SOP for Color Coding of Pipelines EN-04

The SOP for color coding of pipelines is of utmost importance in the pharmaceutical industry due to several critical reasons. In a highly regulated and sensitive environment like pharmaceutical manufacturing, ensuring safety, efficiency, and accuracy are paramount.SOP for Color Coding of Pipelines

Implementing a well-defined color coding system for pipelines offers numerous benefits:

  • Prevention of Cross-Contamination: Pharmaceuticals often involve the use of various active ingredients, intermediates, and raw materials. Color coding helps prevent cross-contamination by clearly distinguishing between different product lines and avoiding mix-ups.
  • Enhanced Safety: Pharmaceuticals may include hazardous chemicals and potent substances. Color coding allows personnel to quickly identify pipelines carrying dangerous materials, reducing the risk of accidental exposure or mishandling.
  • Efficient Material Handling: By using distinct colors for different types of fluids and materials, operators can easily identify the intended destination for each pipeline, streamlining material transfer processes and minimizing errors.
  • Rapid Emergency Response: In the event of a pipeline leakage, color coding aids emergency responders in identifying the nature of the substance and responding appropriately, ensuring quick containment and mitigation of potential hazards.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Regulatory agencies often mandate color coding in pharmaceutical facilities. Adherence to these standards ensures compliance and a positive impression during inspections and audits.
SOP for Color Coding of Pipelines
  • Minimization of Downtime: Properly labeled pipelines reduce the time required for maintenance, repairs, and cleaning. Maintenance teams can quickly locate the relevant pipelines, leading to minimal downtime and increased operational efficiency.
  • Error Reduction: The use of colors simplifies the identification process for operators and technicians. This lowers the likelihood of mistakes in connecting pipelines or following the wrong sequence during production.
  • Facilitation of Training and Onboarding: New personnel can quickly familiarize themselves with the facility’s layout and pipeline system through color coding. This expedites training and reduces the learning curve for new employees.
  • Improved Communication: Color coding provides a universal visual language that transcends language barriers, making it easier for different teams and departments to communicate effectively.
  • Organizational Efficiency: A standardized color coding system fosters an organized and structured environment, allowing for better planning, coordination, and optimization of processes within the pharmaceutical facility.

Standard Operating Procedure SOP for Color Coding of Pipelines

    • To lay down the procedure for the color codification of utility pipelines, structures & operations.
  • SCOPE:
    • This SOP is applicable to the color codification of pipelines.
    • Engineering – Head or designee shall be responsible for reviewing the SOP and for ensuring proper execution.
    • QA Document In-charge or designee shall review the SOP for cGMP compliance and to meet quality system requirements.
    • Head – QA (or) designee shall be responsible for reviewing and approving the SOP and ensuring its compliance.
    • Engineering – Head shall be accountable for proper implementation of the SOP.
    • Nil
    • The color codes for MS .pipelines are as given below:
Sr. No. Name Ground Colour First Band Colour Second Band Colour Arrow  Colour
1 Nitrogen Golden Yellow Black ————- Bus Green
2 Vacuum White ————- ————- Yellow
3 Air Sky Blue ————- ————- Black
4 Raw Water Cascade Green White ————- Bus Green
5 Soft Water Cascade Green Signal Red ————- Bus Green
6 RO Reject Water Cascade Green Black ————- Bus Green
7 Cooling Tower Water Cascade Green Oxford Blue ————- Bus Green
8 Potable Water Cascade Green Sky Blue ————- Bus Green
9 Diesel Light Brown ———- ———– Black
10 Steam/Condensate Aluminum Cascade Green ———– P.O. Red
11 Chilled Water (+5°C) Aluminum Cascade Green ———– Black
12 Chilled Brine (-15°C) Aluminum Cascade Green ———– Oxford Blue
13 Hot Water Aluminum Cascade Green ———– Orange
14 Fire Hydrant Signal Red ———– ———– Cascade Green
15 Guards Signal Red ———– ———– ———–
16 ETP Treated Water Cascade Green Canary Yellow Signal Red ———–
17 Oxygen Canary Yellow White ———– ———–
18 LPG Canary Yellow Oxide Red White ———–
19 Boiler Feed Water Cascade Green Sky blue ——- ———–

The arrow colors for the different types of operations are as given below:

