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Cleaning can be defined as the removal of residues from previous batch, other residues, and traces of cleaning agents. There are several mechanisms associated with cleaning of equipment.

The mechanisms involved can be mechanical action, chemical action between the residues and the cleaning agent. The selection of cleaning agent and mechanism involved in cleaning is largely dependant on the process residue to be cleaned.

Cleaning Mechanisms

The cleaning mechanism totally depends on the selection of cleaning agent and type of residue to be cleaned. The four main types of cleaning mechanisms are:

  • Dissolution
  • Saponification
  • Wetting
  • Emulsifying

Many cleaning compound agents perform several functions at once. Butyl, for instance, can serve as a wetting or surface tension reducing agent as well as a solubilizing agent. It also can contribute to emulsifying capabilities when combined with anionic surfactants or soaps (alkali-metal salts of carboxylic acids).

Many cleaning compound agents perform several functions at once. Butyl, for instance, can serve as a wetting or surface tension reducing agent as well as a solubilizing agent. It also can contribute to emulsifying capabilities when combined with anionic surfactants or soaps (alkali-metal salts of carboxylic acids).

Dissolution

Dissolution is the process by which a solid or liquid forms a homogeneous mixture with a solvent or solution. This can be explained as a breakdown of the crystals into individual ions, atoms or molecules and their transport into the solvent.

The mechanism involved in this type of cleaning is solubility of the residue in the cleaning agent or solvent. The monobasic buffers i.e. sodium chloride are soluble in cool and hot WFI. Ethylene glycol butyl ether is soluble in water as well as oil is also used in solubilizing agent. Chelating agents and builders are added to the formula to keep water hardness from interfering with the cleaning process.

Rate of dissolution is depend on:

  • Nature of solvent or residue to be dissolved
  • Temperature of solvent
  • Presence of mixing
  • Area of contact
  • Presence of inhibitors

Saphonification

Saponification can be defined as “hydration reaction where free hydroxide breaks the ester bonds between the fatty acids and glycerol of a tri-glyceride, resulting in free fatty acids and glycerol”, which are each soluble in aqueous solutions. This process specifically involves the chemical degradation of lipids, which are not freely soluble in aqueous solutions. Heat treated lipid residues are difficult to remove than non-heat residues due to polymerization.

Saphonification plays a critical role in cleaning lipids which are present in the areas of process involving cell growth and cell processing i.e. Bacterial fermentation, Cell disruption process

Wetting

Wetting can be defined as a process “involves the lowering of the surface tension of the cleaning solution, thus allowing it to better penetrate residues that are adhered to equipment and piping surfaces”. Wetting agents, or surfactants, are often used in relatively small amounts and they can substantially reduce the quantities of cleaning agent (in this case, alkali) required for residue removal.

Advantages of Wetting include:

  • Lowers the surface tension of the cleaning solution
  • Allow better penetrate residues which are adhered to equipment
  • Used in small amount
  • Sticky residues which are hydrophobic in nature get easily removed

Water acts as a solvent that breaks up soil particles after the surfactants reduce the surface tension and allow the water to penetrate soil (water is commonly referred to as “the universal solvent”).

Emulsifying

Emulsifying and suspending agents are often used to keep residues from precipitating by providing “hydrophobic groups” onto which hydrophobic areas of residues can associate, thus preventing them from associating with other residues and forming larger particles which are likely to leave solution. These agents also typically have “hydrophilic groups” which keep them very soluble in aqueous solutions of moderate to high ionic concentrations.

Emulsifiers increase the capacity of a cleaner to emulsify non-soluble compounds in the cleaner. i.e. anionic soap surfactants, cationic surfactants, neutral surfactants

Advantages of Emulsifying agents include:

  • Prevent association of residues
  • Allow the residue to precipitate and not allow thdse residue to redeposit on surface

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Training of personnel on deviation reporting and deviation handling is essential to a successful implementation of deviation management. All personnel must have a clear understanding of the deviation concept on all level of operation.

From a cleaning employee to a top level manager, everyone in the organization must apply deviation management procedure or instructions.

