Monday, January 20, 2014

An incongruent picture

In this week's C&EN, a worthwhile article from Jean-François Tremblay on the Indian pharmaceutical industry and how it is doing. It's worth watching the two-minute video that he was able to shoot at the Cipla plant. To me, it looks like a fairly typical API plant (I note that I've not been to very many.)

However, in his article, a very incongruent picture:

It took me about 10 minutes to figure out why this picture looks instantly weird to me. Here it is:
  • The operator is wearing an apron instead of a fire-resistant Nomex suit. 
  • The "green gloves" are usually used to handle product, but there's no product in sight. 
  • He's wearing a half-face respirator, but again, no product in sight. 
  • The apron is an interesting choice -- I don't normally see those in pictures of plant operators. 
  • Finally (and most incongruous to me), where's his hard hat? 
Who knows how this picture came about? Read the whole thing.


  1. Am I imagining that his apron has those tell-tale "just came out of the package" creases on it?

    1. You're right! I didn't notice that. Yep, down the middle and 3 horizontal.

      (Of course, it could be that they use a new apron for every operation. Totally possible, regarding GMP.)

  2. While granted it well could be a staged photo if involved in cleaning the PPE shown may be appropriate as can occasionally use strong acids or bases where use of such aprons are not atypical (lack of hard hat agree is odd). This could be also a before or after moment as posing for a picture during actual action would endanger both operator (although should always be more than one person present normally) and the photographer. The equipment looks like it could be for either API or even possibly DP (Compounding) and does not appear so typical to me, especially if is API, as are generally darker, more cramped space and extensive piping wise, plus unpainted or untiled flooring and obvious "blast walls" (can't catch to noise and smells which are often part of experience). This area probably is just for reactor materials addition handling so is purposely keep cleaner anyway with the truer character of a plant being seen in rooms below or behind this type of area.