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Parts Washing Process Qualification

When qualifying a parts washing process, it is important to establish acceptance criteria and develop a sampling plan to ensure the process meets the desired standards. Here are some considerations for acceptance criteria and sampling in parts washing process qualification:

Acceptance Criteria:

  1. Cleanliness Standards: Determine the required cleanliness level for the parts based on industry-specific regulations, customer specifications, or internal quality standards. This may involve specifying acceptable levels of residue, particulate matter, or contaminants on the parts after washing.
  2. Analytical Methods: Define the analytical methods or techniques that will be used to assess the cleanliness of the parts. This may include visual inspection, gravimetric analysis, microscopic examination, or other appropriate analytical techniques.
  3. Validation Thresholds: Establish specific thresholds or limits for cleanliness parameters that indicate a successful parts washing process. These thresholds should be based on scientific data, historical performance, and regulatory requirements.


  1. Sampling Plan: Develop a sampling plan that outlines the frequency and locations from which samples will be collected during the qualification process. Consider sampling from different areas of the parts, including critical surfaces or areas that are prone to contamination.
  2. Sample Size: Determine the appropriate sample size based on statistical considerations and the desired level of confidence in the results. The sample size should be sufficient to represent the entire batch or population of parts being processed.
  3. Random Sampling: Ensure that the samples are collected randomly from the parts washing process to obtain an unbiased representation of the cleanliness level. Random sampling helps minimize selection bias and provides a more accurate assessment of the overall process performance.
  4. Repeat Sampling: Consider conducting repeat sampling to verify the consistency and reproducibility of the parts washing process. Repeat sampling involves collecting multiple samples from the same batch or production run to assess the process's ability to consistently achieve the desired cleanliness level.
  5. Sample Handling and Storage: Establish proper procedures for sample handling, transportation, and storage to prevent contamination or degradation of the samples. Follow appropriate protocols for sample labeling, preservation, and traceability.
  6. Analysis and Evaluation: Send the collected samples to a qualified laboratory or perform the necessary analysis according to the defined analytical methods. Evaluate the results against the established acceptance criteria to determine if the parts washing process meets the required cleanliness standards.

By establishing appropriate acceptance criteria and implementing a robust sampling plan, you can effectively qualify the parts washing process and ensure that the cleaned parts meet the desired cleanliness standards in the pharmaceutical industry.

Qualification Process Steps:

  1. Define Qualification Requirements: Determine the specific qualification requirements for the parts washing process. This includes identifying the acceptance criteria, regulatory guidelines, and industry standards that need to be met.
  2. Develop a Qualification Plan: Create a detailed qualification plan that outlines the scope, objectives, and testing procedures for the qualification process. This plan should include the identification of critical process parameters and the selection of appropriate test methods.
  3. Installation Qualification (IQ): Perform an installation qualification to verify that the parts washer is correctly installed and meets the required specifications. This may involve checking equipment specifications, electrical connections, calibration of sensors, and documentation review.
  4. Operational Qualification (OQ): Conduct an operational qualification to ensure that the parts washing process performs as intended. This involves testing and documenting the performance of the parts washer under normal operating conditions. Key aspects to consider include cycle times, temperature control, spray pressure, cleaning solution concentration, and other relevant parameters.
  5. Performance Qualification (PQ): Perform a performance qualification to evaluate the effectiveness of the parts washing process in achieving the desired level of cleanliness. This typically involves cleaning test samples or actual parts with known levels of contaminants. The cleaned parts are then evaluated using appropriate analytical techniques to assess cleanliness levels and compare them against the acceptance criteria.
  6. Validation Report: Document the results of the qualification process in a validation report. This report should include a summary of the qualification activities, test results, any deviations or issues encountered, and the overall conclusion of the qualification process.