It is very important that the oil-free compressor itself is not enough. It is also necessary to remember about the appropriate class of supplied air, which is informed by the DTR of the medical device. In the most demanding applications, a specific class of compressed air is obtained by selecting the right compressor, dryer (eliminating water), pre-filter and fine filter. For the CORITEC series prosthetic milling machine, after using the vane compressor 85.HV01RM and a refrigeration dryer with a dew point of +3°C and a set of filters with replaceable cartridges: pre-filter 3 μm, 85.AAF0036P and fine filter 0.1 μm 85.AAF0036XM, we get compressed air in class 2.4.2 according to ISO 8573.1:2010.

Advantages of oil-free compressors in the context of air quality

Oil-free compressors eliminate the risk of oil contamination, which is crucial in environments where the highest air quality is required. This makes them an ideal choice for the pharmaceutical and medical industries. Additionally, these compressors are often more energy efficient and easier to maintain.

The use of oil-free compressors is not only a matter of compliance with standards and regulations, but also a practical way to ensure the highest quality and safety in pharmaceutical manufacturing and medical care. In the next chapters, we will discuss how these principles are used in various specific applications.

Examples of application

Pneumatics is not just a theory and a set of technical principles. It is also a field that has a real impact on our lives, especially in the context of medicine and pharmaceuticals. In this chapter, we’ll look at some specific application examples that illustrate how pneumatics can be used to save lives and improve healthcare.

Respiratory support systems: how pneumatics help save lives?

In times of pandemics and other health crises, respiratory support systems are invaluable. Thanks to pneumatics, these systems are able to precisely control air flow, which is crucial for critically ill patients. Actuators and valves in these devices regulate air pressure and volume, allowing therapy to be individually tailored to the patient’s needs.

Dental machine applications

In dentistry, pneumatics are used in medical equipment such as drills, pneumatic scalers and suction systems. With oil-free compressors, these devices are not only efficient, but also hygienic, which is key to preventing infections and ensuring patient safety. On the market, there are several types of oil-free compressors (e.g., vane, piston) tailored to the operating parameters of the application being served.

Pneumatic muscles: innovative applications

Pneumatic muscles are one of the most innovative applications of pneumatics. These flexible components can be used in a variety of fields – from medical robotics to prosthetics. They allow us to create devices that are more natural and ergonomic, opening up new possibilities in the medical field.

These practical examples show how wide and varied the applications of pneumatics are in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. In the following chapters, we will continue the topic, discussing further aspects and existing technologies.

Safety and standards

In the field of pneumatics, especially in the context of the medical and pharmaceutical industries, safety is a priority. You can’t afford any mistakes or shortcomings that could affect the quality of your products or the well-being and safety of your patients. In this chapter, we will look at the standards and norms that govern this sector and how they affect the practical applications of pneumatics.

What are the safety standards in medical and pharmaceutical pneumatics?

Safety standards in medical and pharmaceutical pneumatics are often much stricter than in other sectors. They cover both the materials used in the manufacture of pneumatic components and the inspection procedures in the production and operation process. It is a requirement that all components must be made of corrosion- and chemical-resistant materials, and compressors must meet air quality standards. In practice, these standards are often set by various organizations and institutions, both national and international. They can be ISO standards, FDA guidelines or country-specific regulations. Regardless of the source, their purpose is to ensure the highest level of safety and quality. Understanding and adhering to safety standards is important for anyone in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

What should be considered when choosing pneumatic components?

In the context of pneumatics in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, choosing the right components is one of the most important steps in the entire process. You cannot afford to compromise when it comes to quality and safety. In this chapter, we will discuss what to consider to make the best choice.

When selecting pneumatic components, the first step is to understand the specifics of an application. Will the components come into contact with aggressive substances? What are the air quality requirements? The frequency of operation? The number of cycles? The time and cost of repairs in case of downtime? The answers to these questions will help narrow down and guide the selection of the right application.

Next, it is worth paying attention to the materials from which the components are made. They must be resistant to corrosion and chemicals, and meet all safety standards and norms.

Another important aspect is the supplier. When choosing components, it is worth paying attention to the manufacturer’s reputation, the availability of certifications and feedback from other customers. Also, do not forget aspects such as warranty and post-purchase support.

CPP “PREMA” S.A. is a company with strong production capabilities. Our specialists take an individual approach to each issue, so that customers receive products tailored to their needs. Starting from compressor and complete greaseless pneumatic systems, through stainless steel solenoid valves of ZMG series, ending with acid-resistant pneumatic actuators resistant to aggressive working conditions.

Cost optimization

Last, but not least, is the cost of preparing the implementing elements. Of course, quality and safety are paramount, but it is also worth paying attention to the pricing in order to make the optimal choice. It is very often the case that there is no need for a full stainless steel installation, but only need to focus on proper protection of the actuator in direct contact with the pharmaceutical product. One example of optimal performance and selection is the use of stainless steel piston rods and fasteners in pneumatic cylinders, and the protection of the remaining surfaces of the actuator with an appropriate coating. Special paints that are resistant to the given chemical agents or operating conditions are used. They prevent corrosion and oxidation of the aluminum parts of the cylinder. Choosing the right components is crucial to the success of any project in medical and pharmaceutical pneumatics.

What are the latest trends and innovations in medical pneumatics?

Pneumatics in the medical and pharmaceutical industries is not a static field. It is a sector that is constantly evolving, and innovation is the order of the day. In this chapter, we take a look at what are the latest trends and innovations that are shaping the future of the industry.

One of the most important trends in medical pneumatics is the miniaturization of components. As a result, medical devices are becoming increasingly compact, which is of great importance in the context of global healthcare.

Another important trend is the application of artificial intelligence and data analysis in the management of pneumatic systems. This opens up new possibilities for monitoring and diagnostics, which can significantly affect efficiency and safety.

And don’t forget biocompatible and eco-friendly materials, which are becoming increasingly popular. Thanks to them, pneumatics can be used in an even wider range of medical applications – from implants to drug delivery systems.

Last, but not least, a trend is personalization and adaptation to individual patient needs. Thanks to modern technologies, such as 3D printing, it is possible to create customized pneumatic components, which can significantly impact the quality of medical care.


After going through the various aspects of pneumatics in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, from basics like actuators and valves, through safety and standards, to innovation and the future, it’s time for a brief summary.

Pneumatics-related equipment has a direct impact on a wide range of applications, from breathing assistance systems to advanced dental machinery. The selection of the right components and materials, compliance with stringent safety standards, and constant innovation are essential to ensure the highest quality and efficiency.

In an era of technological advancement, pneumatics continues to evolve, offering new and exciting possibilities. Miniaturization, the application of artificial intelligence and a growing emphasis on ecology and personalization. These are trends that are shaping the future of the field. It is worth remembering that if you have any doubts, our staff can help you choose the products you need.

Thanks to Mr. Kamil Książek, Regional Sales Director at CPP “PREMA” S.A., for his substantive assistance in preparing the guide.