Sr. No. Arrow colour Type of operation
 1 Red Back wash
 2 White Rinsing
 3 Yellow System feed water
 4 Grey System feed sodium hydroxide
 5 Black Hydrochloride Acid regeneration
 6 Blue Air vent

The SOP for Color Coding of pipelines (Stainless Steel) are as given below:

Sr.No. Name Ground Color First Band Colour Second Band Colour Arrow
1 Nitrogen ————- Golden Yellow Black bus Green
2 Vacuum ————- White ————- Yellow
3 Air ————- Sky Blue ————- Black
4 Raw Water ————- Cascade Green White bus Green
5 Soft Water ————- Cascade Green Signal Red bus Green
6 RO Reject Water ————- Cascade Green Black bus Green
7 CT.Water ————- Cascade Green Oxford Blue bus Green
8 Drinking Water ————- Cascade Green Cascade Green bus Green
9 Methanol ————- A.D.Gray Deep Buff Black
10 Steam/Condensate Aluminum Cascade Green ———– P.O.Red
11 Chilled Water (+5°C) Cascade Green Aluminum ———– Black
12 Chilled Brine (-15°C) Aluminum Cascade Green ———– Oxford Blue
14 Hot Water Aluminum Cascade Green ———– Orange
15 Purified Water Aluminum Sky Blue ———– bus Green
16 WFI ———– Violet Cascade Green bus Green

SOP for Color Coding of pipelines ie. Color Band sizes for different pipes are as given below:

Sr. No. Pipe size 1st colour band (mm) 2nd colour band (mm)
 1 ½” 50 25
 2 ¾” 50 25
 3 1 50 25
 4 1 ½” 100 50
 5 2” 100 50
 6 2 ½ ” 100 50
 7 3” 100 50
 8 4” 150 100
 9 5” 150 100
 10 6” 150 100
 11 8” 150 100
 12 10” 150 100
  • Ground Colour:
    • Ground Colour shall be applied throughout the entire length or as a color coating of adequate length (but in no case less than 300 mm) so that it is not mistaken for the color band.
    • Wherever the ground color is not applied throughout the entire length, it shall be applied near valves, junctions, joints, types of equipment, walls, etc.
    • When color bands are superimposed on the ground color, the ground color shall extend sufficiently on both sides of the color band to avoid confusion.
  • Color Bands:
    • Color bands shall be superimposed on ground color at the following locations:
    • At intersection points and change of direction points in piping ways.
    • At the point of locations where the pipelines enter into the plant or out from the plant.
    • For long stretch pipings at a distance of every 6 meters span of pipelines.
    • At the first point and terminating point.
    • Color codes for all structures shall be smoke gray. 
    • Color code for Fresh, Spent, Distilled & Anhydrous solvents will be same.
    • The spent solvent will be identified by (S), Distilled solvent by (D) & Anhydrous solvent by (A) Marking. Respective marking will be given near the working areas
    • All the valves and piping parts are to be painted the same color as per the pipe background color.
  • Toward the Flow & its Direction:
    • Arrows or lettering may be painted near valves, junctions, walls, and other locations to indicate flow direction.
  • Lettering:
    • The recommended size of lettering for pipes of different diameters is as given below:
Outside Diameter of Pipe or Covering (mm) Size of Legend (mm)
20 to 30 10
30 to 50 20
50 to 80 30
80 to 150 40
150 to 250 90
For steam, temperature and pressure shall be indicated after color indication, by lettering.
SOP for Color Coding of Pipelines
  • Visibility of markings:
    • Attention shall be given to the visibility of color marking and letterings. Where the pipelines are located above the operator’s regular line of sight, the lettering must be placed below the horizontal line of the pipes.
    • To guarantee good visibility at night, the electrical illumination of plants should be so that the shades of colors are not changed. Wherever legends and color bands are indicated, they should be placed so that they are easily visible from the floor/ground level during the day, and supplementary lighting should be supplied over them at night or where visibility is low.
    • RO            :     Reverse Osmosis
    • CT             :     Cooling Water
    • SS              :     Stainless Steel
    • MS            :     Mild Steel
    • WFI           :     Water for Injection
    • LPG          :     Liquefied Petroleum Gas
    • BS 1710
    • IS 2379:1990
    • Nil
Compressed Air Piping 1

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