IMA and Mayekawa announced that IMA Life, headquartered in Bologna, Italy, has standardized on the company’s refrigeration technology for integration into aseptic processing and freeze drying equipment for the pharmaceutical industry.

IMA Life and Mayekawa propose this new refrigeration technology referred as PascalAir
IMA Life and Mayekawa propose this new refrigeration technology referred as PascalAir

IMA Life, a division of IMA S.p.A., offers machines to meet the demanding requirements of the pharmaceutical industry worldwide. The company offers machines for washing and de-pyrogenation of pharmaceutical vials, filling and stoppering in aseptic environments of vials, ampoules and syringes, including isolation technology and containment solutions. Other applications include filling and closing of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, micro-dosing of aseptic powders, as well as industrial, pilot and laboratory freeze-dryers, which can be combined with the industry’s widest range of automated loading and unloading system solutions.

The European regulation n°517/2014 of May 2015 implies a drastic reduction of fluorinated gases with high impact on global warming. Moreover, in 2020, the use of commonly used refrigerant in freeze dryers may be prohibited for maintenance or service of refrigeration equipment. A new solution which uses an air based refrigeration system is presented here below. The refrigeration gas being replaced by air is referred to as the ultimate natural refrigerant.

The R404A is commonly used in freeze-drying facilities and its GWP is 3922. Although the new law provides an exemption for applications which cool products at temperatures below -50°C, it is time to question the solutions for the future.

New refrigerants have appeared on the market with a GWP below 2500. They generally involve restrictive conditions of use and may not conform to future regulatory changes.

IMA Life now propose to equip its freeze dryers with a new refrigeration technology using the ultimate natural refrigerant “air”. The system is based on a series of compression/cooling/expansion steps of AIR, which can be cooled to a temperature as low as -100 ° C.

Main benefits are:

  • No global warming potential refrigerants or ozone depleting refrigerants
  • No environmental regulations
  • Low temperatures (-100°C)
  • Simplicity and robustness
  • Greater efficiency at low temperature than conventional refrigeration
  • More economical than LN2 when running cost is taken into account

Air is a familiar gas, without any effect on the ozone layer or causing global warming. It is neither toxic nor flammable. Its critical temperature of -140.7°C is low, and when air is used at a higher temperature range, it becomes a gas cycle without phase transition.

For the manufacture of its freeze dryers, in the 1990s IMA Life established a partnership with Mayekawa, a company recognized as a leading provider of refrigeration solutions. Since then IMA Life equipped the majority of its freeze dryers with dual-stage screw compressors from Mayekawa.

Today, IMA Life and Mayekawa propose this new refrigeration technology referred as PascalAir.


Mayekawa Mfg. Co., Ltd. was founded in 1924 by Mr. Kisaku Maekawa. The company started business as an industrial refrigeration compressor manufacturer, has been producing various products, services and engineering in the past based on the accumulated cooling and compression technologies to respond to the customer’s needs.

MAYEKAWA provides various products and systems required by today’s markets not only Refrigeration compressor, Cold storage and Ice making unit at skating rink with cooling technology but also Meat processing robot, Air Conditioning system in hospital, museum and air craft and BOG recovery unit in Oil refinery.

About IMA Life, a division of IMA S.p.A.

IMA Life division, leader in the field of aseptic processing and filling technology, can be considered a true partner to the pharmaceutical industry, offering a wide range of technologically advanced machines. Combining the role of machinery supplier with the added ability of being a solution provider for its customers, IMA Life can satisfy new requirements of aseptic and pharmaceutical markets, offering a product which represents not only consolidated technology, gained during many years of experience, but which also derives from a continuous partnership with pharmaceutical multinationals worldwide.