Editors' Picks of Pharmaceutical Science & Technology Innovations
The pharmaceutical manufacturing line transforms research into reality, but it takes the right kind of equipment and technology
to turn ingredients into dosage forms. With recent advances in material-handling equipment and automation devices, laboratory
and manufacturing technicians can be more confident about their processes and end products. This month's highlighted products
all play a role in making manufacturing more efficient.
uprox1 proximity sensors (Turck)
Encapsulator handles highly potent products
The "Isolated IN-CAP" capsule-filling system from Schaefer Technologies (Indianapolis, IN) and Dott. Bonapace (Milan) is designed
for containing highly potent products. The IN-CAP encapsulator is enclosed in an isolator specially designed by Schaefer.
Operators access the unit through ergonomically designed gloveports. Nathan Lawrence, project engineer at Schaefer, says the
machine's gloveports have electronically monitored safety covers. If an operator opens a safety cover when the encapsulator
is running, the unit will stop.
Isolated IN-CAP encapsulator (Schaefer Technologies)
The unit's dynamic airlock is protected by a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and maintains operator exposure
at the nanogram level.
The encapsulator incorporates a closed air system and does not require external venting. Screens protect the HEPA filters
on the exhaust and inlet sides of the unit during operation. The HEPA filters keep the fan and plenums out of the contaminated
area, Lawrence adds.
Factor-1 sensors withstand washdown environments
The Factor-1 "uprox+" proximity sensors from Turck (Minneapolis, MN) sense all metals at the same range. The devices are available
with sensing ranges as high as 30 mm and barrel sizes from 12 to 30 mm.
The units are appropriate for washdown processes in the pharmaceutical industry. The sensors' cap is made of a liquid-crystal
polymer that resists harsh chemicals. Double sealing protects the sensors against moisture ingress. The units' stainless steel
construction resists continuous pressures of 145 psi. In addition, the sensors withstand temperatures from-40 to 100 °C.
Compact conveyor saves energy
The "C2100-64" conveyor from PIAB (Täby, Sweden) is designed for areas with low headroom. The machine's overall height is
about 11.5 in. Even when space above a tablet press is limited, users can slide the conveyor above it, according to Vincent
Thomas, PIAB's industry manager for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
C2100-64 conveyor (PIAB)
The conveyor features "COAX" multistage ejector technology, which allows the unit to consume less air and energy than pneumatically
driven vacuum conveyors. The conveyor operates with feed pressures of 58–87 psi and working temperatures of 0–140 °F. Thomas
says the conveyor is designed for low flow rates (around 1200 lb/h).
The device is assembled with triclover-style band clamps. It can be quickly disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled in less
than 20 min without tools, Thomas says. A 0.5-μm filter prevents powder from entering the vacuum pump.
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