In order to do that, it must be mandated that all employee will attend at least once per year training on how to identify and report deviations.

 

The Three Levels

It is important to keep record of all the training’s performed in order to demonstrate to auditors that all personnel in the organization are competent and can report, handle, and/or manage deviations in a swift and accurate manner.

There are three levels of training on deviation management:

  1. Level 1: Identifying deviations and reporting them
  2. Level 2: Deviation Handling and Investigating
  3. Level 3: Deviation’s Corrective and Preventive Action

Level 1: Identifying Deviations and Reporting Them

  • This level of training should be mandated for all employees.
  • In this level, the trainee must learn how to notice and identify a course of actions or results which might indicate that something deviated from the standard and approved procedures in the quality management system.
  • This particular skill is crucial to the deviation reporting.
  • The trainer must spend considerable time developing attention to details in trainees. This particular competency forms the basis on which the trainer will build the trainees knowledge of deviation management.
  • The second obstacle to overcome is to make the employees understand that deviation reporting isn’t the equivalent of mistakes reporting.
  • In my experience, at first, many employees will see deviations as a way for the top management to record their mistakes for performance evaluation and bonus estimation.
  • The trainer must explain that it is the opposite of that concept, deviation reporting is your chance to express your interest in preserving the quality of the product or the service you provide in your organization.
  • It asserts your loyalty to the a quality based product and/or service and your devotion to the company’s standards.
  • Level 2: Deviation Handling and Investigating

    • This level of training is exclusive for management staff, including both lower and upper management.
    • In this level of training, the trainer must focus on investigational techniques and root cause analysis.
    • The basis of the training is risk analysis. The trainer must be an expert in risk identification, assessment, evaluation, reduction, and communication.
    • Other essential techniques include listening skills, communication, team work, and meeting management. These skills must be honed by the trainees during the training and during normal working hours.
    • The trainer must emphasis that this level of training is a mere introduction into deviation handling and that practice makes perfect. The reason is no one can develop all the skills necessary for investigating and solving complex deviations in one training module. The experience of the person practicing those tasks is the ammunition that would help him or her succeed at his or her job.

    Level 3: Deviation’s Corrective and Preventive Action

    • This level of training is exclusive to quality assurance personnel and upper management (including other department’s managers).
    • The aim of this training is to develop the ability of trainees to find the most efficient and effective actions to correct and prevent the deviation from reoccurring.
    • As we mentioned in 3.1.8. there are several points to consider when taking corrective and preventive actions. These points must be included in the training.
    • The trainer can be someone with experience with the applied procedure for corrective and preventive action in the organization and it would be better if he or she is experienced in risk management as mentioned in level 2 training.
    • If the training is being conducted for the first or second time, the trainer must emphasis to upper management that the trainee will need time to develop the experience necessary for them to create systematic actions with little to no side effects.
    • This training must conclude that the personnel required to decide the corrective and preventive actions must convene periodically in order to discuss the effectiveness of their actions and see what they can improve in their decision approach.

    Optional Training Sessions

    There are several competencies which are essential to successful deviation management, time management is one, communication management is also an essential feature which is greatly needed for the continuous and effective follow-up of deviations throughout the organization.

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Not all suppliers are the same, for example when you buy a car or a house, time and effort is dedicated into finding the best provider with the best product in terms of quality and reliability.

Choosing a Vendor

The same methodology needs to be dedicated when choosing a vendor for your business. Not only will you be purchasing their products or services, but you will also be dealing with them on a regular basis hence your personal relationship most also be strong.

Regulated Environment

When working in a regulated environment one of the key questions that needs to be considered is will the product of service affect your product quality. If the answer is yes then it is paramount that you can trust your supplier/vendor and the quality of their product or service

Supplier Qualification Online Course

This module is taken from our course on Supplier Qualification.

 

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Learnaboutgmp is a cloud based learning management system (LMS) designed specifically for life science and regulatory organizations. Our LMS contains the courses you need to help you achieve regulatory compliance. With new courses published every month and existing courses updated in line with regulatory changes we are your true continuous learning platform.

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